Feel free to comment and correct me if I messed up with these. I believe that all I listed are free agents, or are currently believed to be on the trading block.
I'm really happy with where the Reds are as of right now. I think that they have the young players, and established veterans to win now, and in the future. We have an average payroll, with room to expand should the need arise. We also have a manager who has an ability to manage without the players questioning his credentials. For now, however, we need to take a deep breath, and think about what moves we can make today, to sure up the future of this ballclub.
First off, I hope the Reds can find a way to sign Hairston to a short-term, incentive-based contract.
For one, I believe that we need a veteran hitter. No, it doesn't need to be Jermaine Dye, or Rafael Furcal. It needs to be somebody that's not on everyone's radar, but can lead this team when the going gets tough. Ty Wigginton is one of my favorites. Sure, he's not your prototypical hitter, but he is very under-valued, and could be had at a good price. Another name is Rocco Baldelli. I recently read that his condition may have been a mis-diagnosis, and might be more treatable than previously percieved. If true, he is easily worth a look. His potential, and early success are hard to turn away from. He's one that makes you wonder what might have been. Both not a type a or b free agents, and wouldn't require draft pick compensation.
I also have a list of players that will require draft compensation, though some may not, being that the Reds have a top 15 pick, which can't be lost by signing a free agent. My first is Bobby Abreu. He is a type A, and I believe that the Yanks would be re-paid in the form of a sandwich pick. He was under-valued by teams outside of New York. He's really a guy that takes lots of pitches, and would be a great two hitter for this team.
Jonny Gomes- Gomes really intrigues me. I wouldn't come even close to entertaining him as a starting player. If he were to possibly platoon in the outfield, or come off the bench, that would be preferable. He could be had cheap, and is not an A or B free agent. He's young, only 28. His HR/AB ratio is very good. He could add some pop off the bench.
Richie Sexson- He could be a good insurance policy, if we don't bring Hairston back.. He is not the stud he used to be, but he can provide solid production. He has really fallen off the map, though at only 34, he wouldn't be a bad risk. We may be able to get a couple years out of him at his old production. I would love to have a veteran with a .500 slugging percentage to come off the bench, or play first when needed.
Another route worth exploring is the wide world of trades. There are plenty of names being dangled out there right now. Don't expect the Reds to go for big names like Peavy. Peavy would be huge for this team, but his contract is too pricey for a team like the Reds to spend on, especially if they want to keep the likes of Cueto, Votto, Bruce, or Volquez.
Zack Greinke is a name I really like. The Royals seem to be hesitant about possibly trading him, but if he can be had at a good price, he's worth it. Last year, he was one of the best pitchers in the American league. He posted over 200 innings, with a sub 3.5 ERA. He's still a risk, due to past problems, including injuries. Still, I wouldn't mind seeing a trade for him, maybe a package deal including Stubbs, or Bailey.
Another name I'll throw out is Jeff Francoeur. He plays solid defense in right, and has the best, if not one of the best arms in the game. Jeff has solid power numbers, but his average is a big down. I imagine he could be a hard target to get, but with him and Bruce in the outfield, that clears up a lot of the lack of mobility and defense we had last year. Bruce was statistically one of the worst outfielders defensivly in the game last year, and I hope that another year of practice helps sure up his defense.
I'll go ahead and throw out the name everyone else is aswell. You guessed it, Jermaine Dye. Dye is a good player, don't get me wrong. He has had a solid career, and really burst onto the scene with his World Series MVP award a few years ago. With a small outfield at GABP, he would have a lot less ground to cover. From what I have seen, he is solid defensivly as a right fielder, on balls that come his direction. I was pleased when I heard that he was traded for Bailey, because I think that he could mean more to the Reds chances this coming year than Homer does.
Not all of these moves are great ones. I really intend this post as a means of getting some discussion going, and giving other posters a broad perspective of my views of this offseason. It has been very dull to say the least. I want to see the Reds make these moves because I believe we are on the doorstep. Last season, I saw a team that was a player or two away from breaking out. That player doesn't have to be Albert Pujols. I think that if we can get a couple more players to give us solid contributions, we can make 2009 a playoff season for the Cincinnati Reds.