Stepping away from the bullpen deck-chair shuffling and the uproar over Krivsky's inability to articulate a relatively simple concept like "don't manage every game like it's the seventh game of the World Series," there are some defensive questions that need to be answered before settling on the roster makeup of the 2008 Reds. Here's a few I thought of; feel free to add yours.
1. Are they comfortable with Edwin Encarnacion now?
Out of every batch of rangy, toolsy third basemen, some of them develop the reliability to stay at the position for years and some never do. He's young, but not exceptionally young, and if they're not yet convinced he can handle it long-term they won't spend too much more time waiting. It doesn't help that his offensive game regressed this season, although I'd predict a bounceback in '08.
2a. Can Josh Hamilton stick in center field?
2b. Who's the better center fielder, Hamilton or Jay Bruce?
As long as Griffey and Dunn are around, Hamilton will be in center just because. If one of them leaves, though, the Reds have to decide whether Hamilton will stay in CF or move to a corner, and adjust accordingly. Furthermore, if Bruce continues his meteoric rise, the CF might be him. While most people expect that he will eventually end up in RF, most reports I've read say Bruce plays a decent CF for now, and if he pushes his way into the Cincinnati lineup alongside Hamilton, it's worth wondering who stays in center and who moves to a corner.
3. Where's Joey Votto going to play?
I'm more comfortable thinking this question is answered than some people; based on an interview he gave this year, he said the time he's been given cross-training in left field is not because they don't think he can play first base, but because they know he can. Hope he's right.
4. Is Jeff Keppinger serviceable at shortstop?
I know he'd never really played the position as a pro until this year, bouncing between 2B and 3B. But since Gonzalez and Phillips don't require defensive caddies, if the front office saw enough to believe Keppinger can be a not-disastrous short-term fill-in at SS, it would be a big boost to the bench not to have to carry a no-hit glove guy all year.