Righty-lefty be damned, the best thing the club could do without giving up any talent is overwhelm one of the most patient hitters in baseball with a three year deal for ridiculous amounts of money. Votto is the only player slated to start with a pulse when it comes to pitch selection. Placing Abreu in the middle of the order like the Great Wall of China seperating the windmills at the top from the seives thereafter would seem to be the only chance left to build some semblence of an offense without giving up talent. Since we all know that has virtually no chance of happening as long as the Cubs and Red Sox of this world require his services, maybe plan B could restore some hope...
Xavier Nady is a very solid middle of the order hitter that would fit perfectly between Bruce and Votto. So, we are rolling bones once that is done in hopes that his performance over the last couple years is not a mirage. I still like it much better than Homer and more to the Sox for Jermaine Dye. I would give up something of value for Nady.
Other names that may be available if there is gridlock on those... How about the penny pinching Padres sending us Scott Hairston to platoon with Chris Dickerson for Josh Roenicke? That guy could do some damage in a hitter's park like GAB. Or, and 90% of you are going to kick me in the head and I would too if I wasn't the guy bringing it up, how about Andruw Jones on the last gasp of breath in his career for Homer and half Jones' salary? The Dodgers are thin at starting pitching, and Jones would seem to be the ultimate lightning in a bottle candidate if he came in the ten million dollar range. HUGE risk, but potential for HUGE reward. Maybe he is not a centerfielder anymore, but left field could be much more to his liking. The guy has routinely averaged around 75 to 100 points higher in obp than he has in batting average throuhout his entire career.
If the Reds truly have around 10 mil to spend, it is past time to get creative about what to do with this offense. The starting pitching might be there for a breakout season, and the bullpen can arguably be very solid. But, this garbage about signing Hairston to play every day and the Baldelli buzz is unacceptable for a team that needs to be bold to move up in a very competitive division. I don't think there any ideal answers, but these are a few that I have been thinking of.