Reds Payroll Future

First things first…I would like to extend a congratulations to Dontrelle Willis for getting his first win this season in a Reds uniform. I am glad he got one! You would be hard pressed to find a nicer guy in baseball.

In my last post, I asked Reds fans what exactly they wanted. What I meant by that was that I wanted to know what direction Reds fans thought that the front office should move in. The four biggest contracts that the Reds could possibly part with this off season are the contracts of Ramon Hernandez, Scott Rolen, Bronson Arroyo, and Francisco Cordero.

Today I read an interesting piece on one of my favorite Reds sites called Red Reporter which I am sure most of you are familiar with.

I am by no means a payroll guru, but I would like to be. The writer at Red Reporter suggested that the Reds could have anywhere between 9-10 million to spend this offseason, and that takes into account pro rated bonuses, picking up Phillips’ option (which MUST happen), and declining but resigning Cordero.

If Cordero is in fact brought back that would leave the Reds with no noticeable holes that would absolutely have to be filled, so Walt Jocketty would have some flexibility with how he wanted to spend the money.

With Aroldis Chapman out of the bullpen, the Reds must add another quality arm to the pen. Take the Texas Rangers for example, the amount of quality arms that they have in their bullpen makes the number of quality pitchers the Reds have seem meager and pathetic.

Nick Masset was as average as they come this year, and Bill Bray, Logan Ondrusek, Jose Arredondo, Sam LeCure, and the rest all had their ups and downs this season. If the Reds can add one lefty and one righty to the bullpen, they will be able to hold leads late in games, and they will add to their organizational depth at pitching.

Finally, the myriad of other question marks remain for the Reds. Do they get a left fielder? Is that LF a right-handed power bat? Is he a leadoff guy? Do they trade for an ace?

Ponder one proposition. If Yonder Alonso is in fact the favorite to win the left field job next season, then the Reds lineup could look something like the following on opening day:
2B-Brandon Phillips
SS-Zack Cozart
1B-Joey Votto
RF-Jay Bruce
LF-Yonder Alonso
C-Devin Mesoraco
CF-Drew Stubbs

So let’s assume that Scott Rolen is still the third baseman in 2012. Does Rolen bat 8th? That would be one of the best 8th hitters in baseball. I do not think that batting him higher than Alonso or Mesoraco would be justified because he does not have the run producing potential that those guys have anymore. Batting him 7th and Stubbs 8th would also be a bad move becuase then Stubbs would be pitched around, and I would not suggest batting a guy who struck out 200 times in 2011 in the 8th spot in a National League batting order.

Batting 8th in the National League can be one heck of a job.

Therefore, I think that Rolen would be a candidate for that 8th spot. That lineup has the potential to score a lot of runs, and that potential stems from more than simply playing 81 games in Great American Smallpark.

That lineup does indeed look stout to me. I think that as a result, the Reds should focus on giving themselves a huge bullpen upgrade akin to the one the Oakland Athletics gave themselves before this season. Or that 10 million could go toward acquiring a starting pitcher, more serviceable than Travis Wood, Edinson Volquez, or Dontrelle Willis.

My wish is that Aroldis Chapman’s days of rotting in the Reds’ set-up role are long over come 2012.

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