Reds' Hot Stove is cold for Christmas
Hairston deal still viable as team mulls other '09 moves
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI - Christmas is almost here but it doesn't appear that any new Reds acquisitions will be under the tree.
At least not this week.
Reds general manager Walt Jocketty is still talking to a plethora of free agents, however.
"I don't expect anything to happen until after Christmas," Jocketty said Tuesday while vacationing in Florida. "I'm still in touch with everyone but with everybody traveling for the holidays, not a lot will get done."
The Reds are still trying to re-sign free-agent infielder/outfielder Jerry Hairston Jr. and have an offer out. Other teams, possibly the Phillies and Mariners, are also vying for Hairston's services. The veteran planned to huddle with his agent, Casey Close, on Tuesday to explore the options.
"We're still interested and we're still talking," Jocketty said. "We hope to get something done. The fact [that] there are other teams has slowed it down a bit."
Talks are also still ongoing with center fielder/leadoff hitter Willy Taveras, who became a free agent on Dec. 12 after he was non-tendered by the Rockies.
The Reds also remain interested in outfielder Rocco Baldelli, but "haven't made a lot of progress," according to Jocketty.
There have been no talks opened yet with free agents Ty Wigginton and Aaron Miles. Nor has there been serious pursuit of one of the top players on the market, outfielder Pat Burrell, as the Reds continue to exercise patience.
"We're mainly watching to see how everything flows with the market," Jocketty said of Burrell.
In recent days, the Reds have signed reliever Aaron Fultz and outfielder Laynce Nix to Minor League contracts with big league Spring Training invites. Veteran lefty reliever Arthur Rhodes was signed to a two-year, $4 million contract on Dec. 12 and right-handed reliever Mike Lincoln was re-signed on Dec. 4 to the same terms.
Earlier in the offseason, Jocketty expressed an interest in free-agent lefty starter Mark Mulder, whom he had managed before while GM of the Cardinals. Despite having no experienced lefty starters, it now doesn't appear likely that Cincinnati will try to sign Mulder.
"Our pitching at this point is pretty deep," Jocketty said. "We're focused more on offense. The first four of our rotation is set and we've got a lot of competition for the fifth spot. Our priority is offense and defense."