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The biggest question for the Reds is whether to trade a young position player such as first baseman/outfielder Joey Votto for pitching when the contracts of outfielders Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn expire after this season. The Reds almost certainly will not move their top position prospect, outfielder Jay Bruce, but they could be open-minded on Josh Hamilton. Some executives believe that Hamilton’s past substance abuse left his body more susceptible to injury and illness…

Of the Reds position players that they can trade (Griffey and Dunn are basically untradeable b/c of their time of service and contracts), the one I’d most be willing to give up would be Hamilton. With Johnny Narron not being brought back, Josh will be “on his own” this year, which is a concern despite his remarkable comeback last year. Also his injury history is a big red flag.

Trading him might turn out to be a huge mistake, but if the Reds believe they can contend this season, they’re going to have to make some trades and some will be gambles.

The Phillies’ signing of left-hander J.C. Romero to a three-year, $12 million contract was only the beginning. One general manager seeking bullpen help says those terms likely will be the minimum for a number of free-agent relievers.

Closer Francisco Cordero already has received a four-year offer from an unidentified team, the G.M. says, and set-up types such as right-handers Scott Linebrink, LaTroy Hawkins and David Riske as well as lefties Ron Mahay and Jeremy Affeldt figure to strike it rich.

Kevin Towers has shown that you can assemble a good bullpen without breaking the bank, if you’re smart. The problem is that Wayne Krivsky and his staff have shown no ability to identify pitching talent. His next successful bullpen signing will be his first with the Reds.