It's always fun to speculate about what the Reds should do in 2008, and after a frustrating 2007 season, I think it's time for some changes. Accordingly, here is what I'd like to see the Reds do to substantially improve the defense in 2008 and shift the core of the team from Dunn/Griffey to Bruce/Hamilton/Phillips/Votto.
First of all, bring in either Barry Larkin or Wally Backman to manage.
I'm not real pleased with the Reds and where they stand as of now, so it's time for some big changes.
1) Trade Adam Dunn to the Rangers for Jarrod Saltalamacchia and give the Rangers a window to lock him up longterm.
***Rangers need power and Dunn may be of interest if they can lock him up long-term. As always, we need a catcher.
2) Trade Ken Griffey Jr. to the Mariners for Brandon Morrow.
***Get a top flight young arm and salary relief.
3) Trade Edwin Encarnacion, Todd Coffey, and Chris Valaika to the Giants for Jonathan Sanchez and Kevin Correia.
***Edwin's defense no fits in with the newly configured Reds. Get two quality starting pitching options for the 2008 rotation.
Giants get one young everyday player, a quality position prospect, and a live arm in Coffey to help out in the bullpen.
4) Trade Alex Gonzalez and Mike Stanton to the Tigers for Brandon Inge.
***Tigers need a shortstop with C.Guillen moving to first and Brandon Inge is a top defensive 3rd baseman with good power. Moving from Comerica will only help his numbers and Inge has the intangibles and grittiness that Edwin seems to lack.
The salaries are similar, but Inge costs a bit more than A-Gon. By adding Stanton to the deal it essentially offsets the difference and prevents us from having to eat Stanton's contract.
5) Trade Rafael Gonzalez or Travis Wood to the Astros for Adam Everett.
***Give up a second tier pitching prospect for the best defensive player in baseball.
6) Trade David Weathers and James Avery to the Phillies for Jayson Werth.
***Phillies have a glut of outfielders and need pitching. Weathers fills a need in the bullpen and Avery provides them with a decent pitching prospect. Werth is strong offensively and tremendous defensively.
7) DFA Juan Castro.
***Castro is terrible and is a very poor use of a roster spot. He must be gone!!
8) Sign Scott Linebrink.
***Not as good as he used to be, but an improvement for the Reds.
9) Sign Octavio Dotel.
***Injury risk, but very strong when in the lineup.
10) Buyout the option year on Javier Valentin.
***Javy is a decent player, but just not a very good one.
11) Bring back Everyday Eddie.
***Let's not forget how he solidified the bullpen in 2006. Personally, I don't think he's done yet.
12) Sign Jose Cruz Jr.
Switch hitter with good pop, on base skills, and tremendous defense.
All of which leaves us with a lineup of as follows:
1) Norris Hopper cf r
2) Jayson Werth rf r
3) Josh Hamilton lf l
4) Brandon Phillips 2b r
5) Joey Votto 1b l
6) Brandon Inge 3b r
7) Jarrod Saltalamacchia c s
8) Adam Everett ss r
c) David Ross r
Inf) Jorge Cantu r
inf) Jeff Keppinger r
inf/of) Ryan Freel r
of) Jose Cruz Jr. s
SP1) Aaron Harang r
SP2) Bronson Arroyo r
SP3) Jonathan Sanchez l
SP4) Homer Bailey r
SP5) Kevin Correia r
cl) Eddie Guardado l
RH Set) Octavio Dotel r
LH Set) Billy Bray l
mr) Jared Burton r
mr) Marcus McBeth r
mr) Scott Linebrink r
mr) Jon Coutlangus l
Great defense in the outfield and improved infield defense.
Great shutdown bullpen with 3 quality lefties to offset the lack of lefties in the rotation.
Solid starting pitching with a lot of youth and big upside.
Good depth on the bench with Cantu, Keppinger, Freel, and Cruz Jr.
And a well balanced lineup (Phillips/Inge/Werth from the right, Hamilton/Votto from the left, and Salty as a switch hitter) with lefthanded Jay Bruce on the way.
As it stands now, I don't think the Reds are configured to win. The defense just flat out isn't good enough. The defense is the foundation of a team and the Reds can't build a winner on a shaky foundation. Adam Everett and Brandon Phillips would from the best middle infield defense in baseball.
With a shoddy team defense, the Reds are always trying to run uphill to overcome the deficiencies. If they had a great defense, then they constantly be ahead of the game and running down hill all season long.
It's time for big changes in Cincy. Let's roll the dice and see what happens.