We’re going to be hammering this nail all winter long, but the Reds have some very interesting decisions to make as they look toward the 2011 season.

We should be hearing about this soon, but GM Walt Jocketty expects Jay Bruce to qualify for arbitration this year, and he’ll be due a substantial raise over the $440,000 he made this year. Bruce earned it, but it will put a further crimp on the 2011 budget (especially if the Reds pick up Bronson Arroyo’s option, as expected).

Other items of note that emerged from John Fay’s interview with Jocketty that I’ve linked above:

–The Reds have had some discussions about bringing Arthur Rhodes back. I think they have to do that, if the price isn’t outrageous.

–According to Fay:

The Reds have not told any of the players with options – Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, Jonny Gomes or Orlando Cabrera – whether they will exercise the options or not. Jocketty has said Arroyo’s will be picked up and Gomes’ “probably will.” The Reds certainly won’t pick up Harang’s at $12.5 million and won’t likely pick up Cabrera’s at $4 million.

My first thought: why are they going to pick up Gomes’ option? If it’s to be the everyday starter in LF, that’s a terrible decision. If they pick up that option with the idea that Gomes will be a backup outfielder and pinch-hitter, that would be reasonable. Color me concerned.

Also, Jocketty has indicated that he’d like to bring back Cabrera, if possible. It’s a similar situation to what we saw with Ramon Hernandez last year, when Cincinnati declined his option but signed Ramon to a new deal. I really don’t want to see the Reds re-sign Cabrera, though he grew on me throughout the 2010 season. The primary reason for my hesitation: if Cabrera is here, he starts and bats second. One of the benefits to having Paul Janish as the primary shortstop — besides the brilliant defense — is that Dusty won’t be tempted to bat him near the top of the lineup. If Cabrera had batted eighth this season, you would have seen far fewer complaints in this space.

Finally, Jocketty says they are going to look at bringing the aforementioned Ramon Hernandez back. I think that’s probably a no-brainer, unless there’s a market for Ramon out there that we don’t know about. Hernandez had a great 2010 season, and the Reds don’t have anyone ready to step in as Ryan Hanigan’s best buddy. If all goes well, perhaps Devin Mesoraco will be ready at some point in 2011, but it would be a poor idea indeed to count on that.