Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 11/15/14
In a parallel universe, Scott Rolen makes a good throw to Joey Votto in the top of the tenth inning of Game 3 of the NLDS, the Reds sweep the Giants, and go on to win their first World Series since 1990. Really, it's possible that Rolen's bad throw is all that really separated the Reds from a World Championship. The Reds were a really good team in 2012, they won a lot of games, and the ended up losing to the eventual World Champions by a narrow margin. So how do the Reds get back in 2013? Needs The Reds were a pretty complete team in 2012, and all of the main pieces will be back in place in 2013. They're going to lose Scott Rolen, Ryan Ludwick, Jonathan Broxton, and probably Ryan Madson (it's easy to forget Madson is a Red; they have a mutual option on him after he lost the entire 2012 season to Tommy John surgery) to free agency. The biggest concern from that group is Ludwick, who revitalized his career in Cincy in 2012 with a .275/.346/.531, 26 homer campaign that will cause him to look for a bigger payday than the $5 million mutual option he had with the Reds for 2013. With Broxton and Madson both hitting free agency, the bullpen looks a little thin, too, though it's much less of a concern. Possible Options Replacing Rolen will be easy enough, with Todd Frazier ready to step into an every day role at third base. Losing Madson and Broxton wouldn't be a huge deal, either, since Aroldis Chapman and Sean Marshall and Sam LeCure and Jose Arredondo and Alfredo Simon are all coming back. Honestly, the easiest way for the Reds to maintain contention into 2013 may just be to keep the whole gang together. If you think of Broxton as the final little bit of glue that really made the Reds bullpen into a force to be reckoned with, Madson could play the same role in 2013 and it's entirely plausible that he'd be willing to sign a one year deal with someone to prove he's healthy and parlay that into a bigger contract to close for someone after next season. Similarly, Ludwick may be looking for more than $5 million, but he's obviously a good fit for Great American Ballpark and he'll be way less expensive than the elite outfielders on the market. That said, Walt Jocketty seems to have identified a leadoff man as the team's top priority this winter (and rightly so, given that doesn't seem likely Drew Stubbs will grow into that role), which could mean that they'll turn to the free agent market to fill Ludwick's spot in the outfield.  Trade Options Last winter's Mat Latos trade really took a chunk out of the Reds' farm system and it hasn't quite recovered yet. The guys that were their better prospects in the upper minors heading into 2012 are regulars on the club now (Frazier, Zack Cozart, and even Devin Mesoraco to a lesser extent). They're not likely to trade Billy Hamilton or Robert Stephenson at all, either. It's possible that Mesoraco's rough rookie year may cause the club to try and find someone that still values him relatively highly and just stick with Ryan Hanigan as starting catcher. They could also certainly find teams interested in left-handed starter Tony Cigriani and they have the rotation depth right now to trade him, but it's pretty unlikely that they'll go through 2013 using just five starters again and counting on that from the vantage point of the off-season would be pretty dumb, so I'm guessing they'd rather hang on to him.  Trade Targets If we assume that the Reds are interested in replacing Ludwick with a leadoff hitter, that they're not going to be willing to spend huge for the likes of Michael Bourn on the free agent market, and that they're not going to want to make another huge deal that raids their system of prospects for a second straight season, than the above-linked article that guesses that they could try to trade for Coco Crisp seems like a pretty good guess at what the Reds might look for on the trade market this winter. In any case, the Reds don't really need to do a lot this winter, so any sort of trade they might make would be for a player like crisp, or maybe to add a bit more depth to the rotation or bullpen. For the most part, though, it's likely the Reds will try to make another run with the group that won them 97 games last year and it's easy to see why they'd want to do that.  [follow]
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Australian cricket player dies from head injuries

Wrigley Field bleacher renovation may be delayed

Yankees wanted Rollins but Phillies' price was too high

Pop misses game for medical reasons; Messina takes over

John Beilein upset with ESPN for late start time to game

Tyson Chandler felt like Knicks' scapegoat at times

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Fred Jackson has 'no respect' for Donte Whitner

Devon Still responds to unpaid child support allegations

Diamondbacks sign Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas

Josh Gordon felt alienated by some in Browns organization

Jerry Jones: I'm a big admirer of Robert Griffin III

Raiola fined for uneccesarily striking Pats' Zach Moore

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE, says he'll never return

Steelers turned down chance to be called 'America's Team'

Report: Small chance Raiders-Rams could be moved to Indy

Todd Gurley begins rehab after surgery on knee for torn ACL

Brodeur to practice with Blues

OSU player posts Michigan player's girlfriend as his 'WCW'

Jim Harbaugh's family may not eat turkey thanks to NBC

Ole Miss' The Grove threatened by Mississippi State fan

Is it time for the Redskins to move on from Robert Griffin III?

Top 10 fantasy football turkeys for 2014

WATCH: Coyotes lose in ugly fashion, score own goal in OT

Warriors are having tons of fun on team plane

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE

Wrigley renovation may be delayed

Steelers could have been America's Team

John Beilein upset with ESPN

Should Washington move on from RG3?

Dominic Raiola fined for cheap shots

Game of the week: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

Rose leaves with injury again

WATCH: Pierce signs for fan during game

Report: McCoy to start over RG3

Braxton Miller headed to Oregon?

10 most one-sided college football rivalries

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.