As a Bleacher Report columnist, I get a lot of comments tossed my way, and can never be quite sure what to expect.

It’s always nice to get the “WOW what a great read, please do me the honor of ghostwriting my biography” notes at the bottom of articles. Or, at the very least, a “good job, keep it up”.

Neither are extremely thought-provoking or dialogue-inspiring, but they’re a billion times better than the more common “here are the 18 reasons you are wrong” comments, which are only slightly less of a downer than the “I’d rather gargle thumb tacks than read this BS” observations.

Most of the time reader comments range somewhere in the middle, but sometimes, every so often, I’ll come across the most rewarding kind of feedback: thoughtful, inspiring insight. These gems are rewarding, not only because they compel more readers to chime in (which, admittedly, is cool), but also because those readers were stimulated enough to take the time to inspire me back.

This type of discourse is what us bloggers and online columnists thrive on, so it’s particularly cool that a reader comment I received weeks ago still sticks with me today.

When measuring up the state of the Reds roster, this reader made the observation that Cincinnati is “built for the season”, whereas teams like the Phillies, Giants, and Cardinals (prior to Wainwright’s injury) are “built for the playoffs”.

It wasn’t a necessarily ground-breaking observation, as much as very, VERY true.

Plain and simple, the Reds are lacking one thing that most other legit playoff contender has: a number one starter.

Someone who can get you a win when you need it most. Someone who can cruise through the opposition’s batting order. Someone who can make Pujols go one-for-five.

Don’t get me wrong, the Reds (for the first time in a lonnnnnnnng time) have a GOOD rotation. In fact, I was just commenting yesterday on how inherently not-bad our whole rotation actually is. From Volquez to Arroyo all the way down to Sammy Lecure, there’s no one who, when they take the hill, makes you just sigh and count on 4-6 earned runs in five innings. Any Reds fan who has paid attention in the last 10 years knows that to be a pretty good feeling.

However, teams like the Phillies and the Giants have success in the postseason because they have bona fide stoppers. Lincecum, Cain, and basically the whole damn Phillies pitching staff at this point are on a different level than the Reds hurlers.

Not to say BaileyCuetoVolquezWoodLeake reach that elite status sometime, but they aren’t there yet, and now is the time (as young studs Bruce, Stubbs and Votto begin to blossom) for the Reds to start looking seriously at importing some stud-like material.

After all, “built for the season” will only take you so far.

The following is a list of top-tier starters the Reds could consider if they want to battle the NL elite this year. 

Begin Slideshow