This is an excerpt from the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for more than 20 years.
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"As I’ve said before, if you put the Reds in a different competitive environment, I would see them differently. The NL Central, though, is a bear, as is the rest of the middle tier in the National League. In the AL, the Reds wouldn’t look that much different than the Twins and Rays and Angels. Here, even building a .500 roster, which they still may be short of doing, is just an afterthought, and at that, just getting their best players on the field at the same time projects to be a challenge."