As we kick around permutations of Bronson Arroyo's K rate and what the potential opening day lineup might be, let's talk about the other half of Wayne Krivsky's "pitching and defense" mantra.
Even if Arroyo brings his K rate back up to its 2004 heights, he's going to need someone to field the ball behind him. In fact the whole Reds pitching staff is going to need that. It's not like this is a termination-oriented staff the club will be trotting out there.
To me it makes little sense to start investing in pitching and then undercut it with atrocious defense.
Edwin Encarnacion has range and it looks like he's tamed his arm a bit. A slimmer Austin Kearns should be good in RF. Felipe Lopez is the SS and hopefully he'll continue to improve in the field. Jason LaRue and Javier Valentin are capable behind the plate.
One major problem lurks out in CF. If the Krivsky regime is serious about reshaping this team, it will coax Ken Griffey Jr. into an OF corner for the good of this team. Put Chris Denorfia out in CF with Kearns in RF and Jr. in LF and you've done your pitching staff an enormous favor. Basically you've closed up a gap and a half. Obviously that would entail Adam Dunn at 1B.
As we've all heard, Scott Hatteberg is the nominal bonhomme at 1B for the moment. I don't mind Hatteberg and I actually expect he'll perform all right this season (he seems to thrive in even-numbered years), but he's not helping the team in the field and benching him paves the way for a better defense.
That leads us to 2B. Forget, as best you can, about Tony Womack's numerous offensive shortcomings. The Reds can't afford to stick a glove that lousy in the field. In fact, I'm going to take that concept so seriously here that I'm going to suggest sacrificing a player I truly love. Ryan Freel is a dynamite leadoff hitter and the Reds' equivalent of Chone Figgins, just play him wherever you've got you biggest hole. Yet, at best, he's a mediocre 2B. My suggestion would be to play the hell out of Freel until you get a good trade offer for him, then replace him with a glove guy (nominally Matt Kata at the moment). The team can figure out the 1-2 hitters among Lopez, Denorfia, Encarnacion and Kearns. At some point you have to give you pitching some support. Lopez, Jr. and Dunn are already enough sacrifices made in the name of scoring. If it means the Reds become a 750-run team instead of an 820-run team, so be it. Until the organization figures out how to stop the other team, the offense is an afterthought.