I thought about starting this thread at the end of the year, but with 7 players called up now seemed like a better time. It allows for some guessing for this month and what that might mean for next year.

Clearly 2011 was a disappointment. And as much as some want to blame Dusty, I'll heap more blame on Jocketty. Gomes and Lewis were not inspired signings, and though Lewis was very good off the bench, as a starter, well not so much. I've grown to really like Miguel Cairo. nice bat off the bench. Renteria? blech. I was one of those that thought Janish could handle SS. defensively? yes. but his bat has completely vanished even by his standards. Losing Cozart to TJ surgery was a big setback. fortunately it's his glove arm, so he's expected back to full baseball activity in about 2-3 months from now.

Another Walt failing was in how he handled Arroyo this year. Arroyo should have been DL'd with fatigue at some point. Probably twice in fact. LeCure could have handled a few spot starts, say three during each DL trip Arroyo would have made. It isn't like we don't KNOW mono can affect a persons energy levels for up to a year or more. Bronson's velocity is down, his FB is sitting at like 84-86 and is straight as a pin the few times I have seen him. I'd say this year's version of Arroyo cost the Reds 8 wins. He's been awful, he's untradeable, and he's not pitching like he's being paid.

Rolen broke down. Shocking that a 36 year old 3B with a chronic injury history might break down. And now a shoulder injury. ugh. He's done. Look, I like him. I think he should be the primary backup at 3B next year, with one of the kids handling the fulltime duties. But that ain't gonna happen. I'd say a .750ish OPS with excellent defense in about 120 games is the most we as fans can hope for realistically. In case you think he can do more, here is the list of 37 year old 3B and their numbers for 2010: http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/batting...d/falseI'd hope everyone hopes someone beats him out for the job in 2012.

So here we sit. September 1. It's like spring training. Mesoraco, Sappelt, Heisey, Alonso, Frazier, Francisco. We all believe Mesoraco is the starter at C next year with Hernandez likely gone to FA. If so I see no real change in duties as far as PT goes. Dusty will use his two catchers in tandem. It works. Hanigan will get more starts than Mes in 2012. Mes gets to learn how to be a better receiver, better game caller and he eases in to life as a MLB player. If all goes well the roles reverse either by the ASB or the start of the 2013 season.

That leaves 5 guys at minimum vying for two spots. The best defender at 3B is Frazier. He may have the weakest bat of the three potential candidates to replace Rolen, but his overall value as a player might be the highest. Read some articles about Frazier from when he was with Dayton. He'll solidify a very good defense on the left side (Cozart is no Janish, but is still a good defender, Janish will likely be the backup at SS, 3B and 2B). He's been considered a clubhouse leader at every level. He's my choice to replace Rolen. He's the oldest prospect the Reds have with any shot to be a contributor, but I think his bat is underrated.

LF is problematic in that CF is a problem too. If the Reds think Sappelt is the guy, then Stubbs has to be dealt with. If they think it is Alonso or Francisco, then you can put Sappelt in CF. Heisey can man any of the three OF positions, and would be a good CF as well. Stubbs is the best defender out there. He's better than Bruce. His arm might be a tick under Jay's, but he more than makes up for it in range.

He just can't hit. He has the tools. He does not have the skills. The Reds have jerked him around so much he has no idea of how to hit. His power potential is that of a Jay Bruce. Did you know Stubbs was 3rd on the Reds in HR's last year? 4th in SLG among regulars, but 168 K's COUPLED with low walk total, 55 last year hurt his OBP. He's on pace for 212 K's and 59 BB's. he has 50 BB's now. I think 59 is optimistic. I don't care about the K's too much, but he needs to walk 80+ times a year. At least 80. He's hovering at a .700 OPS right now. Now ask yourself this: does Drew Stubbs, with a sub .700 OPS and a SB% at 81% have value even with his defense? He is on pace to score 100 runs, which is a testament to not only the guys hitting behind him, but his speed as well. Stubbs is in scoring position at 1B. Last year I called him Adam Dunn Lite. Lots of K's, about half Dunn's power, half his walks but with the ability to play defense. Does anyone remember that when Dunn came up he could steal a base? He never had Stubbs speed, but he did steal 19 bases his first full year. So does anyone know what kind of hitter Stubbs is supposed to be? Because the Reds damn sure don't.

