Is it the problem?
First things first. We're at the halfway point in the season for all intents and purposes. I've heard a lot of people say offense is down and that this is the year of the pitcher. I'm not sure if that will hold with the summer heat, we may start to see these offensive numbers go up further.
Let's compare this year to 2010, when the Reds made the playoffs. This Reds offense is on pace for about 25 wins above replacement in 2012. To give some perspective, the 2010 team was worth 40 wins above replacement, tops in all of baseball. The Cardinals and Rangers, who are the top offensive teams in the league are on pace for 36 wins as a team as of now. In 2010, the Brewers had the 2nd highest team offensive WAR with 33.2. So maybe the 2010 Reds offense was an anomaly. No matter what you think, this offense is in bad shape, when compared to the 2010 Reds offense or the 2012 Cardinals.
The pitching has been better so far. In 2010, the Reds pitching staff was worth 15 wins above replacement. This year, the staff is on pace for about 18 wins above replacement. That's a 3 win improvement. That's obviously a positive. However, can the staff maintain this pace into the summer with warmer temperatures? And with half the games in GAB no less?
The problem is, if all things were to stay equal, the Reds have gained 3 wins in the pitching column and are on pace to lose 15 games on the offensive side. That's a net loss of -12 from 2010 and that team only won 91 games. If there is any silver lining, it's that I think the offense will improve some, even if no changes are to be made to the current team. With that said, I see zero chance that the offense will make up the 12 wins difference that they had in 2010. I don't even think trades could help make up 12 wins, unless we suddenly land David Wright from the Mets.
To take a closer look at the offense, I think it can mostly be explained by the fact that Rolen had a great year (or at least great 1st half) and Bruce/Stubbs had career years in 2010. Stubbs was a 4 win player that year and Bruce was 5.5. Stubbs is on pace for 1 win this year and Bruce is on pace for 3 wins. Frazier is on pace for about 3 wins this year. If you compare that to Rolen's 2010, he's 2 wins less. That's a 7.5 wins above replacement difference alone.
In addition, Hernandez's production was much better than Mez' has been thus far. Hanigan is on pace for a similar number of wins himself compared to 2010, but since he's likely to get more PAs this year, there is decline there too. Mez is likely to improve, but it's not likely to be worth multiple wins more, given his playing time.
Phillips is on a similar pace to 2010, but a little better this year. LF with Ludwick, despite his slow start, has been an improvement over what Gomes was. Cozart is a decent improvement over Cabrera from 2010. Votto is probably the only player that is having a significantly better 2012 than his 2010 (we're talking about 2.5 wins above replacement difference compared to 2010). But that alone won't make up the difference from the 2010 season.
There are other smaller factors to account for, like bench players, but those are minimal differences from the 2010 team. Basically, the Reds offense is in rough shape, whether you compare it to the winning team in 2010 or with the Cardinals in 2012. The good news is that the Cardinals pitching has been much worse this year. The Pirates are a bit of an enigma because both their pitching and offense have been somewhat middle of the road in terms of wins above replacement, but they're actually not too far behind the Reds in pitching or offense. Even though they have been red hot, they are likely to regress some.
Am I going wrong here?