Funny, I was just looking at the arch of the organization over the next 3 years this morning. Even funnier, I was prompted by this quote by Jason Parks:
Jason Parks @ProfessorParks
I'm working on the #Cardinals prospect list at present, and my hand is cramping from writing role 6 (plus player) over and over and over....
That will get a Reds fan paranoid.
The Cards have Jay, Freese and Craig all batting .300/.370/.500 and they were all like 26 or 27 when they broke through, and they all had almost no attention from prospect rankings, and they all sound like the type of player that will continue to arrive and madden the NL Central. The Cardinals have seamlessly moved past the Pujols years and have done so with a relatively tight payroll approach.
So I looked over the Reds roster, which is rock solid through 2015, btw. Then I looked over the minors, and it really isn't all that great on the offensive side of the ball, especially. After Hamilton (who still has some experience to gain), there won't be a meaningful addition to the roster for 2-3-4 years (although I do like some role players like Fellhauer, Lutz and H. Rodriguez).
Cingrani and Corcino are arriving near enough to Arroyo, Latos, and Bailey's situations to help out, but after that it's another 2-3-4 years before we will have much reinforcements.
But, that's why they play the games and that's why they draft. 2013-2015 IS the time to go all in, and the Reds have. Their roster is such that it can even withstand a few major injuries, as we saw last year. It will be a comfort when the tide rolls back into the upper minors by 2014-15, though. 2016 and beyond is setup nicely as well, and there will be time to find those top flight players until then to fill in the starting lineup. Lastly, of course, there are players that right now have not emerged, but probably will. For now, the Reds are stacked where it counts in Cincinnati and they are busy reloading where it matters a little less (except to those mavens in Dayton) in the minors.