December 2011

Just left the Reds suite

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty admitted things were “pretty slow” so far on Tuesday at the Winter Meetings. I will have more later on MLB.com on some of the developments but here is a quick update.

*There have been no talks yet with the agents for Brandon Phillips.

*There is still a search for trading/acquiring a closer but the priority is still starting pitching.

“I got the sense a lot of clubs are looking for the same thing we’re looking for,” Jocketty said of the starting pitcher search.

*When asked about possible free agent veteran shortstops, Jocketty revealed it’s unlikely Edgar Renteria would be returning.

“They contacted me,” Jocketty said. “Probably not. He did a nice job for us. I’d love to find someone a little more versatile for Dusty.”

Like Renteria, free agent Bill Hall is also not an option. The club has not contacted or discussed him.

Check back later if there’s more developments.

It’s Tuesday

 I would love to share lots and lots of Reds scoop for you from Tuesday the Winter Meetings, but so far I have very little.

The Denver Post along with my Denver colleague at MLB.com, Thomas Harding, heard the Rockies are interested in RHP Edinson Volquez in a possible trade for Huston Street. Because of the money Street makes, $8 million next season, that would be a tough match to make a trade. I will keep you posted if I hear anything.

When I head up to the Reds’ suite, I’m expected some sort of update on Brandon Phillips. I’d imagine Walt Jocketty has had a chance to meet with Phillips’ agents.

The most exciting thing today, if you can call it exciting, was watching over a dozen reporters and photographers and TV people following the Marlins owner and executives through the lobby like  paparazzi following the Kardashians through the lobby. They apparently had left a meeting with Albert Pujols’ people and were headed back to the suite. No comments were given.

Until next time, stay tuned…

Moderate interest in Willingham

So far, it’s been pretty quiet for the Reds on Monday at the Winter Meetings — at least in terms of moves.

“We’ve been busy though,” Reds GM Walt Jocketty said. “We’ve talked to several clubs. Nothing is close but at least I feel like things are moving in the right direction here. Hopefully before the week is over, we’ll be able to do something.”

*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,” 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.

Monday at the meetings

 Even though I already had a small amount of news last night with Jim Riggleman’s pending hire, this is my welcome to you from the Winter Meetings in Dallas.

It’s a cornucopia of baseball folk here already, especially reporters and front office executives, here at the Hilton Anatole hotel. I will be essentially locked in here over the next four days and if this is similar to past meetings I’ve attended, I breathe fresh outdoor air about once the whole week. That means I will only see natural light probably once, since I have a hotel room here without a window. This might not be the worst thing ever, since it’s in the low-to-mid 30′s in Dallas today with a forecast of mixed rain/snow. It will be chilly all week, in fact. The last time the meetings were here, in 2005 I think, there was an ice storm that paralyzed the city. I was not staying at this meetings hotel so getting back to my hotel was quite an adventure I recall.

I’ve seen Walt Jocketty and his crew here Sunday night and I know there is a planned meeting with Brandon Phillips’ agents at some time today. Dusty Baker speaks to reporters at 2:30 pm CT today.

The meetings are already off to a hot start with last night’s signing of SS Jose Reyes to the Marlins for six years and $106 million. Stay tuned and we’ll see what else shakes out.

Riggleman to Pensacola

Greetings from Dallas: The Reds and their new Double-A affiliate in Pensacola appear to be close to announcing the hire of Jim Riggleman as that team’s new manager.

Two baseball sources confirmed to MLB.com that Riggleman will be the man for the job with the Southern League team but the details of the deal were still being worked out.

The Washington Post broke the story.

The Reds have not made any announcement, and have an organizational policy to let its Minor League affiliates reveal their own coaching staffs.

This would be Riggleman’s first on-field job since his stunning decision last June to resign as the manager of the Nationals big league club over displeasure with his contract situation.. At the time of his departure, Washington had won 11 of 12 games. From 2009-11, Riggleman had a 140-172 record.

After his departure from the Nationals, Riggleman worked as a scout for the Giants.

Riggleman and Reds general manager Walt Jocketty have a history together. Riggleman served as the Minor League field coordinator for the Cardinals while Jocketty was that team’s GM.

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