Reds hope to move soon on free agents
Talks ongoing with free agents Weathers, Lincoln and Hairston
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- The Winter Meetings are scheduled to begin on Monday in Las Vegas. The Reds are hoping its impending arrival could speed the progress of talks with three of their free agents.
General manager Walt Jocketty said on Wednesday that he is still holding talks with the representatives for relievers David Weathers and Mike Lincoln, and utility player Jerry Hairston Jr. Jocketty spoke with Weathers' agent, Dan Horwits, as recently as Tuesday.
"We're hoping to get something done this week before we get to Vegas," Jocketty said. "I'm not sure that will happen. It'd be helpful to have them in place before Vegas so we know where we stand."
Weathers is a Type B free agent who was offered arbitration on Monday and has yet to accept or decline. If he signs elsewhere, the Reds would get a sandwich Draft pick between the first and second rounds as compensation. Lincoln and Hairston were not Type A or B free agents and were not offered arbitration, but can still re-sign.
The Reds are also continuing their pursuit for left-handed relievers on the free agent market. Jocketty confirmed Monday's MLB.com story that an offer was made to veteran reliever Arthur Rhodes, but would not discuss the details.
"We're still waiting to hear back," Jocketty said. "There is a lot of competition for him."
Jocketty also acknowledged that he has held talks with the agent for lefty reliever Dennys Reyes, who was 3-0 with a 2.33 ERA in 75 appearances for the Twins last season.
There is also interest in left-hander Joe Beimel, but the Reds have yet to contact Beimel's agent. Jocketty said there has been no desire to take another look at Trever Miller after his potential signing with the Cardinals stalled. Type A free agent Darren Oliver is not in the picture anymore because he was offered arbitration by the Angels. It would cost Cincinnati a first-round Draft pick as compensation if it signed Oliver.
Earlier this week, Reds manager Dusty Baker told the Chicago Tribune that he wanted to talk with free agent reliever Kerry Wood about coming to the Reds. Don't expect that to happen, however.
"I think that was more about Dusty wanting to call as a friend, and as Wood's former manager [in Chicago]," Jocketty said. "We already have a closer [Francisco Cordero], and I don't see Wood accepting a different role."
Wood would also be expensive. He is believed to be seeking a three- or four-year contract and an eight-figure annual salary.
The Reds are still pursuing a right-handed bat on the trade market, most likely an outfielder. Moving third baseman Edwin Encarnacion to left field so the search can be expanded beyond outfielders doesn't appear to be an option at the moment.
"We haven't discussed it," Jocketty said. "We wouldn't be opposed to it. He's a good hitter and has a chance to improve. You'd want to keep his bat in the lineup. I still think he can be a good third baseman. Most of his errors are throwing, and it's a matter of improving his mechanics. If Edwin can end up an average defensive player and with his bat, you'd have a great player."