Rolen is our third baseman for the foreseeable future, making things a bit complicated for our many defensively-underwhelming hitting prospects. What to do about the rather bulky LF/1B logjam now? With Bruce in RF and Stubbs/Willy T (vomiting sound effects here) in CF, there are a lot of guys competing for PT for the Reds in the next several seasons. Almost all of them are at AAA or MLB, so developing players while getting everyone enough playing time is going to be a challenge, especially for a manager who routinely struggles with logic and reason in the face of negative results.
Joey Votto plays a capable 1B, and played 40 games in LF in AAA in 2007.
Yonder Alonso should arrive as a 1B-only guy in late 2011 or 2012.
El Nino Destructor has a MLB-ready bat, but probably should take at least 3 months at AAA for plate discipline/defense seasoning. A year in AAA might well do him good. He has a .909 minor league career fielding percentage at 3B...yikes. He has only played 5 games in LF in the minors...yikes again. He's never played 1B...that's odd to me, as well, as he can probably knock a ball down better than the average lummox first baseman due to his experience at 3B. So the only position he's ever played, he sucked at. Rolen signing makes a lot of sense in that light. And that means that END is our LF of the future (I'm defensively skeptic), who may eventually play some decent 1B. He may need a full year to learn the OF...hard to know what we'll be getting out there.
Laynce Nix is a capable MLB bench player, who will hopefully rot on the pine at AAA - cuz that means better players are playing sizable MLB roles.
Wladimir Balentien is Pedro Cerrano sans Jobu. He's only gonna be 25, appears to be a decent corner outfielder defensively, but aside from an OK stint with the Reds (.779 OPS in 125 PA), he's not shown much success in the majors (.655 OPS in 559 PA). He has odd platoon splits: he hits righties better than lefties. I can't find his minor league splits to help figure if this is a small sample size anomaly or rather a product of him not doing well with breaking pitches. His .857 minor league OPS shows promise, but he'll have to impress in a hurry to stick long with the Reds.
Chris Dickerson is a great defender who hits righties well, and would be a good 4th OF'er on most any MLB club. He'll turn 28 this year.
Chris Heisey will be 25 this year, and has hit well at every level, until he got to AAA in the middle of 2009. He crushed everything for his first 15 games (1.039 OPS) there, but then fizzled to end up with a .788 OPS mark in 245 AAA ABs. Still, he did develop some unexpected pop in 2009 with 20 HR between AA/AAA. He hit an impressive .972 OPS in the 2009 Arizona Fall League. Sustaining this new-found power in addition to his blazing speed could turn him into a real asset. He's stolen 86 bases in 102 attempts, which is rather tasty, and has only grounded into 17 DPs in nearly 2000 minor league PAs. He's a question mark for sure...hard to know what his career path will be, but it will likely be revealed in the first half of Louisville's 2010 season.
Danny Dorn will be 25, and has weak defensive tools and no speed. He's shown good power and crushed it in the minors until he hit .204/.276/.366 in his first 28 games for Triple-A Louisville. He rebounded to post a .800 OPS in 111 AAA games in 2009. He's a year away, and has cement hands that preclude a move to 1B.
Todd Frazier's hit well in the minors, but perhaps not well enough to justify a corner outfield position. Defensively, he's been pretty stinky at a bunch of different positions. The Reds sent him to the post-season instructional league, where he proved to the Reds brass that he was no answer at 2B. So now he'll be a 24-year-old slow left fielder with underwhelming pop. He also has never successfully sacrificed at any level in 312 games, and will be playing for a manager who loves to sacrifice. He's MLB-ready now.
So taking development into account, to whom do you give playing time in LF for the Reds, and who plays OF for Louisville? Whom have I misjudged? Who do you think ends up being "the solution" in LF and 1B over the next 5 years for the Reds?