There is a CBSSports.com report that the Reds are in the serious stage of talks with free agent closer Ryan Madson, even saying that things were “heating up.”
A source told MLB.com on Tuesday night that the club has contacted almost every player on the market at one time or another. The source downplayed the report on Madson, saying it was unlikely unless Madson’s agent — Scott Boras — came well off the demand of a four-year, $44 million contract he had been reportedly wanted.
The Reds have maintained talks with the other free agent closer on the market — Francisco Cordero. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said last week that the offer for Cordero would be for no more than one guaranteed year.
– Mark Sheldon
The Reds made official Wednesday the signing of RHP Andrew Brackman.It is a one-year Major League contract and terms were not immediately known.
Although Brackman was once a first-round Draft pick of the Yankees in 2007, he’s known best locally as being a product of Cincinnati and Moeller High School.
Signed by New York to a four-year, $3.35 million Major League contract out of North Carolina State, Brackman’s selection came with risk since the club knew he would promptly require Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.
In three Minor League seasons, Brackman was 15-29 with a 5.11 ERA. Brackman spent most of 2011 with Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre but pitched three games in relief for New York in September — all were scoreless appearances. The Yankees declined Brackman’s 2012 option after the season.
– Mark Sheldon
There could be some movement, one way or another, in the next few days on free agent closer Francisco Cordero. The Reds are still in the running.
“We’re still talking with [Cincinnati] and a couple of other clubs,” Cordero’s agent, Bean Stringfellow, said on Tuesday. “We’re making progress on a lot of fronts. Multi-year contracts are definitely involved.
“The Reds are involved and are still interested in bringing him back. I am talking with them on a regular basis.”
Stringfellow declined to detail the specific numbers being bandied about with the Reds in negotiations. It seemed like he was optimistic about where talks were going with the different clubs and that a deal was possible.
“It could be today or 10 days from now. I don’t know,” Stringfellow said. “I do know that we’re closer now than we’ve been. I don’t think it will carry on too much longer.”
– Mark Sheldon
The Reds appeared close Wednesday to completing a trade that would land left-handed reliever Sean Marshall from the Cubs in exchange for young lefty starter Travis Wood and two Minor Leaguers.
According to ESPNChicago.com, the deal was agreed to pending physicals. A source confirmed the Reds’ interest in Marshall to MLB.com, but did not expect the trade to be consummated on Wednesday.
Cincinnati currently has a vacancy for the closer’s role, but are looking at Marshall as a lefty set-up man.
– Mark Sheldon
It’s been a slow week for the Reds, especially in their efforts to nab a starting pitcher in a trade. General manager Walt Jocketty said Wednesday has had some meetings about trades, including with the Rays.
“I’ve talked to them several times,” Jocketty said. “I don’t think we’re close to anything.”
Jocketty did not divulge who was discussed. I can imagine James Shields had to have been one of the teams from the Rays’ end.
*Further down the list has been a search for a right-handed hitting left fielder. There has been thought given to adding free agent OF Cody Ross, who had a very brief stint with the Reds in 2006.
“We kicked it around,” Jocketty said. “I saw his agent around in the lobby. He said he’d be interested in coming back. I told him we’d discuss it and we did. We have some other things to do first.
*When asked about OF Dmitri Young, who has been in Dallas seeking a job and comeback, Jocketty said he would consider it. He liked him when he had Young in St. Louis.
– Mark Sheldon
The Reds appear to have moderate interest in free agent OF Josh Willingham, who last played for the A’s and hit 29 homers last season mainly at a pitcher’s park like Oakland.
“I wouldn’t say it’s on the front burner,” Reds GM Walt Jocketty said of the Willingham pursuit. “It’s simmering on the back burner, if that. We are trying to find a right-handed hitter. I guess Willingham fits in that category.”
The Reds have more pressing needs on their list, but a right-handed hitting left fielder is something the club would like to add.
“It’s a logical place right now. We may end up going with Heisey and Alonso,” Jocketty said.
*There has been no talks yet with Brandon Phillips’ people. They did not arrive to town until today.
*One roster move was made — Jeremy Horst cleared waivers and was sent outright to Triple-A Louisville. Horst will be invited to Spring Training. The 40-man roster is at 39 players.
– Mark Sheldon
Veteran infielder Eric Chavez has decided to play in 2012 and remains interested in a return engagement with the Yankees, among other clubs that have drawn his attention.
The Yankees enjoyed having Chavez as a reserve corner infielder, backing up both Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira in 2011.
– Bryan Hoch
Reds 2B Brandon Phillips hinted Tuesday night that he and the club are closer to a long-term contract extension.
“Just talked to my agent @Baseball_ACES and it feels good to know that we’re moving in the right direction to make me a #Red4Life,” Phillips posted on his Twitter feed, @datdudeBP
On October 31, the Reds exercised Phillips’ $12 million option for 2012, but he has long maintained a desire to sign long term this year. He can become a free agent for the first time after next season.
A message for comment was left for Reds general manager Walt Jocketty. As recently as Nov. 17 following the General Managers Meetings, Jocketty told MLB.com that there had been progress in talks with Phillips’ agents, but that the two sides were nowhere close to a deal.
UPDATE: When reached, Jocketty didn’t expect that a deal was near.
“I think it’s still a ways to go,” Jocketty said. “We’re still hopeful to get something done. We’re glad he feels that way.”
— Mark Sheldon
This morning, Buster Olney of ESPN noted with a Tweet the following:
“Reds are talking about possible Andrew Bailey deal.”
There is no mention of where this information is coming from.
Former Reds GM and current baseball analyst for SiriusXM and ESPN, Jim Bowden, tweeted his info from an A’s source:
“A’s source confirms their interest in Alonso.”
Of course, that is Reds 1B/LF Yonder Alonso, who is viewed as the club’s top trading chip or part of the long term future depending on who you ask. I would have no doubt that the A’s (or any club) might have interest in getting Alonso.
My view: This is not a match. Giving up Alonso for Bailey is way too much. The Reds have other more pressing needs than for a closer at the moment, namely a starting pitcher. There are a lot of closers available on the open market that might be had for cheap and the door is certainly not closed on Francisco Cordero returning. Bailey is a two-time All-Star and former AL Rookie of the Year but injuries got in the way in late 2010 and early 2011.
But if you want more info on Bailey (no relation to Homer Bailey), click here.
– Mark Sheldon
Once he declares residency in the Domnican Republic and becomes eligible for Major League free agency, Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes figures to be one of the most sought-out position players on the market.
Agent Adam Katz is confident that his client is ready to play in the Major Leagues this season.
“I’m not an evaluator, but I’m told by people who evaluate, he is [big league ready],” said Katz from baseball’s General Managers meetings.
Even Katz admitted it’s hard to know quite what the value will be for Cespedes.
“It’s really touchy feely,” Katz said. “He’s an unusual guy. He’s 26. He’s major league ready. People are going to be evaluate. A value will be established. People will bid competitively, and it will be what it will be.”
While Katz sees his client as a center fielder, he would be willing to play the corner positions, something that would help a team like the Boston Red Sox, who have a vacancy in right field.
The Red Sox will look at Cespedes later this week in the Dominican Republic. The Cubs are also scouting him this week. Several other teams have also expressed interest in Cespedes, who has become a bit of a sensation since the posting of a highlight video on Youtube.
“I’ve never seen anything quite like it since ‘Spinal Tap,’” Katz said. “At the end of the day, it was compelling. As quirky as it was, it ended up being very compelling.”
– Ian Browne