Who would think that a team with the Reds' record could be close to World Series contention? What would it take to push the Reds into a true power broker? Not that much, really.
The Reds have scored 737 runs compared to 798 given up. The Reds Pythagorean record would be .460 (one game off their real record).
Replacing the games started by a not-yet-ready or injured Homer Bailey and the ne'er will be's Elizardo Ramirez and Phil Dumatrait with someone who can put up a 5.40 ERA (not a very high bar) would save the Reds 24 runs for a WP of .475.
Now, replace the stink infested innings of Todd Coffey, Kirk Sarloos, and Gary Majewski with a motley bunch with an ERA of 5.40. For reference, the much maligned Victor Santos managed a 5.19 ERA during his tenure. That would save the Reds another 22 runs. WP now stands at .490.
With only the addition of a pedestrian 5th starter and two non-disaster relievers, the Reds would be within sight of good teams.
Now, how to go from slightly below .500 to a champion? Be bold! Damn the torpedos and full speed ahead! Trade Josh Hamilton and Homer Bailey to the Minnesota Twins for Johan Santana.
Why it works for the Twins: no one will offer more.
Why it works for the Reds: Santana would take up the IP by Kyle Lohse, Bobby Livingston, and Eric Milton, saving the Reds another 53 runs, good for a WP of .526 and 1st place in the NL central.
Yea, but Hamilton has contributed to those 737 runs scored. I'll take my chances that a rookie Jay Bruce can duplicate Josh's production.
But Homer is the next... Clemens? Maybe. Todd Van Poppel? Could be. The Reds have Harang and Arroyo for 3 more years. Barring injury, Homer might be a force at some point in those 3 years. Barring injury, Santana will be the best pitcher in baseball next year.