Cincinnati similarly wants to bolster its starting staff.
In 2011, Johnny Cueto established himself as a surefire No. 1 guy. Mike Leake improved from his rookie season and is also guaranteed a starting job.
Bronson Arroyo, Edinson Volquez and Travis Wood were all disappointments.
Arroyo holds an unfortunate franchise single-season record after allowing 46 home runs. Worse, he is signed through 2013. As his 35-year-old season approaches, there isn't a whole lot of optimism.
Volquez surrendered lots of long balls too but couldn't even last the full summer with the big league team! He was demoted to Triple-A Louisville for two months, over which time the Reds fell hopelessly out of contention. Volquez has no spot in this rotation unless he can rediscover his 2008 form (17-6, 3.21 ERA, 206 K).
Wood made great contributions in his debut season of 2010 but took a couple steps back in his sophomore campaign. His earned run average flirted with 5.00 despite a fortunately low home run rate.
Dontrelle Willis is likely to leave via free agency, and once-promising prospect Homer Bailey simply cannot stay healthy.
And of course, set-up reliever Aroldis Chapman—"The Cuban Missile"—is expected to change roles in 2012. All indications are that he will attempt to force his way into an overpopulated, underachieving rotation.
Buehrle does not slide into this situation neatly. However, Cincinnati saved money last offseason and will be looking to add some payroll this winter.
This franchise is already poised for a bounce-back year. Even a slight improvement could go a long way with the division's juggernauts, Milwaukee and St. Louis, fighting to retain Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols, respectively.
With Buehrle, the 2012 team would compete for the NL Central title.