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10/21/08 4:31 PM ET
Talks begin with potential free agents
Reds target bringing back Hairston, Weathers, Affeldt
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- The Reds are working to bring back some of their own free agents before they hit the open market, but have yet to make any significant progress. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty has already opened negotiations with the agents for reliever David Weathers and utility player Jerry Hairston Jr. "We've talked to them, and the ball is in their court right now," Jocketty said Tuesday morning from Arizona, where he is scouting the Fall League. "I haven't heard back from them in about a week." Weathers was 4-6 with a 3.25 ERA in 72 relief appearances this season. Two of his 15 inherited runners scored. Hairston batted .326 with six home runs, 36 RBIs and 15 stolen bases over 80 games. Efforts could also be made to retain reliever Jeremy Affeldt. "He's a guy we're still considering," Jocketty said. "It's hard to find good left-handed pitching." The Reds have nine players that can be free agents this winter. Others are reliever Mike Lincoln, catchers Javier Valentin and Paul Bako and pitcher Josh Fogg. Jocketty previously said that outfielder Corey Patterson would not be asked back. Reliever Kent Mercker indicated he is likely to retire. Players can begin to file for free agency for a 15-day period after the World Series ends. During that time, clubs retain exclusive negotiating rights until the filing window closes.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.