The Reds are intent on putting 2012 behind them and doing bigger and better things for 2013. That can finally happen in earnest on Tuesday.
It's the day that Reds pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in Goodyear, Ariz. That means the days of impatient anticipation for baseball to resume after a long winter are just about over.
Tuesday will begin with more mundane activity as the players must undergo morning physicals and hold a clubhouse meeting. By the afternoon, the first workout of spring is expected to be under way.
Cincinnati will have 29 pitchers and six catchers in camp. When position players report as scheduled on Friday, there will be 57 players in total. As in past years, many are often early arrivals.
After finishing with the second-best record in baseball at 97-65 while winning the National League Central, the Reds had a dubious conclusion. Despite going up 2-0 vs. the Giants in the National League Division Series with a pair of victories on the road, Cincinnati dropped the remaining three games at home. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the season was over.
Now it all begins anew, and some improvements were made that are expected to make the team better.
To address a hole in the leadoff spot, general manager Walt Jocketty traded Drew Stubbs and shortstop prospect Didi Gregorius to land Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. Although Choo is in the final year of his contract and headed to free agency, his presence best underscores the club's urgency over winning now. Choo, a right fielder in Cleveland, will shift to center field for the Reds.
In an effort to upgrade the rotation, a bold move was made from within. Aroldis Chapman, who electrified as a closer with 38 saves, will attempt to be a member of the rotation. How exactly this will be done is a question that will be answered during camp.
Chapman's closer replacement, Jonathan Broxton, will be in Reds camp for the first time after he was acquired at the Trade Deadline from Kansas City.
Other new faces include backup lefty reliever Manny Parra, infielders Jack Hannahan, Cesar Izturis and Jason Donald and catcher Miguel Olivo.
But most of the core that was successful in 2012 is back –- but even that group has some questions. The biggest one is whether Joey Votto is 100 percent again after left knee surgeries last summer sapped his power at the plate. Also, can Todd Frazier successfully take over as the starting third baseman following a strong rookie year? Will left fielder Ryan Ludwick, who was rewarded with a two-year, $15 million contract, follow up his resurgent 2012 season with one equal or better?
There will be an added wrinkle for one Reds mainstay, second baseman Brandon Phillips, who will leave camp to participate in the World Baseball Classic for Team USA. Phillips is currently the only Reds big leaguer on a Classic roster, but several Minor Leaguers are also participating.
This will mark the fourth year that the Reds participate in the Cactus League and the first exhibition game is slated for Feb. 22 vs. the Indians at 3:05 p.m. ET.
In the days and weeks that follow, Jocketty and manager Dusty Baker will gradually whittle down the camp roster towards the 25 players needed to start the defense of the club's NL Central title. It all leads up to Opening Day vs. the Angels, on April 1 at Great American Ball Park.