I want to believe that the Reds can get somewhere near .500 this year. I really want to believe it. Deep down, I can’t talk myself into it, but hope always springs eternal at this time of year.

With that said, Justin is trying to provide some reasons for optimism, so to speak, and I’m desperate enough that I want to believe it.

Unless Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Edwin Encarnacion, and Brandon Phillips take huge steps forward offensively this year, I just can’t see the Reds being able to score enough runs to be a .500 team. I don’t see the defense being that much better, either. The pitching should be good, but it’s going to have to be really good for this team to break even.

But I want to believe. I’m trying. I really am. Feel free to discuss all the reasons for optimism that you can imagine below.