John Fay has this article on the lack of experience Cincinnati is likely to have on the bench this season:
The drawback is the Reds are going to have to use young players as backups. That can impede their development. Zack Cozart is the backup shortstop. He could probably use some more Triple-A at-bats.
But if he makes the Reds, he’s going to spend a lot of time on the bench – not ideal for a young player.
The same is true for Juan Francisco, Todd Frazier and Yonder Alonso. All need more time at Triple-A, but there’s a chance that they’ll give the Reds the best chance to win this year.
Right now, Miguel Cairo is the only veteran bench player on the team. Chris Heisey got enough time last year that he’s probably ready for that role. Chris Valaika got a pretty good taste of the big leagues last year.
But as many as three bench spots could go to young, unproven players.
Finally, a benefit to Cincinnati’s limited budget. If the Reds had more money to spend, they would go out and get some Lenny Harris/Neifi Perez-types to fill out the roster. Fay is bemoaning it, but I’m happy that the Reds may have to go with these young guys as their bench options. First of all, I don’t know that any of those guys need more time at AAA. Alonso, perhaps, but he could likely be a productive major leaguer right now.
Secondly, every single one of those guys is likely to be better than Miguel Cairo this year. Every last one of them. The “importance of veterans” is the most overrated theme in baseball front offices, and it has been for years. I’ll take young and talented over old and busted every single time.
I wouldn’t mind seeing Laynce Nix re-signed, but otherwise, I’m ready to go to war with the young guys.