The win now, to hell with the future, crowd acts as if a proven ace is a sure thing but that just isn't true. Two years ago Willis was a sure thing. Colon, Akiel, Rijo, and many other erstwhile aces have lost their ace status overnight through injury or just unexpected drop in performance. I haven't researched the subject but subjectively I think the Randy Johnson's and Gregg Maddox's who sustain their elite status long term are the exception among pitchers.
If the Reds trade three or four top prospects for a proven ace, they could weaken their bright mid term future(09, and 10) without any guarantee of success in 08. I feel the risk of Bailey failing perform at a #3 level in 08 is no higher than the "ace" we trade him(and several other top prospects) for failing to perform as expected.
I've been a Reds fan for nearly seventy years and they have never had the young core they have now(Dunn, EE, Hamilton, Phillips, Burton, Bruce, Votto, Bailey, Cueto). That core and Harang, Arroyo, Cordero and others make a WS appearance in 09 a reasonable possibility. Yet half the Redszone community want to trade away several of that core for, what could well be, the mirage of winning this year.
Also I don't consider 08 a lost cause w/o a trade for an ace. A trade not including any of the above could net an above replacement value #4 or #5 starter or as others have suggested such a starter could be obtained through free agency on a 1 or 2 year incentive laden contract without giving up any prospects.
If I can be patient at my age(76), you youngsters here a Redszone who have many years ahead of you should also be able to hold out for another year or two for what could be a several year dynasty.
Don't make any ill-advised trades and follow the ideas set forth by Triples in his latest thread and we fans could be in for a long term treat.
Edit: Anyone who experienced the agony of Frank Robinson as a non-RED would be sick at the thought of trading Jay Bruce.