A friend of mine likens to the Reds to the 1999 KC Royals, who had several good and relatively young offensive players -- Damon, Beltran, Sweeney, Dye. Had they been able to get those guys signed, they would have had a very solid offensive core for years. Instead, they kept only Sweeney and made poor trades for the others. Cellar-dwelling, 100 loss seasons ensued.
The Reds talk about upgrading pitching as the key to the future. I think that's only half of the equation, and unless they simultaneously fashion a solid offensive core -- and the materials have been staring them in the face for years already -- they will flounder, flounder and flounder some more.