Ok, well we now know that Josh Hamilton is gone, and Edinson Volquez is here. I would LOVE for the Reds to trade for Erik Bedard, but it now looks as if that possibility is dead. Given these two developments, my question is this- what do you do now?
(please no more trade for Bedard suggestions)
Here would be my plan:
First, re-sign Adam Dunn. Offer him four years, $60-70 MM. Bottom line is this- without Hamilton and Griffey Jr. going forward, Dunn's bat is mandatory to this offense for the long term.
Second, make a play for either Chris Capuano or Anthony Reyes. They were both rumored to be on the trading block. Both pitchers have decent peripherals, and are young enough that they could have breakout seasons. I much prefer either of these options to signing a retread veteran like Livan Hernandez or Jon Leiber. It would boost the 2008 rotation, coddle the young arms by letting them ripen in the minors, yet also have the upside of being rotation stalwarts for the long term. I would prefer Capuano because he is left-handed and has had sustained success at the big level, but I would make a play for whichever one required less of a return in a trade. Damn this fear of trading within the division!
I would then have Bailey spend at least the first two months of 2008 refining his command in Louisville. If an emergency starter was needed with the big club, I would call Maloney up for that duty. Cueto I would keep in Louisville until the ASBreak, at which point I would bring him up to pitch out of the pen for the remainder of the year.
Finally, I would see if the O's would be willing to dump Ramon Hernandez's salary. If they would give him up for say, a prospect or two in our 10-20 range, I would jump at the opportunity. I would take the money that many have earmarked for a veteran pitcher (like Bedard, Hernandez, or Leiber) and put it towards Hernandez's contract, in which he'll make $8MM per in 2008 and 2009, with a team option for 2010. The O's may be open to dealing Hernandez because of their current rebuilding as well as the desire to clear the way for Matt Weiters.
Then, I would enter 2008 with a roster like this:
RF Griffey, Jr.
BN Ross or Valentin