CF Josh Hamilton/Ryan Freel
3B Edwin Encarnacion
RF Ken Griffey Jr.
2B Brandon Phillips
LF Adam Dunn
SS Alex Gonzalez
1B Joey Votto/Jorge Cantu
C David Ross/Javier Valentin
As usual, the Reds need pitching, preferably two starters and a closer candidate. Unfortunately, there just isn't a lot available in free agency this winter and Cincinnati doesn't have a deep minor league system to deal from. While it's true the Reds have four of the game's top prospects in Jay Bruce, Homey Bailey, Joey Votto and Johnny Cueto, they have to keep those players and they don't have a lot of second-tier guys to use to entice other teams.
So, the Reds could look to free agency first. They need to be in on both Koji Uehara and Kenshin Kawakami, but they're more likely to end up with Carlos Silva. While he'd be overpriced at $8 million per year, he has youth, durability and his ability to get a somewhat above average number grounders on his side. They could also trade for a veteran. Daniel Cabrera would be worth gambling on, or they could go after a veteran like Esteban Loaiza or Julian Tavarez. I have them trading Jeff Keppinger for Justin Germano, adding one more rotation option.
The bullpen isn't quite so desperate of a need with Jared Burton establishing himself as a reliable setup man. David Weathers is less than ideal as a closer, but it'd be very expensive to replace him. The Reds figure to talk to Francisco Cordero, but they'll probably settle for a couple of lesser guys.
The offense should be pretty well set if Adam Dunn's option is picked up. Ryan Freel is expendable, as the Reds can go with a Josh Hamilton/Norris Hopper platoon in center. However, his value is at rock bottom because of injuries. The Reds might as well keep him as protection for Hamilton and Ken Griffey Jr. Scott Hatteberg's option can be picked up, but he needs to be a bench player behind Votto. Jorge Cantu can start at first base against left-handers and serve as a backup elsewhere. The catching situation probably won't be upgraded since both David Ross and Javier Valentin are under contract for next year.
If the Reds foolishly decline Dunn's option, they could go with Votto in left field and Hatteberg at first. They'd have a lot more money to throw at pitchers and they could become the favorites to land Cordero. However, they wouldn't be any better for it. My guess is that they'll exercise the option and then deal Dunn after he loses his no-trade protection on June 15. Either way, third place would seem to be the best-case scenario.