I think Walt has a specific formula which he used in St Louis, and has been trying to implement in Cincy over the last few year
You get 1 absolute stud of a player
In St Louis it was Poo Holes...in Cincy it’s Votto
Both hitters are great defensively and both play 1B, but that may be coincidental
I think Walt saw that Poo Holes left St Louis and didn’t want that to repeat in Cincy so did the very long 10-year deal to ensure they kept Votto
You protect your 1 stud with a very good hitter behind him
In StLouis they got Matt Holiday for this role, and he has done it well, but in Cincy they are still trying to get this guy.
They signed Bruce long-term hoping he’s our eventual cheaper, younger version of Holiday, but he isn’t there yet.
Rolen is kind of that guy for now, which is unfortunate because he is steadily dropping off from his once great offensive abilities. He’s a very good “professional” hitter, but not exactly ideal to protect your big bat.
You get some very good starting pitchers
St Louis has Carpenter/Wainwright, and Cincy has Cueto/Latos
You fill out the rest of your rotation with solid pitchers and not junk – like the 2000’s Reds’ rotations
St Louis has guys like Garcia, and Cincy has guys like Leake & Chapman
Build a solid bullpen
I’m not going to list out all the names, but you know the Reds’ guys, and they are overall a good unil, even if (like St Louis) they don’t have a stud closer (anymore)....darn injuries!
Fill out the rest of your lineup with all-around players who are decent but not great
St Louis has their Molina, Shumaker, Jon Jay, Freese types who are 10~20 HR, 0.250~0.280 BA guys – nothing special, but all around decent players who can be effective in all aspects of the game.
That’s why Walt will keep guys like Heisey, Cozart, Hanigan, Frazier, Valiaka and Janish (mediocre hitters with little power, but can play defense and run adequately and do the ‘little things’ that make them more complete) over guys like Juan Francisco or Yonder Alonso who are much bigger bats and much better offensively, but may be limited in the ‘overall’ aspects of the game.
I think that is Walt’s model for building a team. He did it in St Louis, and it has been successful so now he is trying to implement it in Cincy.