Jocketty opens talks with Phillips' reps
Team also nearing deal with closer Cordero
NEW YORK -- The Reds have begun talks with the representatives for Brandon Phillips and could be closing on a deal with closer Francisco Cordero.General manager Walt Jocketty met with Phillips' agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, on Tuesday in New York to commence preliminary negotiations. "We kind of stated our position, and they stated theirs," Jocketty said. "We'll see if we can come up with a middle ground somewhere. If nothing [else], like we did with Bronson [Arroyo], we'll exercise the option and keep working on it." The Reds picked up Arroyo's $11 million option at the end of last season before reworking it as part of a three-year, $35 million contract extension that was signed in December. Phillips is at the end of a four-year, $27 million contract that carries a $12 million club option for 2012 (with a $1 million buyout). The 30-year-old wasn't shy about voicing his disappointment earlier this month that talks hadn't started. "I'm happy they are at least talking," Phillips said on Tuesday. "That was the best thing about it, just knowing they at least talked. It makes me feel better, even though it took them until the second-to-last game of the season. I'm just hoping something will get done, because this is where I want to be." Phillips, a two-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner, is on record as saying that he would not accept a hometown discount, and maintained he would like to get market value. "Hopefully they show me they want me to be here," he said. "I'm not trying to break the bank. I just want to be paid [like] the other second basemen in this game. I feel like I'm one of the best second basemen in this game. I just want to make sure I at least get seen as that, and I get paid for it also." As for Cordero, Jocketty believes that the Reds are close to a deal on what will likely be a two-year contract. As does Phillips, Cordero has a $12 million club option with a $1 million buyout. Jocketty and Cordero's agent, Bean Stringfellow, have been talking for several weeks. "We're just waiting more for them to get back to us," Jocketty said. "I'm more optimistic something will get done there in the near future, just because we've made more progress."
Reds Community Fund honored
NEW YORK -- During ceremonies at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, the Reds Community Fund (RCF) was given significant recognition for one of its youth baseball programs.The RCF is the recipient of the 2011 Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy, presented each year by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It was the RCF's Match Program, bringing together youth teams from the inner city and suburbs for interaction and friendly games, that drew the attention of the foundation. It's the second time in three years that a program from Cincinnati has been honored. The Marvin Lewis Community Fund won a Patterson Award in 2009. "This is an incredible honor for the Reds Community Fund and a testament to our ownership, management, board and staff," Charley Frank, the RCF's executive director, said in a statement. "In just a decade, we have created unique programs that improve the lives of youth through baseball and softball. We're proud of the fact that we've reconnected countless teams, coaches, kids and neighborhoods from all across the region to the game of baseball and the Reds franchise."