After a division-winning 2010 campaign, the Reds dropped off in 2011, finishing only 79-83.
Most of this was caused by both pitching and hitting not answering the call. The team's numbers were down in both categories, despite not suffering any losses.
Now, the Reds have traded away dead weight in Edinson Volquez and dropped more in Francisco Cordero. They've been pretty active this offseason as well, adding Ryan Madson and Sean Marshall to the bullpen, while adding Mat Latos to the starting rotation.
The team also signed outfielder Ryan Ludwick and utility man Willie Harris.
Injuries played a big role in 2011 for the Reds, but they'll get their left side of the infield back. Scott Rolen should be in full health by Opening Day, and Zack Cozart—who batted .324 in 11 games before having to undergo Tommy John surgery—should return to shortstop. These two will compliment All-Stars Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto well.
The big question mark for the Reds will be the outfield. Left field was a mess in 2011, but the starting job should wind up in the hands of Chris Heisey. Jay Bruce continues to show a great glove in right field, but he's a very streaky hitter. His mediocre .256 average last year was largely helped by a .342 month of May.
Finally, Drew Stubbs mans center field, fresh off a season in which he led the league in strikeouts. These guys will have to come together to support a decent pitching staff and good infield for the Reds to have a chance. Unfortunately, I think they're still a year away from realizing their real potential.