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12/04/08 3:05 PM EST

Right-handed hitter among Reds' needs

Club ready to wheel and deal as Winter Meetings approach

An overview of the Reds heading into next week's Winter Meetings, which open on Monday at the Bellagio in Las Vegas:

Reds' needs:

Right-handed hitter/run producer: The Reds don't just need a righty to wedge in between young lefty hitters Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. They need a consistent bat who can get on base and drive in runs in all situations because Cincinnati stranded too many runners in scoring position last season. General manager Walt Jocketty is most likely going to fill this need via a trade, rather than through free agency.

Left-handed reliever: Although the Reds have Bill Bray, who can be a primary lefty in the late innings, this area became a more pressing need once free-agent lefty Jeremy Affeldt went to the Giants with a two-year, $8 million contract. This is one place where Jocketty will likely go the free-agent route. He already has an offer out to 39-year-old Arthur Rhodes and also pursued Trever Miller, who signed with the Cardinals on Wednesday.

Catcher: Jocketty has continued to keep his eyes open for a potential frontline catcher but is willing to go with a veteran backup type. He has that luxury because the Reds were pleased with rookie Ryan Hanigan's performance late last season and wouldn't be afraid to start him behind the plate.

Shortstop: Veteran Alex Gonzalez is still slated to start but missed all of last season with a knee injury. The Reds want insurance but are not looking at expensive options. They'll likely look to trade for someone with less than three years of experience.

Lefty starter: The Reds have lots of quality right-handed starters and aren't compelled to get a lefty. While it's a low priority, they wouldn't mind adding a southpaw to mix it up for the opposition. Last season, only one lefty made a start and it came in the season's final game.

Whom the Reds can or need to trade

RHP Homer Bailey: The starter's results have yet to meet often overly lofty expectations. He is still only 22 and might be the epitome of someone who would benefit from a "change of scenery."

OF/IF Ryan Freel: The super utility player is admired for his versatility and all-out way of playing. But that style has cost him, too. He's missed much of the past two seasons with injuries. Freel is also slated to make $4 million in 2009.

RHP Bronson Arroyo: He's not a likely trade chip since the Reds lack veteran starting pitching and because he has two years and more than $20 million left on his contract. But Arroyo's stock became very high after his strong finish to last season.

Top prospects:
• SS Todd Frazier
• 1B Yonder Alonso
• OF Drew Stubbs
• SS Chris Valaika
• 3B Neftali Soto
• OF Daniel Dorn
• 3B Juan Francisco
• 3B Brandon Waring
• RHP Daryl Thompson
• RHP Josh Roenicke
• RHP Robert Manuel
• RHP Carlos Fisher
• LHP Matt Maloney
• LHP Pedro Viola


• 3B Edwin Encarnacion
• RHP Matt Belisle
• RHP Gary Majewski

Non-tender candidates

Belisle and Majewski

Payroll summation

The Reds' 2008 Opening Day payroll was $74 million and it's not likely to increase much more than $80 million in 2009. Even with Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn off the books, escalating raises of returning players with multiyear contracts, arbitration cases and the rest of the 40-man roster still have the Reds locked in for around $54 million. The economic recession and efforts to build for the long-term could have the Reds holding their money a little closer than in the past.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.