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Reds likely to decline option, still want Cabrera

Reds likely to decline option, still want Cabrera

CINCINNATI -- All indications are that the Reds aren't likely to pick up shortstop Orlando Cabrera's $4 million mutual option. That doesn't necessarily mean Cabrera's stay in Cincinnati is ending after only one year.

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said he was interested in retaining the 35-year-old at a lower price.

"We're not sure. We'll probably know something later this week," Jocketty said Monday from the team's complex at Goodyear, Ariz.

If the club declines Cabrera's option, it will have to pay a $1 million buyout, but if Cabrera declines the option, the buyout is $500,000.

In February, Cabrera was signed to a one-year deal worth a total of $3.02 million. As he participated in the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years with his fifth different clubs, Cabrera was as advertised in terms of expected clubhouse leadership and solid defense.

Offensively, Cabrera took a step backward as he batted .263 with four home runs and a .303 on-base percentage. His 42 RBIs and 123 games were his lowest totals since he had 39 RBIs over 104 games with the Expos in 1999. He missed 27 games this season from Aug. 3-Sept. 3 with a strained left oblique muscle in his side.

If Cabrera isn't brought back, the Reds have true shortstop Paul Janish as a potential replacement. Further down the road, Zach Cozart is a top organizational prospect that finished his first season at Triple-A Louisville this year.

Catcher Ramon Hernandez had a $3.25 million vesting option for 2011 that would have been guaranteed with 120 games played. He played only 97 games while batting .297 with seven homers and 48 RBIs. That means he will likely be headed for free agency after the World Series.

"He's a guy we have interest in having back," Jocketty said.

Hernandez, 34, earned $3 million this season after he re-signed with Cincinnati in November.

The Reds also have a decision to make about left fielder Jonny Gomes, who has a $1.75 club option for 2011. If Gomes' option is declined, he would be released and become a free agent.

"We have interest in bringing him back also," Jocketty said of Gomes.

Gomes played a career-high 148 games this season and also set a personal high with 86 RBIs as he became the everyday left fielder this season. He batted .266 with 18 home runs.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Mark My Word and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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