Article from SI. com http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/200...aseball/1.html
1. Cincinnati Reds. The Reds weren't quite as bad as their 72-90 record indicated and they hired a veteran manager who fits the turnaround profile: Baker. Cincinnati was outscored by 70 runs last year, but the eighth inning alone accounted for 53 of those runs. (The Reds allowed more runs in the eighth, 123, than any other inning.) The signing of closer Francisco Cordero, while an extravagant one (the most expensive free agent in franchise history at four years, $46 million), at least on paper, improves Cincinnati's eighth-inning chances, with David Weathers and Jared Burton setting up Cordero.
The 2007 Reds had the worst bullpen in the NL (5.13 ERA). If they can improve the bullpen the way the 2007 Indians did, the 2008 Reds -- especially if young hitters Jay Bruce and Joey Votto contribute -- could be a playoff team.
He makes some interesting points. I didn't realize the Reds' run differential wasn't all that bad - particularly concentrated in the late innings.
Originally, I thought the signing was a bit foolish - resource wise, it doesn't make a lot of sense to commit that cash to a low-innings pitcher. Still, this makes a fair point - if the Reds manage to overcome their late-inning struggles, their run differential could be a lot closer.
Considering that we've also lost relatively little offense (thank god for the Dunn re-signing!), the possibility exists for a large swing in run diff. if Votto and Bruce can contribute - or if Hamilton can give a full season.
Definitely some offseason optimism. Still, it sucks to be an organization with as many holes as the Reds, but it's nice that we're not moribund.