Re: Mesoraco and Grandal as trade bait
I think the Votto-Phillips-Rolen window is coming to a close. Rolen may already be done and Phillips may be gone after next year and Votto in a couple more. I think the Reds should do everything they can to be the best team they can in this window.
I believe the best way to improve this year is to add an ace. The quotes coming out of Denver seem to infer that O'Dowd is at least listening to offers for Ubaldo, even though he is currently asking for a "Hershel Walker" return. That may be a lot to give up, but I believe the Reds should do it. The best part of trading with the Rockies is that they already have a big-time C prospect. We could probably give them a Francisco+Alonso to take the place of Mesoraco. I think we align very well with them if they believe the good times of Wood and Volquez in the bigs.
If Walt can convince O'Dowd that Volquez and Wood are MLB pitchers worthy of a spot in the Rockies' rotation and then give them our AAA depth which they could use on the big team, I really think the Reds should go for it.
Getting back to your original point, though, I would deal Mes or Grandal in the right deal. Ramon looks like he could have another year in him (granted probably not going to be as good as this one) and Mes and Grandal's values are at an all-time high. I wouldn't deal either of them for a non-ace (a Guthrie type), but I would include them in a haul for a Anibal Sanchez or Felix Hernandez. I think some of these teams are looking for good young depth, with which the Reds can provide them.
I really believe Walt should be active now trying to allow Votto, Phillips and Rolen the chance of winning a World Series in the Queen City.