Could this team have competed? Even in retrospect....it's a tough haul. Particularly without a bump in payroll.

Not bringing back Lincoln and putting Dickerson/Hopper in center to take Taveres spot. That saves you about 4 million. It's easy to say they could have taken that money and put it into free agents that would have helped the team, but....I'm not sure that's true.

With Dickerson in center, you've got a left field of Nix/Gomes....they could have signed....I guess Bobby Abreu would have been the best choice for the money they had. Most of the free agent hitters didn't produce. I don't think Abreu would have come here unless they had upped the money.

And you still don't have a shortstop. Orlando Cabrera isn't an answer. Alex Cora...that's a no. Give the job back to Jeff Kepinger? That doesn't make anybody feel good.

Even in retrospect, with 20/20 hindsight, it's darn tough to turn this team into a good baseball team.

Yeah, Ok. They are "only" 7.5 games out, but last night's injury report was Dickerson, Owings and Burton.
Bruce, Edinson, Hernandez and Gonzalez are likely done for the year.
Lincoln and Bray never got on track and are done for the year.

Given a starting job, Hannigan can't stay in the lineup.
Both Masset and Cueto have acted hurt on the mound.

They have to pass 4 teams with what was a thin roster made that much thinner?

This season is over.

What do they need to do in order to move forward?

They need to start the sorting process. Give Dusty a medal for keeping them together this long and start sorting.

Listen to offers for Harang/Arrory/Weathers/Rhodes/Cordero and anybody else that might bring something good. You don't have to give those guys away, but if you can get something good, you take the deal. It's not a fire sale, but if you can get a shortstop for one of those guys....that's a no brainer. Scott Rolen? Well, that's a big negatory.

And listen to other offers. If you can get something really good for Phillips or Encarnacion, you do the deal. Phillips is due 11 million in 2011. Edwin is valuable, but he is replaceable.

They've got playing time, they have to put guys out there with the notion that they are playing for next year.

This off season the reds will have to put some guys like Zach Stewert, Todd Frazier and Travis Wood (and others) on the 40 man roster. It would be a good idea to thin out the herd of guys at AAA that may or may not deserve that roster spot.

Play Paul Janish. This is not a hard decision. If he can't play shortstop for this team right now, then he doesn't belong on your 40 man roster and he's useless. Put him on the field. I don't care what Gonzalez or Hairston think about it. Play him. Find out.

Homer pitches every 5th day. No discussion.

Promote Drew Stubbs right now. He's not going to do any WORSE than what you are running out there and he just might learn something that will pay off in a year or two. he can have Adam Rosales slot on the 40 man roster, because Rosales isn't anything more than a spare part. Gomes and Nix can sit next to Gonzalez and Hariston on the bench. if you don't want to promote Stubbs, then bring up Heisey. They both have 1500 minor league at bats and they can't both play center in Louisville.

Same with Drew Sutton, he's 26 years old. If he's worth a spot on the 40 man roster, than put him on the 25 and get him on the field as much as you can. The time is now.

Josh Roenicke/Robert Manuel/Ramon Rameriz/Carlos Fisher....same as Drew Sutton. These are not young prospects who are going to be hurt by an early promotion, they are old enough they either need to see if they can carve out a role in the pen or not.

I don't mean anything bad about Nix or Gomes or Gonzalez or Hairston, but the organization doesn't have any commitment to those guys beyond this year (I do think Hairston is signed for next year, but that's a quibble). They seem to be stand up guys caught in a bad situation, but the organization needs to makes some decisions and Laynce Nix is not the future of this team.

Oh and yes, the time has come. Stop throwing away playing time on Wily T. He doesn't do anything well. He never HAS done anything well. If he gets tired of sitting on the bench, let him paint the bullpen or something. Don't give him another plate appearance. Stop pretending that he's going to turn into a baseball player. Eat the money and move on. Don't make it worse by playing him.