I believe the Reds have to choose between competing in 2010 or 2011. I say that because I beleive the only hope of competing in 2010 is hanging onto both Harang and Arroyo (and Cordero).
I think the only chance the Reds have in 2010 is to hope Arroyo's season mirrors the second half of this past season and pray that Harang can recapture the magic of before "the relief appearance". If either is dealt, I don't think the Reds have enough pitching to win the Central (especially with Volquez on the shelf). Problem is, if you hold onto them, I don't believe there are enough dollars to do anything else, so you go with what there is and hope.
You can't expect to deal one and get a pitcher back in the deal to take his place, because anyone dealing for them is not likely to deal of a young starting pitcher ready to help (at least not in 2010).
I'm afraid that they will deal one to make some room to acquire a player or two along the lines of Byrd and then do what they've done the last decade. Make cosmetic moves and try to sell the fandom that they make us comptetitive, but nothing of real substance.
I don't care if the Reds keep Arroyo, Harang and Cordero or deal all three. I just really don't want to see them take the middle route (which is likely).
If they want to move one, go all in. Make a series of interlocking deals designed to strengthen the roster for 2011 and beyond. Be up front with the Reds fandom. Tell them that you are sure the Club's future is bright, but the salary structure is out of balance and we are going to take some steps that, while painful in the very short term, will help make the future very bright. Tell them that we are not conceding anything but youth comes first they need experience to take us where we want to go.
I'd start off by saying "we made a mistake," but we're going to rectify it and DFA Taveras - say the ABs go to those we will be counting on going forward.
Then Phase I, I get serious about making deals. Harang to the Dodgers for Sherrill and a young player/prospect or two? Fine. Sherrill, Massett and Rhodes could make the basis for a storng back end of the bullpen.
Don't stop there though. Go with the youth in the pen and move Cordero for something else of use, Same for Bronson.
Concentrate on arms and a young SS. If someone offers a young talent who has great potential, but won't be ready for a year or two - fine, bring them on, don't worry about position, they may be handy in the next phase - just add talent.
Joey is your cornerstone and for all the carping I did about how/when he was acquired, Rolen, if healthy, has value - almost assuredly more than he would bring in a deal. Jay still isn't a sure thing and could still disappoint, but he's the closest thing they have to a professional Plus corner OF. I wouldn't say he's untouchable, but then you'd just have to turn a round and replace him - he stays.
Phillips is by no means untouchable, but if he at least plays like he did this past season he helps this team plenty. He stays unless someone really wows you. Hanigan is a solid as a second catcher and probably does not bring enough in return to make it worth your while to deal him. He'd stay. Every other position guy in the organization is in the mix.
Francisco, Alonso, Heisey, Frazier, Dickerson, Stubbs, Valaika, etc. all in play. Likewisie for pitching. If you deal Bailey, Cueto, you just have to replace them, so you are really hesitant to move them. I'd put Leake in the untouchable category and I don't see you getting anything close to value for Volquez, considering his injury status. I hang onto Massett, but all other hurlers are in the mix. I'm not saying you get rid all of your top prospects haphazardly, but you make choices and package some (possibly along with some of theyoung talent that came over in the Harang/Arroyo/Cordeo deals in Phase I).
Phase II is filling the holes, Come the 2010 trade deadline, I make an all out push for the Holidays, Halladays and Lees out there. By that, I mean being agressive in pursuing guys other teams out of contention are wanting to move for prospects. Unlike Holdiay though, I don't touch anyone not signed for 2011 unless I'm convinced I have a very good chance of signing them up.
(As an example only) Maybe I overpay and send five or six prospects to the Marlins for Hanley Ramirez and a pitcher or two from their young stable. Maybe I go after a TOR pitcher that does not help a team well out of contention or a young middle of the order batter to fill the cleanup spot. If they could pull off a deal like that, I think it would create some serious excitement, hope and real interest in Redsland and probably pick up attendance for the second half.
Phase III would be to fill the hole not filled by the first two phases. In other words, if Phase I netted a young SS and Phase II netted a TOR starter, I'd put the savings realized into signing a slugging FA in the next offseason. etc. I'd like to have a solid hitting catcher who can defend too, but if I can come away with a young SS who can defend and hit in the two-hole, a middle of the order LF bat and a TOR starter, I'll live with Hanigan and Hernandez (or young alternative) behind the plate, hitting 8th. [I'd also take some fo the savings and sign Chapman]
2010 (Stand Pat) or 2011 (All-in), but no in between please. I'm really concerned though that in-berween is exactly what we have in store. I still believe either Harang or Arroyo is gone by Opening Day.