2012 will bring the next wave of Reds to the point of really pushing for a roster spot. Francisco, Alonso, Mesoraco, Frazier, Sappelt, Cozart and Valaika all will probably be ready to play in Cincy by 2012. In order to carve out some roles on the Reds, some positional movement might be needed. The Reds probably will move on from Renteria, Gomes, Lewis, Hernandez and maybe Cairo to make some room. The team even needs to make a decision on Brandon Phillips after 2011. In preparation, the Reds should probably get these guys lots of time in positions where they will be more valuable in the roles opening up in Cincy.
Alonso could be a huge boost to this team if he can play LF to get his bat in the line-up. IMO, he should play left almost every day in AAA. No sense playing him much at 1B IMO.
Francisco's future is probably as one of those corner IF types who adds power as a cripple shooter who can bash certain pitching but is overmatched by other types. Defensively, its doubtful he would be tolerable every day at 3B. His role is probably as a guy who plays a little 3B, a little 1B and pinch hits in spots. He's played enough 3B. I'd stick him at 1B while Alonso is learning the OF.
Frazier's best opportunity to be an every day guy who can be an asset both offensively and defensively at his position is as a 3B. The Reds really should give him a year where he does this day-in, day-out. Its a different circumstance than spot play and I really think he needs to be evaluated as an every day guy there. By 2012, Rolen will need frequent caddying and a replacement for 2013 needs to be all lined up.
Cozart and Valaika will probably compete to replace Renteria. Cozart is clearly the SS of the two, but if either is to make the team, they'll need to be able to spot in at both positions. They should probably flip flop between 2B and SS a bit and even spot in at 3b once in a while. Negron figures in here at both spots as well. They should probably give Valaika time in the OF too.
Sappelt is way more valuable as a centerfielder than as a corner guy and he clearly has the range. His arm has been the issue but it seemed to stregthen in 2010. He should play CF exclusively in 2011 IMO and give the team a good read on how well that arm will do.
Chris Heisey may very well be headed back to AAA if the Reds choose to add another lefty on the bench (Hermida or less likely Francisco or Alonso). If Alonso and Bruce are manning the corners and forming two thirds of the meat of the order to go with Votto, then a good 4th OF who hits RH and can play plus defense in both spots is real valuable. Heisey should probably play both positions a lot. I'd even give him a little time backing up at 1B on occassion. If it was good enough for Jim Edmonds...
Mesoraco is the man at catcher and should play and pick Corky's brain as much as possible.
I hope the Reds push the envelope with these guys to get them ready. Filling the bench and replacing the weaker starters with cheap kids instead of pricey vets is the best way to keep this core together as long as possible. Moving on from Renteria, Ramon, Lewis and Gomes and backfilling with kids can shave about $7 Million from the payroll. The team will need it as raises kick in and more kids head toward arb. Add that to what might be saved in the pen in 2012 and keeping Phillips until Hamilton is fully cooked might be possible. If Louisville's line-up routinely has Alonso at 1B, Francisco at 3B and Frazier in LF, its a really bad decision IMO.