Re: Offseason Outlook: Cincinnati Reds
Probably will be a dull off-season, but if the Reds are going to attempt to improve, then the FO ought to focus like a laser beam on SS. Janish should get competition. As worthy as the newfound focus on defense might be, you are making a sacrifice on offense by carrying a sub .220 hitter as a regular, and especially when you're routinely batting him second.
The free-agent SS pool is extremely limited (Scutaro or bust) and we seemingly have little money to spend anyway. So, if we're going to improve at SS, we'll probably have to work a trade. I see four options.
1. Go out and get another guy as young as Janish who might be a bust, but has demonstrated some chops in the minors. Tampa Bay's Brignac fills this bill, or Hu from the Dodgers.
2. Acquire a semi-proven superscrub from a championship team eager to prove he's a regular, and not just a versatile utility man. The Angels' Izturis best fits this description.
3. Get a newly fallen regular eager to prove he still has game, and shouldn't have been cast aside so quickly. Welcome Milwaukee's Hardy.
4. Troll the geriatric pool for 1- or 2-year stopgaps who might be acquired through trading our bad contracts (Taveras, Lincoln, etc.) for someone else's. Lugo from St. Louis meets this criteria, but having jettisoned Gonzalez, do we really want to invest $9 million next year in an underperforming SS?
If it was up to me, I wouldn't sit pat this winter. I'd get out and secure competition for Janish. Not that he would lose his job, but he'd have to prove in the spring he could hit .230-.240 batting eighth, or else settle into place as a late-inning defensive replacement.
Options 1 or 2 make the most sense to me, option 3 is less palatable (owing to Milwaukee demanding pitching in return) and option 4 is probably worse than doing nothing and just eating the sunken costs of our bad contracts. We don't have a lot of wiggle room here, but how the FO maneuvers within the range of available options will help define whether this FO has a plan for improvement, what that plan might be, and how much grace time the FO merits from fans to achieve its plans.