Re: Grade the offseason.
I think a grade of C or below is ridiculous. For those who gave a grade below C, they are never going to be happy unless we spend like the Yankees.
The Reds FO and Carl Lindner tried for the first time in several years to IMPROVE the team and they were successful. This team will be much better than in 2004 or 03 or 02 or 01 or 00. It's not a World Series contender by any means and probably not a NLCS contender, but the playoffs are a legitimate opportunity.
The bullpen was crap last year...it's been addressed. Granted, these veterans are not long-term answers, but outside of closers, most bullpens are made up of grissly veterans.
Starting pitching was crap last year...it's been addressed. Milton and Ortiz should help take the load off Wilson's shoulders. Wilson isn't anywhere near a no. 1 or no. 2 starter and now he doesn't have to be. If Ortiz can regain his form, he'll fit in nicely at No. 2 or No. 3. As far as the last two spots, I just hope we can catch lightning in a bottle with Harang, Hudson or Claussen. Just imagine, if we're actually in it come July, we could go for one starter and potentially have a decent 4-man rotation depending on what happens.
Joe Randa and Rich Aurilla are nice "cheap" signees. We didn't blow a lot of money on these two, but both are veterans who have been very solid major leaguers before and are not very far removed from their best years. I don't want to hear anymore of this Larkin crap. He couldn't stay healthy long enough. Randa and Aurilla can bridge the gap between the present and the future.
Signing Milton, whether you agree we overpaid or not, was a sign to me this team at least somewhat cares about the product on the field. When's the last time the Reds signed a free agent for big-time bucks? I can't remember. It's not like we're the Tigers (signing Mags) and overpaid other teams by $20M. The deal Milton accepted from the Reds was the same offer by 3-4 other teams. To me, I would have rather the Reds signed Milton than them keeping the money in their pockets.
Hopefully, the youth of this team (Kearns, Dunn, Wily Mo) along with the veterans (Griffey, Casey, Randa, DJ, Larue) will mix together well and at least give Reds fans a pennant race to pay attention to.
Much more improvement is needed before we start thinking about the World Series, but this offseason was a step in the right direction, a step that hasn't been made for 5 years.