The trade deadline has passed, the roster is overflowing with major league caliber role players while lacking a bit in top end guys needed to seal the deal for post-season play and short series competitiveness. So what now?
There is a serious numbers game going on in places that are in need of an upgrade. The Reds seem to be going with quantity over quality in the Pen, the Rotation and the OF, but w/o packaging several for one or two top end upgrades, the numbers problem has become fairly significant.
Currently Cueto, Arroyo, Leake, Wood and Volquez are holding the rotation spots. Homer Bailey is rehabbing in AAA and is due back in 10 days or so. Aaron Harang is sidelined with back issues and there is no timetable for his return. Matt Maloney, Sam Lecure and Micah Owings are in AAA and probably won't be back until September if at all.
So how does it stack-up. I'm guessing that Cueto, Arroyo and Wood are in the rotation for the balance of the season. Mike Leake has a clear expiration date for 2010 and probably has about 8 starts left before hitting his innings limit (probably in early September). Volquez may be the one to go when Bailey returns.
Cordero, Masset and Rhodes are locks. Ondrusek and Smith have pitched well and Carlos Fisher hasn't really done anything to deserve a demotion at this point. Bill Bray has been shakey. In AAA Chapman is getting ready and is the clear replacement for Bray. Jared Burton, Jason Isringhausen and Russ Springer are all possible additions. Volquez or Bailey may take one spot. Not sure how to fit them all.
All players are flawed. Gomes, Stubbs and Bruce are the shakey starters, Heisey and Nix have both been good off the bench. Chris Dickerson is lighting it up at AAA. None of these guys can play the IF so creating a spot by reducing an IF isn't an option (though I still wouldn't be shocked if Janish is optioned and Dickerson added). There is already a numbers game in the bullpen so dropping to 11 pitchers probably won't happen.
This was a team that not only had the chips to deal several role players for an upgrade but almost had to do it to manage its own roster. It will be interesting to see what happens but the only obvious moves may be subbing Chapman for Bray and swapping Bailey for Volquez if Volquez doesn't get it together. In September, the roster crunch will ease, but in October we'll probably regret not exchanging some quantity for quality.