Assuming Adam Dunn’s contract option is exercised and he returns to bash forty or more homers again, the big questions next year are going to be surrounding the pitching staff (aren’t those the big questions every year?).

In today’s Post, there are a couple of pieces that relate to that general topic.

First, the Reds are really in pretty good shape at the top of the rotation. Aaron Harang is a stud, and one of the best pitchers in the league. Bronson Arroyo is a good option at the number two spot.

After that, it’s kinda wide open. I think it’s the official position of the staff here at Redleg Nation that Homer Bailey should be given one of the remaining spots in the rotation. Lonnie Wheeler has this piece on Bailey in the Post, and while most of Wheeler’s columns are unreadable, this one is alright, if only for the quotes from Homer. I really love this kid’s makeup; go check out those quotes.

Bailey will be inconsistent next year, as all young pitchers are, but the Reds need to stick him in the rotation and leave him there through the ups and downs. It’s the only way he’ll get the experience he needs.

Matt Belisle, of course, is another name that will be in the mix for next year, and I’d personally like to see him in the rotation again. He’s still relatively young, and he’ll be at an age when many pitchers take a step forward. Belisle has bad some great starts this year, but he’s had some bad ones, too. All in all, I don’t think he’s a bad option for the back of the rotation in 2008.

Belisle pitches tonight, and CTR has this article on him in today’s Post.

That leaves one position in the rotation. Bob Castellini needs to take that Eric Milton money and put it toward signing someone who can be the #3 guy in the rotation (or the #2 guy, if any of those are available). That will go a long way toward stabilizing the rotation, and will leave the bullpen as the sole cause for concern.

Of course, with the way GM Wayne Krivsky has bumbled around in putting together a bullpen over the last two years, that’s a BIG cause for concern, but we’ll remain hopeful. If we can.