Bring Alonso to spring training and give him a legitimate shot to make the major league roster this year. I am relatively certain he THINKS he is ready. How long is the club going to have a rotation as good as this one? The window on that part of the team starts closing rapidly if we deal Arroyo for a hitter, or if Harang doesn't survive Dusty, or if any of a number of things start to erode that current "commodity". The stated possibility of our GM that Hairston could open the season as the left fielder is a humorless joke. Frankly, I don't care about Yonder Alonso's psyche or whether he can handle the gargantuan jump from college baseball to the majors. He gave up those considerations when he worked his deal with the Reds. He big leagued this team during negotiations after he was drafted, and got his big league contract. So, wouldn't it be fair to ask him to put up the type of performance to justify that money?
Miguel Cabrera made this type of jump. Junior did it at a much earlier age. Hanley Ramirez. Barry Bonds. GREAT players, yes. But, Alonso negotiated as if he deserved to eat at the same table as these guys. In fact, I think he DID eat at the same table as Alex Rodriguez when pondering the Reds generous offer.
And so, we need him to "put up" in extraordinary fashion. Having a breakthrough season by a hitter of his reported calibre would be better than anything that is available on the free agent market, or trade. Keep our pitching and add what we can between here and opening day, but give Votto a left fielder's glove and try to get the best lineup we can on the field right now. The window is already closing before it even opened for this team to compete.
A small market team in this financial climate seems to need the absurd and impossible to happen to win. As absurd as it seems, I would give Yonder a chance to play on this team right now.