Red Reporter has an excellent chart detailing the Reds’ current 2012 payroll. They currently have the team at $79.8M. I won’t try to improve on that except to say we have now learned that Madson is being paid only $6M in 2012 with a team option or $2.5M buyout for 2013 (thus the initial $8.5M that was reported).

That gives us a number of $77.3M

At the end of last season, the Jocketty said payroll would go up. The assumed number was $85M.

Do the Reds still have $8M lying around? If so, what should they do with it? As it stands, right now, the Reds roster is nearly set:

Starting Lineup: Mesoraco, Votto, Phillips, Rolen, Cozart, Heisey*, Stubbs, Bruce

Rotation: Latos, Cueto, Leake, Bailey, Arroyo, Chapman?

Bullpen: Madson, Marshall, Masset, Bray, Ondrusek, Arrendondo, LeCure

Bench: Cairo, Frazier, Francisco, Hanigan, Janish

That’s actually 26 players. Janish might hang out in Louisville and Chapman might log some time there as well, but that’s a pretty set roster. We all know there is a perceived need for a better backup at short and for another OF, but is that really what the Reds should so with their money?

The Reds have made it extremely clear that they are all in for this year, and I am totally happy with that mindset. But frankly, I’m at a loss here. The only week cog on the bench is Janish (Cairo will turn to dust eventually, but he’s going to be on the team). The lineup is what it is, and there’s nothing better than Heisey out there for left. The bullpen might be the best in the league now. I’m not thrilled with Arroyo on the back end, but that rotation is pretty solid.

So I’m putting the question to you Nation. What should the Reds do? Should they spend what’s left on a couple of role players, as seems to be the plan right now? Should they maybe make a run at Oswalt and try to further sure up the rotation? Is there a trade you think could get done if the Reds are willing to take on some money? These are fun questions to ask, and no doubt Jocketty will provide us with answers in the coming days. Either way, this offseason has been a blast. I’m intrigued to see where else it takes us.