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Five Things the Reds Should Do ... But Won't

1.   Put Todd Coffey on the 25 man roster on Opening Day.

Coffey had a truly dominating year last season, striking out 10.52 batters every nine innings at AA Chattanooga and only walking .79 batters per nine.  Sure he struggled a bit in his brief AAA stint, but there's no reason not to give him a shot.  The Reds will probably be carrying twelve pitchers, and Coffey would be edging out a Josh Hancock or Ricky Stone - nothing to get worked up over.

2.  Go after Shawn Chacon.

Shawn Chacon had a disastrous 2004, putting up a 7.11 ERA as the Rockies closer.  He'll probably go back to starting this season, but I imagine the Rockies are getting discouraged with him.  It feels like Chacon has been around for quite a while, but he's only 27, a time when many pitchers take a leap forward.  The Reds could probably get Chacon at a bargain price given his 2004, and it wouldn't hurt Cincinnati to give up a bat or a minor league pitcher.  Say Steve Kelly and Steve Smitherman? Smitherman would probably be a Coors Field monster, and Kelly has put up great numbers in his minor league career, but has drawbacks.  This move would give the Reds a relatively solid, albeit still mediocre, front four.  And with league average pitching the Reds probably become a borderline playoff team.

3.  Resist the temptation to put Austin Kearns at third - ever.

This is a pretty minor issue, because if this ever happens it'll probably just be for a game here and a game there, but the Reds need to just say no to Austin at third.  There's no long term benefit to be gained from upping his third base proficiency since EdE will probably be starting in 2006 and DanO went out and signed Randa for this season.  Dave Miley needs to avoid pulling a Bob Boone and getting too cute with the lineup.

4.  Fire Don Gullett.

No, the Reds haven't given him much with which to work.  But we're still waiting for Gullett to develop a young pitcher, and we're several years from a successful reclamation project.  The Reds are a pitching poor organization, and because of that they need a top of the line pitching coach.  There's only one Leo Mazzoni, but the Reds need to find someone a little closer to him than to Gullett.

5.  Make Sean Casey a Red for life.

Yeah he's expensive.  Yes, it's easy to find solid offensive first basemen.  No, I don't usually gush about a players intangibles.

But ...

Sean Casey has qualities that make him more valuable than comparable first basemen.  He does a fantastic job of selling the city of Cincinnati and of selling the Cincinnati Reds.  Other players seem to enjoy sharing a team with Casey.  Those qualities are worth something.  Now that Barry Larkin's gone, the Reds are in danger of becoming a seriously boring dime-a-dozen major league franchise.  There are plenty of teams out there that have zero identity.  Look at the Royals.  Or the Devil Rays.  Or the Nationals.  I could go on, but you get the point.  While the Reds have Griff, I don't think he's suited for that kind of role.  Casey was born for it.  And he can play a little too.  I for one hope the Reds don't let him go anytime soon.