Reds still looking for backup shortstop
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com | 01/20/12 11:09 PM EST
CINCINNATI -- The Reds have been busy upgrading at several spots the past month, and general manager Walt Jocketty revealed that he might not be done.
Finalized on Friday was the one-year contract for closer Ryan Madson. Still waiting to become official is the one-year deal with outfielder Ryan Ludwick. Last month, trades brought in starting pitcher Mat Latos and lefty setup man Sean Marshall.
The last item remaining on the offseason wish list is an extra infielder who can back up Zack Cozart at shortstop. To call the remaining free-agent market thin would be an understatement.
Jocketty is considering some trades rather than signing someone from the open market. He did not divulge who was being pursued.
"We're still talking to a couple of clubs," Jocketty said late Friday. "We'll know something by next week, hopefully. I don't think there's a lot of guys out there free agent-wise."
Of the free-agent shortstops, there's only Ryan Theriot, 38-year-old Miguel Tejada and 2011 Red Edgar Renteria, whom the club doesn't plan to bring back. In recent days, ex-Red Orlando Cabrera announced his retirement and Jack Wilson signed with the Braves.
Jocketty said that there had been some interest shown to Theriot.
"We've talked to him, had some conversations," Jocketty said.
Asked if he was optimistic something could get done, Jocketty responded, "Not today."
If the Reds sign no one and don't pull off a trade, Jocketty said he would be comfortable going with what they already have. That would mean the rookie Cozart and Paul Janish would be the team's shortstops, with Cozart on the inside track to start.
The Reds are also continuing to look at adding depth with possible Minor League contract offers.
Jocketty confirmed that starting pitcher Jeff Francis is someone getting such consideration. The left-handed Francis was 6-16 with a 4.82 ERA in 31 starts last season with the Royals. The 30-year-old was with the Rockies from 2004-10 and was a 17-game winner in 2007.
Cincinnati also has two arbitration cases pending with relievers Nick Masset and Jose Arredondo. The salary figures were exchanged Tuesday. Masset is seeking $2.9 million while the Reds offered $2.1 million. He made $1.825 million in 2011. Arredondo is seeking $875,000 while the club counteroffered at $725,000. He made $480,000 last season.
"We've had preliminary discussions," Jocketty said. "We hope to get them done before the hearings. I think they feel the same way."