As I said wayyy back on Page 5, I'd have definitely preferred two years instead of three years, and while I'm not happy about a three year deal, I can tolerate it. I'm confident that Gonzalez's glove assets will outweigh his liability with the bat, and I'd put his overall net run value relative to other shortstops at about 5-10 runs in the plus range per season. Shortstop is one of the few positions where I'm willing to sacrifice some offensive punch for exceptional defense.
Of course, that comes with the caveat that the traditional offense-heavy positions are just that, offense-heavy ...
First, it is absolutely imperative that #3 is moved out of center field next season. A defensive trio of Gonzalez at shortstop, Phillips at second base, and Denorfia in center field could post as high as a +25 net run value defensively per season over the average defensive performers. That trio has the capability to be a massive asset collectively for up-the-middle defense, and that part of the field would be known as the place where hits go to die.
However, if Griffey is in center field, the trio of Gonzalez at shortstop, Phillips at second base, and Griffey in center field would collectively be below average defensively.
Yes, Ken Griffey, Jr. is that bad defensively as a center fielder.
Second, assume that Griffey is moved out of center field and Denorfia is inserted for his glove. Now while the trio of Gonzo-Phillips-Denorfia would likely be among the best, if not the best, up-the-middle gloves in all of baseball, their collective offensive punch would likely be below average relative to their positions. Denorfia projects to be average, Gonzalez below average, and while people may be high on Brandon Phillips offensively, that .287 post All-Star Break on-base percentage and his complete inability to take a walk means that we absolutely cannot rely on him for anything more than average production offensively relative to other second basemen. In short, all that means that the traditional offense-heavy positions of 1B, 3B, LF, and RF need to produce with the bat, otherwise the team just simply won't score enough runs throughout the season to go anywhere.
Dunn will produce in left field, and Encarnacion should be a sure-fire bet to produce at third base. Griffey in right field, due to both his decline and injury potential, is a massive question mark. Hatteberg at first base on a full-time basis projects to be nothing less than a massive liability offensively. As was discussed last night, the Reds are a slugger short of being able to score enough runs. We need four sluggers, but really only have two-and-a-half (Griffey counts as the half due to age/injuries).
If the team can find a stopgap slugger to play first base in place of Hatteberg until Votto is ready - or a corner outfielder and bump Dunn or Griffey to first base until Votto is ready - then we'd have a nice combination of offense and fielding defense spread out through our regular position players.
Unfortunately, without that additional slugger, I fear the offensive punch of this team just won't accomplish the job.