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11/12/08 3:45 PM EST
Weathers: Time to 'turn page'
Free-agent reliever believes he won't return to Reds next season
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Veteran reliever and free agent David Weathers is pretty convinced that his days with the Reds are over.
"As far as I'm concerned, I've flipped the page," Weathers told MLB.com on Wednesday.
Since the end of the season, the Reds and general manager Walt Jocketty have had some talks with Dan Horwits, Weathers' agent. Nothing has progressed to the serious stages, and Weathers said no offers have been made.
Therefore, the right-handed Weathers is looking elsewhere.
"I don't anticipate anything with Cincinnati," Weathers said. "They haven't called but once or twice. The way we are looking at it, we're moving on. A lot teams have called looking to talk, but we haven't been allowed to talk about numbers. I look forward to Friday."
Thursday is the final day of the exclusive negotiating period teams have with their own free agents. On Friday, the market goes wide open and players can negotiate with any team they wish.
"We talked a couple of times last month," Horwits said. "They had thoughts that they were interested. But the next conversation has never taken place."
Reds general manager Walt Jocketty indicated the club still wanted to keep Weathers.
"I told his agent that we have interest, and that's where we left it," Jocketty said. "They didn't give me a lot of direction. I still plan to talk with them this week."
Weathers has been the Reds' most dependable reliever the past two seasons. A key setup man in the eighth inning this past season, the 39-year-old went 4-6 with a 3.25 ERA over 72 relief appearances. It was his sixth straight season with at least 70 games pitched.
Two of Weathers' 15 inherited runners scored on him in 2008. He had a 2.45 ERA over his final 36 appearances. In '07, as Cincinnati's closer, he saved 33 games but lost the role when free agent Francisco Cordero was signed last offseason.
If Weathers departs, it might become more crucial for the Reds to re-sign their two other veteran free-agent relievers -- Mike Lincoln and lefty Jeremy Affeldt. Jared Burton is the only dependable right-handed setup man currently on the Reds' roster.
This past season was the final year of Weathers' two-year, $5 million contract. Because of family concerns, he took less than he may have received elsewhere to remain with the Reds, in part because his hometown of Loretto, Tenn., is only a five-hour drive from Cincinnati.
"The last time, I wanted to come back there really bad. I made a lot of sacrifices to come back," Weathers said. "I've already prepared my family. They know things will be different. They think it's kind of cool.
"I know Walt has a team to run, so there are no hard feelings. You just hope when someone tells you something, they stick with their word. I know Walt has a history of being a good GM and a good person. Maybe the economics of the country has affected things. Who knows? It would blow me away if anything got done with the Reds."
Jocketty confirmed that the downturn of the national economy has made it tougher to gauge the market.
"I haven't gotten a handle on it yet, and I don't think anyone else has," Jocketty said. "We're not sure what the market will be for these guys."
Weathers did not reveal what kind of contract he is seeking. Among veteran relievers, LaTroy Hawkins was the first to sign when he re-upped with the Astros on Friday for one year at $3.5 million, plus incentives.
In the Major Leagues since 1991, Weathers has pitched with nine clubs, including two tours with the Reds, in 1998 and 2005-08. Lifetime, he is 68-82 with a 4.27 ERA.
Should the Reds make another call, Weathers wasn't very optimistic he would listen to any offers.
"If they want me, they'd have made an effort by now, which hasn't happened," he said. "I've been in the game long enough to know when to turn the page. It seems to be about that time."