Enjoying the present while keeping an eye on the future is interesting when it comes to the Reds' pitching staff, because it's quite possible that at least 8 or 9 of the Reds pitchers seem to be locked in for the next couple years.
Obviously injuries, sudden ineffectiveness, and other problems can likely plague any pitcher and derail futures faster than a Volquez fastball, but let's take a quick glance at what we have here (signed through 2010).
I'm assuming that this is probably David Weathers' final season with the Reds, given the fact that he'll be 40 next year and has undoubtedly reached the twilight of his career. Let's look at what we have:
SP1 Aaron Harang R
SP2 Johnny Cueto R
SP3 Edinson Volquez R
SP4 Bronson Arroyo R
SP5 Homer Bailey R OR Matt Maloney L
Swingman Matt Belisle R
LHRP Bill Bray L
Setup Jared Burton R
CL Francisco Cordero R
That leaves two open positions in the bullpen. One of them has to go to a lefty, especially if Bailey is the #5 starter over Maloney. I'm assuming that lefty will be one of Wayne's signature veteran free agent signees, a la Affeldt (maybe he stays beyond this year, but doubtful considering he prefers starting.) If the lefty reliever role does get filled from within the organization, the most likely option is Pedro Viola- or possibly even Maloney if he gets beat out for the rotation by Bailey. The second spot, presumably vacated by Weathers, will most likely go to either Marcus McBeth or Josh Roenicke, who are currently the best RP prospects in the system.
That would leave the following guys out of luck, or not part of (my) Reds future plans beyond this season:
Jeremy Affeldt- Free Agent
Josh Fogg- Free Agent
Todd Coffey- Too inconsistent/ineffective
Mike Lincoln- Too insignificant
Kent Mercker- Too old
David Weathers- Too old
Gary Majewski- Too awful
Now, I know the above contains a LOT of assumptions (Cueto and Volquez stay healthy and continue to progress, Belisle and/or Arroyo aren't traded, Bray can be healthy for more than a week, etc.) but I think it's very intriguing that (other than finding a veteran lefty for the 'pen,) pitching may not have to be one of the Reds top offseason priorities for the next couple of seasons. Thoughts?