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2012 Season: 97-65 (1st in NL Central, Lost in five games to the San Francisco Giants in NLDS)
Key Additions (Courtesy of Baseball Prospectus): OF Shin Soo-Choo, SS Cesar Izturis, 3B Jack Hannahan, C Miguel Olivo, LHP Manny Parra, RHP Clay Hensley
Key Departures: 3B Scott Rolen, RHP Ryan Madson, LHP Bill Bray, OF Drew Stubbs
Outlook: For much of the 2012 season, it looked like the Reds were on a collision course with the Washington Nationals for the right to go to the World Series.
Of course, neither team made it to the National League Championship Series last October, as both teams suffered excruciating National League Divisional Series failures.
After blowing a 2-0 lead to the San Francisco Giants last October, the Reds still had a lot of potential to get back to that spot, heading into the offseason with a majority of the roster intact.
Then the Reds acquired Shin Soo-Choo from the Cleveland Indians.
Choo represents a quality hitter to place at the top of the lineup while knocking Brandon Phillips down. He is money in the bank when it comes to a 20/20 season, and will get on base enough to allow the rest of the big bats to improve a lineup that was 21st in the majors in runs scored per game.
By the way, the key word in that last paragraph is "improve."
That's because the Reds will improve in many ways coming into the 2013 season.
Aside from the addition of Choo, the Reds may have Joey Votto for a full season after he was limited to 111 games with a knee injury. According to Baseball Prospectus, it was the second time that he's seen the disabled list in his six year career, so a return to form is a given.
Young bats Zack Cozart and Todd Frasier will also see their numbers improve this summer.
Frasier will become the new starting third baseman after the departure of Scott Rolen, after putting up solid numbers while filling in for Votto at first base a season ago.
Meanwhile Cozart will have his second full season after hitting .246 with 15 home runs last summer. He is 27, but another year in the majors can lead to improvement.
The Reds also have pitching to match their offense, as Mat Latos and Jonny Cueto lead a rotation that, according to ESPN, had the 5th best earned run average in the majors.
That's not even mentioning that fireballer Aroldis Chapman is returning to the bullpen (according to Hardball Talk) and will supplant Jonathan Broxton (despite his three-year, $21 million deal he signed over the winter) as the team's closer by mid-season.
All of this means that the Reds will have the opportunity to avenge last season's choke come this October.