Reds eyeing free agents Carroll, Lowry
Jocketty confirms club's interest in infielder, left-hander
CINCINNATI -- Although the Reds are working on a budget and are not expected to make a huge splash at the Winter Meetings, general manager Walt Jocketty is still optimistic something would get done."I'd say I'm hopeful that something will happen," Jocketty said on Saturday at Redsfest. "It makes the week a lot more fun."
Jocketty confirmed that his club had interest in a pair of free agents -- infielder Jamey Carroll and left-handed pitcher Noah Lowry."We haven't discussed him at length," Jocketty said of Carroll. "He's gutty and a tough player, a gamer-type of guy that's hard-nosed." Carroll spent the past two seasons with the Indians and batted .276 with two homers and 24 RBIs. He's a lifetime .273 hitter with a .351 on-base percentage since 2002 with the Expos/Nationals, Rockies and Cleveland. Although he didn't play there the past two seasons, Jocketty indicated that he was looking at Carroll as a possible choice for shortstop, where Paul Janish currently is stationed. Carroll played second base, third base and both corner outfield spots in a utility role for Cleveland. But that doesn't mean the Reds are souring on Janish, although they've made their interest in adding someone there known. "If there was somebody that stands out as a good defensive player and a better offensive player, we'd have to be interested," Jocketty said. "But both Dusty and I would be happy with Janish as our shortstop, because defense is so key." Lowry spent five seasons with the Giants but has not pitched since 2007 because of multiple injuries, including a forearm issue that required surgery. In '09, he had a rib removed to relieve soreness in his shoulder and neck brought on by a condition called thoracic outlet syndrome. In his career with San Francisco, Lowry was 40-31 with a 4.03 ERA in 106 games, including 100 starts. He is reportedly healthy, although the Giants bought out his $6.25 million club option for 2010. Jocketty is still looking to negotiate with the agents for arbitration-eligible outfielder Jonny Gomes. There is a Dec. 12 deadline to tender a contract offer. "I haven't had a chance to connect with his agent," Jocketty said. "He's been busy with their free agents." The Reds could have payroll flexibility issues during the winter. Over $64 million is already committed to nine players and the team still has to account for raises and potential arbitration cases for Gomes, Nick Masset and Jared Burton. On Friday, Reds manager Dusty Baker said it had been rather quiet on the Reds Hot Stove front. "There's not much of anything really going on," Baker said. "This is what we're trying to do. We're trying to be creative. We're trying to do whatever we can to keep this team together. We feel that we're close. "There are a lot of teams that are trying to figure out this payroll and budget stuff at the same time in this economy. They're interested in this guy and that guy but they want you to carry his salary while he's playing for somebody else. You're paying him to beat you."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.