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Having won the National League Central Division for the second time in three years, the Reds are eyeing a deeper postseason run in 2013.
Up two games to nil on the NL West champion San Francisco Giants, the Reds were in position to bury their opposition for good. In the best-of-five divisional playoff round, the Reds needed one more victory to advance to the National League Championship series.
But the eventual World Series champion Giants stormed back to win the series, sending the Reds into a state of complete shock.
Having another playoff series under their belts to reflect on, the Reds, once again, will be a tough team to beat in 2013.
Cincinnati allowed the fewest combined runs of any team in the Major Leagues last season, 588. And the same can be expected from the Reds pitching staff in 2013, especially their starting rotation.
Johnny Cueto had a career year in 2012, amassing a mark of 19-9 with a 2.78 ERA. And Bronson Arroyo, Mat Latos and Homer Bailey each had 12 or more victories last season.
Fireballer Aroldis Chapman racked up 38 saves for the Reds, thanks in large part to his 100-plus mph fastball. As a club, the Reds combined for a league-best 56 saves. It will certainly be interesting to see if manager Dusty Baker decides to move Chapman to the starting rotation. If so, will Jonathan Broxton be able to handle the ninth inning? As a member of both Kansas City and Cincinnati, Broxton blew six saves last season.
During the offseason, the Reds upgraded offensively by acquiring outfielder Shin-Soo Choo from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for outfielder Drew Stubbs. The Reds also packaged Didi Gregorius and received third baseman Jason Donald in that deal on Dec. 11.
With the Indians, Choo played in 155 games last season and managed a steady .283 average to go along with 16 home runs and 67 RBI.
The Reds also lured in veteran outfielder Ryan Ludwick to a two-year contract. Ludwick cranked 26 homers and drove in 80 last season.