Like many, I think the signing of Dusty Baker is a sign that the Reds intend to contend immediately. I also share the thoughts of many that the Reds should plan on keeping the big 4 prospects going forward, Adam Dunn should be signed long term and that Jeff Keppinger is probaby best used as a role player and not handed a job at 3B, SS or anywhere else.
So where does that leave the Reds? Some one of value needs to be dealt to get what this team needs. Assuming that Harang, Arroyo, Dunn, Bailey, Cueto, Votto, Bruce, Encarnacion and Phillips are centerpieces that stay and that most of the vets don't have the value to get what is required, that probably puts Josh Hamilton front and center as the best combination of expendability and value as the centerpiece of a trade package. The Reds also have some pitching prospects not named Bailey or Cueto that may have some market value and a host of journeyman relief types to throw in.
IMO the Reds coud put together a package of Hamilton, Matt Maloney, Travis Wood and say a journeyman reliever like Majewski who has had some success, is still cheap and could benefit from a fresh start. I'd hate to lose Hamilton, but last year at this time the thoughts were "add a pitcher or two and the team is ready to contend in 2008 and beyond" and Hamilton wasn't a part of the picture. It seems that he could be dealt w/o hurting the plan.
The question for the board is what could a package of Hamilton, Maloney, Wood and whoever (Majewski) bring back? The Orioles need a big power bat and are probably in rebuild mode. Could that package net a Bedard? The A's are rumored to be listening on Haren and it seems that Hamilton would fit their OF needs and typical profile. If Haren isn't available, would Blanton be sufficient as a return (possibly eliminating Wood or subbing a lesser prospect)? The Giants need a young offensive centerpiece, do they have a match? I doubt Cain or Lincecum is available and don't really want the others (though Correia would be good in a lesser deal). Is Dontrelle Willis worthy at this point? Would Hamilton straight-up for Willis be a good idea? Who else is out there? Lets hear some ideas.