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11/20/08 9:41 PM EST
Reds focused on acquiring bullpen help
Need left-handed reliever as a result of Affeldt going to Giants
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- As expected, following free-agent left-handed reliever Jeremy Affeldt's departure earlier this week, the Reds have increased their efforts to get more bullpen help.
"Ideally, we'd like to acquire another left-hander," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said on Thursday night.
Jocketty said Cincinnati had interest in lefty reliever Trever Miller, who appeared close to signing a two-year deal with the Cardinals. That signing has reportedly been held up, however.
"We looked at Trever Miller and thought about it," Jocketty said. "But we didn't want to go for the amount it was going to cost to have what is basically a situational left-hander."
There are other veteran left-handed free agents still out there -- including Arthur Rhodes, Will Ohman, Darren Oliver, Dennys Reyes and Joe Beimel. Jocketty indicated the Reds would take a closer look at all of them.
Affeldt signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the Giants. The Reds currently have Bill Bray as their only lefty in the bullpen with significant experience.
"Left-handed relief is tough to find and the market is a little inflated," Jocketty said. "We'll see if it comes down."
As for Reds free agents, there have been talks this week with relievers David Weathers and Mike Lincoln. Negotiations also continued on Thursday with Jerry Hairston Jr.
The search continues for a right-handed-hitting run producer for left field. At this stage, the hopes of any fan that the Reds go after free agent Pat Burrell should begin to fade.
"I'm looking to see what we can go after in trades first," Jocketty said. "He might be a little out of our price range."
The Reds have been more focused on trades than getting serious on the free-agent market. Cincinnati was one of the teams that wanted to trade for center fielder Coco Crisp, but the Red Sox dealt him to the Royals on Wednesday for reliever Ramon Ramirez, who has more experience than any of the players the Reds were offering.
"A lot of clubs have been calling, especially the last couple of days," Jocketty said. "I think a lot more clubs are looking for trades. Prices seem to be too high for free agents. I believe people are trying to protect what dollars they have to spend."