It was clear the Reds were not in the race by the end of June. So why weren't they stretching Chapman out instead of getting him ready for more relief appearances? A healthy progressing Chapman in 2011 in the pen helps you win a few games. A healthy, progressing Chapman in Louisville, being stretched out as a starter helps you build a rotation beast for 2012 and beyond. The handling of Chapman was completely wrong IMO, and set back his true development by a year at least.

Edinson Volquez was rushed back. I think he pushed himself far too soon, too fast and the results show it. However, he has pitched very well at AAA over the last 2 months: http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/m...pbp&pid=450172 He's probably always going to be a high BB guy. He also K's more batters than any other Red.

Homer Bailey. The Big Tease. Over Homer's last 11 starts he has given up 5 runs or more 3 times. In the other 8 starts during that span he never gave up more than 3. He did something similar last year. in 2010 Bailey pitched 110 innings. He's on pace for 123 this year. He has trouble staying healthy. It would be nice to see what a healthy Homer Bailey can do.

Johnny Cueto. Ace.

Mike Leake. Enigma. He's the very definition of number 4 starter, yet i keep seeing people rave about him. I don't see it. He's touted as a GB pitcher. he's not. he's almost 50/50 on GB/FB this year, with the edge going to FB's. He's young, so he has upside.

So, looking ahead? crapshoot. But I'll tell you what i think it should be...

1B Votto - should be 2nd or 3rd in the MVP vote, IMO 2nd with Braun winning it.
2B Phillips - coming off his 3rd GG season
3B Frazier - He's the best fit, poised to take over as a leader on the field if/when Votto leaves. He's got the best glove after Rolen for the position and his bat will not hurt the Reds there.
SS Cozart - All we got was a taste. but in 36 AB's he has 1/3 of all the HR's hit by a Reds SS. Very good power throughout his professional career. I'll gladly take 15-20 HR's from my 8th hitting SS.
3B Hanigan/Mes - prolly a 60-40 split in 2012
RF Bruce - still waiting on that .900 OPS breakout. Could win a GG this year
CF Heisey - I was warming to Stubbs last year. even found myself defending him. But he regressed in his second season, and unless he learns what kind of hitter he is, his overall value keeps dropping.
LF Francisco - A lot will say Sappelt. Some might say Alonso. Heisey in CF would lead off. Francisco has a nice arm in LF, and off the charts power. He's LH and crushes RH pitching, something the Reds don't do enough. He's a better defender in LF than Alonso. A pregnant camel in a forest fire would be a better defender than Alonso.

SP Cueto
SP Willis - yep. I have him as a #2 starter 6 starts in August, 5 QS. He should have been 5-1, instead he was 0-3. I think he's back, maybe 85% of what he was, but he's been building on success. I see a sub 4.00 ERA next year.
SP Volquez - The only reason I have him at #3 is because I haven't seen him pitch with the Reds the way he's been pitching for the Bats. He'll get 3 starts this month I believe. He's a K machine. 85K's in 85 IP as a Red, 71K's in 80 1/3 IP as a Bat. 66 BB's as a Red, 27 as a Bat. If he's more the latter than the former next year... yes please.
SP Chapman - Just give me 100 innings.
SP Arroyo - He's tradeable at the deadline I think.

RP Bray LH
RP Maloney
RP Ondrusek
RP Burton
RP LeCure
RP Horst
CL Arredondo

with appearances by Gil (yes Gil) Boxberger, Fisher, Joseph (possibly. I think he'll be in AAA most of the year) and Christiani.

Now all this discounts any acquisitions. I won't guess as to who Jocketty and Co. are looking at. If he wants to sign Albert Pujols and move Votto to LF or Toronto for Jose Bautista and Brandon Morrow, I won't complain.

I think Alonso has no future as a Red. I think he's gone as soon as the Reds can find the right trading partner. I think 3B is Frazier or Francisco, and I prefer Frazier there, especially if Francisco can play LF. I prefer Heisey or Sappelt to Stubbs right now, but I wouldn't deal Stubbs with his stock this low. And if he can rebound to what he was last year, he's a top 5 CF in all of baseball. Phillips eventual replacement needs to be found. Sooner he's identified, the better. And I'd be thinking hard about what an over .500 finish for 2011 plus a division title in 2012 might mean regarding Joey Votto. Win the division next year and if he's the same Votto he was this year and last, his value is ridiculous regarding a trade or keeping him. It's almost like they can't lose either way.

2012 should be a fun season for Reds fans. - TRF