The Reds outfield needs help. Unlike the infield -- with Phillips, Rolen, and Votto, the outfield is one question mark after another. Some thoughts about next year's outfield.
1-Right field will be Bruce. His 2009 numbers must improve.
2-Centerfield will, IMO, be covered by an in-house guy or guys. With the money invested in Taveras and the showing of Dickerson and Stubbs, it would seem a major change here is unlikely. And Heisey can play center if the Reds want to add another guy to the mix.
I would be pleased with a Dickerson/Stubbs combo with Taveras either in a backup/pinch running role or sent elsewhere. Some believe the Reds will play Taveras because of his contract. Too soon to tell.
Another problem is that, with a short bench, can the Reds keep all three centerfielders?
3-Left Field - The current choices are Nix, Gomes, Balentien, or possibly Dickerson. Add Heisey to the mix.
I think the Reds will try to add a good hitter for this position. It's the most obvious area of potential upgrade. The other possibility I see is to give Gomes the job.
Would love to see a good veteran hitter added for the left field spot. That's my preference.
4-Outfield depth. Let's assume that the outfield next year is Bruce, Dickerson/Stubbs, and a new LF. That leaves only one spot for another bench outfielder. With a five man bench, you can't have three reserve outfielders.
In this scenario, the Reds will have to choose among Nix, Gomes, Balentien, Taveras, and Heisey for one outfield spot. And this does not include the possibility of Juan Francisco, Todd Frazier, or Yonder Alonso (with Votto moving to LF) being considered an outfielder for next year's Reds. Admittedly, these AAA candidates are long shots and don't regularly play outfield now. Dorn is another possibility for a spot.
Also consider that Micah Owings may be a reliever/bench hitter next year. That could enable the Reds to keep one less righty hitter on the outfield bench.
My conclusion is that the Reds have a lot of quantity for the outfield next year, but questionable quality. With the exception of Jay Bruce, I don't see any of the outfield spots as certain. And if the Reds keep five outfielders out of spring training, it could be a fierce battle unless there are major acquisitions that bring order by the spring.