The Reds' tango with Rich Aurilia this offseason is sounding a lot like last year's.
Aurilia and the Reds have a mutual option, as they did last year. Aurilia wants an everyday spot in the lineup, as he did last year. The Reds don't sound ready to commit to that, as they weren't last year.
Last year, the Reds and Aurilia kept dancing until Jan. 8 - the last day they could sign him.
One big difference is Wayne Krivsky now is the general manager. He may not want to prolong the negotiations like Dan O'Brien did.
"You'd like to have an answer one way or another for planning purposes," Krivsky said.
The $2 million mutual option must be exercised within 10 days of the end of the World Series.
Last year, both sides agreed not to exercise the option. But the Reds offered Aurilia arbitration. He rejected it. That allowed Aurilia to speak with other teams, while keeping open the possibility of returning to the Reds.
It sounds like Aurilia would like to do that again.
"In the back of Richie's mind he's always thinking: Do I have a position?" his agent, Barry Axelrod, said. "He's pondering that. It's not a fatal thing."
For the Reds to offer Aurilia an everyday spot, they likely would move Brandon Phillips to shortstop and start Aurilia at second base.
Krivsky would not even say if the Reds want to exercise the option.
"I can't talk about that," Krivsky said.
The Reds ended up being the only club to promise Aurilia substantial playing time, and he ended up signing for $1.3 million.
He responded with a fantastic year. He hit .300 with 23 home runs and 70 RBI. He started 37 games at first base, four games at second, 39 at third, 25 at shortstop and one at designated hitter.
"He had no complaint about his playing time," Axelrod said. "It was uncertainty of where he was going to play."
Aurilia and manager Jerry Narron had words late in the season, Axelrod said, after Aurilia came in expecting to start one day and was not in the lineup.
"There was a moment of confusion," Axelrod said. "It was the kind of thing that happens all the time in club- houses that no one knows about. It was a silly misunderstanding. It won't affect anything."