We can disagree about the rankings, but one thing I think is clear is that the Reds have some depth and in the current situation that is a good thing. In order to turn things around the Reds are going to have to bring in some things that they need. Specifically a catcher, a young athletic SS who can hit a little and maybe another starter. To do that, the team is going to need to deal off a few of their young players. My thinking is that you identify a few you want to hang on to, deal others with trade value and backfill the guys that were traded with some of the sleepers coming up behind them.
Of course everyone is available in the right deal, but the likely scenario for getting what is needed without overpaying is what we're trying to identify. IMO, the keepers on offense are Frazier, Soto and Alonso. But beyond them who to deal?
1. Juan Francisco - Francisco plays the most crowded spot in the organization. The team has a young starter in EdE who may or may not be a long term answer there. At least one (Soto) if not two (Frazier) of the top guys will likley end-up there and the team has a similar but probably less in demand player in Brandon Waring coming up behind Francisco. Francisco's age and HR bat IMO have him a more valuable trade commodity than Waring and even Soto may still be undervalued by many teams. Francisco seems to be a guy the Reds could deal for other needs and not suffer much with the alternatives still on board, while avoiding the risk of his potentially fatal free swinging flaw.
2. Chris Valaika - This is a guy who has made a bit of a name for himself with his bat. For him to be successful in the big leagues though, that bat will have to be stationed at 2B. I don't believe its a certainty that he can play there. Add that the team has arguably its best player at the spot and guys like Keppinger, Rosales and even Turner, who may be able to do what Valaika can do, and he seems expendable.
3. Drew Stubbs - The OF is pretty crowded. Dickerson looks like a guy that could at least platoon in CF and with the Reds probably stuck with Freel as his platoon mate, it leaves CF a little crowded in 2009. Stubbs was a high draft pick who has the defensive chops to play the spot and has really come on in the second half of 2008. IMO he probably has a lot of trade value. I certainly wouldn't give him away, but if he could be swapped for a similar prospect at SS or C, I'd do it. Guys like Cumberland, Henry and Heisey may be able to fill the same role as Stubbs without too much of a drop off by 2010(especially Heisey in CF) but surely don't carry the trade value that Stubbs probably does. Stubbs for Taylor Teagarden? Sign me up for that one.
The pitching side is a little less clear IMO. Thompson looked like a comer early in the year, but his injury clouds the situation. Lotzkar was probably the best of the younger guys, but he too has an injury concern. Matt Maloney created some buzz last year but has had a poor season. Homer Bailey no longer qualifies as a "prospect" and he has probably had a drop in value, but IMO he's still the best bet in the minors to be a plus starter some day. Travis Wood was once highly thought of, but a couple injured and ineffective years likely have his value down. Sam Lecure, Ben Jukich and Ramon Ramirez have been effective but I'd guess have little trade value. With the Major League rotation likley set with Harang, Arroyo, Volquez, Cueto and the not yet official Micah Owings, the team needs guys who can be depth at AAA and effective replacements down the road. IMO the team should cautiously shop Bailey and Maloney (I still think Bailey will be a stud eventually). They probably have the most value of the minor league guys. Bailey because of his former status and Maloney as a high K lefty. The next guys in line who will be AAA depth are likely to be Thompson, Ramirez, Lecure, and Jukich. Wood, Dallas Buck, Jordan Smith, and Alex Smit will be in the pipeline at AA.
So the primary shop list: Francisco, Valaika, Stubbs, Bailey and Maloney. Throw in any of a number of pen arms (Fisher, Watson, Manual, Lutz, Tabor, etc.) and lesser but possibly intriguing position players (Eyman, Parker, Reed. K. Jones, Phipps, Gutierrez, etc.) and the team should be able to acquire some help in areas of need.