Reds Must Look to 2012

Well for longer than most Reds fans, I feel like I kept an attitude of “the Reds can still win this thing.”

A sweet of the Giants made me think that the Reds were gonna take advantage of this swing to Houston and Chicago and make a run of 7 or 8 wins in 10 games.


Losing 2 of 3 to the Worst team in baseball and losing 2 of 3 to the Cubs has sealed the Reds fate. For one reason or another, it hasn’t happened for the Reds this season.

Obviously the numbers for Rolen, Gomes, and Arroyo this season are a huge departure from the solid seasons they had in 2010. Match that up with little to no improvement from Wood, Volquez, and Stubbs, and the Reds have wallowed in mediocrity the entire season since jumping out to a 5-0 start.

So for what it is worth, here is a plan the Reds could opt to use for the remainder of 2011.

C-Ryan Hanigan is a solid player, and he is best at splitting time with another backstop. Allow Ramon Hernandez to walk this offseason. That will clear 3 million off the salary books. Allow Mesoraco to compete for the starting job at spring training which he will probably win. Yasmani Grandal is also progressing behind them as well.

1B-Yonder Alonso has been very impressive with the bat. Joey Votto is obviously entrenched there. Ergo it is time for the Reds to get busy trading one of them. While ideally the situation would be settled now or at worse, this offseason, the Reds will likely go into next season with Yonder Alonso trying to play any position he can find a glove for, and Votto at first base. I would not be surprised to see Votto be shopped heading into 2013 where he is scheduled to make 17 million. A new team would give the Reds quite a haul of prospects, and they would have plenty of time to negotiate an extension with the former MVP.

2B-Extend Brandon Phillips! The Reds have no choice. Right now he is a key part to the Reds success, and his versatility outweighs concerns over his aging towards the end of his 2nd big contract.

SS-I still drool over the fact that Billy Hamilton is the fastest man on the planet, but for now, Zack Cozart sure look awfully steady there in his brief stint in the bigs before getting injured. How the Reds can choose Renteria or Janish over Cozart is beyond me. Cozart also seemed to hold down the “2 hole” well.

3B-I love Scott Rolen. I really do. However, Rolen is simply over the crest of the mountain so to speak. The rest of his career you can expect to have the future Hall of Famer hit around .240 with gold glove defense and perpetual injuries. 2012 is Rolen’s last, but the Reds could clear 6.5 million this offseason if they part with Rolen. That 6.5 million can go a LONG way toward addressing other needs. Todd Frazier has looked strong at third over the past week, and he deserves a shot to win the 3B job. And then there is Yonder who is now taking ground balls at third. I would enjoy watching a Yonder/Frazier competition at third next spring training. The fact that I did not mention Juan Francisco shows how quickly things change in a year.

LF-There is no two ways to cut it that if Dave Sappelt is able to fortify the leadoff spot then he should play LF. I would not be surprised to see Fred Lewis back in a Reds uniform next year, but Sappelt should hold down the fort. That leaves Chris Heisey in limbo. Heisey has been impressive enough this season that he will warrant a lot of interest from other teams, and he could be used as a nice piece in a trade.

Center field and right field seem pretty obvious. I hope that both players continue to improve, and Stubbs will hopefully find more success batting 6th.

However most important of all will be what the Reds do pitching wise.

Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Homer Bailey should be the only Reds guaranteed a spot in the rotation next year. Bronson Arroyo seems poised to give up well over 40 HRs this season, and ridding themselves of Arroyo could save the team over 20 million the next two seasons. That is a tremendous savings.

The Reds are not likely to pick up Cordero’s 12 million dollar option, and his buyout is just 1 million dollars, so that is 11 million off the payroll books.

So after a the departures of Arroyo and Cordero, the Reds would be left with two starting spots to fill and a closers roll.

I believe that the Reds will make Aroldis Chapman a starter next season, and before the year is over, he will be starting for the big league club. So the Reds would be left with Masset, Ondrusek, and Bray as potential closer candidates. I do not think that any fit the billing. With the over 20 million in savings that I have proposed, the Reds would have plenty of money to pay a closer as well as money to make a trade for a starting pitcher.

The Reds have a window of opportunity with so many young players in the primes of their careers. If the Reds can trade for a #1 starter with Cueto right behind, and Aroldis Chapman developing, the Reds have the chance to have three strong starters akin to the big three that was in Oakland years ago when they had Hudson, Mulder, and Zito.

In a trade for a starting pitcher, I would imagine that Travis Wood or Edinson Volquez will almost certainly be included, and I would be surprised if Dontrelle Willis is back in a Reds uniform next season.

So let me recap my proposed lineup next season, and the savings I have proposed as well.

LF-Dave Sappelt
SS-Zack Cozart
1B-Joey Votto
2B-Brandon Phillips
RF-Jay Bruce
3B-Todd Frazier
CF-Drew Stubbs
C-Devin Mesoraco

To be honest, I cannot see anyway that that lineup is not better than the one the Reds have had this year. Remember that Yonder Alonso may fit somewhere as well.


  • Bronson Arroyo-20 million over 2 seasons
  • Scott Rolen-6.5 million
  • Ramon Hernandez-3 million
  • Francisco Cordero-11 million

That totals up to 40.5 million dollars in savings over the next few season. The Reds will need that money to continue to pay the contracts of some of their players locked up long term. They will also use that to sign Brandon Phillips….sign a closer, and depending on where the bottom line is after that, the Reds would have some flexibility to address other needs as well.

If Votto or Chris Heisey were traded as well then more savings would arise from that. However, I am no GM and have no idea how the Reds view Heisey and Votto as trade pieces.

You can follow Alex Apple on Twitter @AlexAppleDFW and Blog Red Machine @blogredmachine