One could be forgiven for waxing Dickensian on the Cincinnati Reds' 2012 campaign. It was one of the best regular season performances in recent history for the franchise—with the club notching its highest win total in 36 years—but it also featured a painful ending that could qualify as the "worst of times" for our more hyperbolic brothers and sisters in Redlegs Country.
Regardless, the fact remains that this Cincinnati ball club won 97 games last season and is welcoming back 20 players from last season's Opening Day 25-man roster. Regression is a fact of life in baseball and circumstances such as having the Opening Day rotation accounting for all but one start the entire season almost certainly won't happen again, but the Reds took care of business in November and December by trading for Shin-Soo Choo and re-signing Jonathon Broxton to allow Aroldis Chapman an attempt at a full season in the starting rotation.
General manager Walt Jocketty's shrewd off-season (a phrase we're all happy is becoming a recurring theme in December articles about the Reds) and a solid nucleus under team control for the foreseeable future indicate this team may be even better than 2012s, much as Tyler Duma elucidated in his earlier article. To add to his great points and the ever-increasing chorus of Reds optimism, here are five reasons Cincinnati could break 100 wins in 2013 and put themselves in the driver's seat for a National League pennant.