I agree with many on this board that, generally speaking, building with youth is a viable approach for the Reds. They can't afford big free agents apparently, trades are hard to make.
The current swoon by the team is IMO a natural by-product of building with youth. Some guys pan out, some require lots of seasoning, some get hurt, some just aren't that good.
So, looking at some of the main prospects the Reds have developed who have reached the majors:
Votto, Cueto -- excellent
Leake -- signs of being very solid
Bruce, Stubbs -- good but very inconsistent
Bailey -- signs of being very good, but often hurt
Volquez, Wood -- experiencing difficulty
Janish -- good field, no hit so far
The inconsistency, the injuries, the subpar performances are IMO a natural outcome of the Reds' approach.
I see two choices.
1- modify the approach and get some high level veterans to fill out the team. Do it by free agency this winter, or trades at the deadline. But not for guys like Renteria and Cairo, who may be ok as bench players. For starting players who will improve the lineup and staff.
2- go "all in" with youth. Be more aggressive promoting youngsters. For example, Cozart and Mesoraco play premium positions. Get them up to the show and start breaking them in. Put guys like Alonso and Francisco on the bench. Promote Boxberger and start to get him ready to close games next year.
I don't think the current approach - a roster of prospects and veterans on the downside - is a winning formula. Hopefully the Reds will change it.
I'd love to hear others' views on this.