Reds lying low early on at Winter Meetings

Reds lying low early on at Winter Meetings

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- All of the Reds executives were assembled in the team suite Monday at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, but the level of Winter Meetings activity would qualify as low.

"We've sitting around the room daydreaming about different possibilities, but not a lot of action yet," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said.

Not surprisingly, Jocketty has fielded some inquiries about first-base prospect Yonder Alonso. The Reds don't appear to be too interested in dealing Alonso at the moment.

That could be because first baseman and National League MVP Joey Votto's contract situation is still fluid.

"I think right now, Yonder is a guy that still figures in the organization," Jocketty said. "It gives us protection. He believes that he's working this winter to come in and compete for a spot on the bench next year to play some first and left field and be a left-handed hitter off the bench."

It's possible that Jocketty could meet with Votto's agent, Dan Lozano, this week, but no formal talks appear planned as of yet. Both are staying at the same hotel, yet it did not sound as though negotiations would advance into the serious stages with Votto or any of the other arbitration-eligible players on the roster.

"I don't see anything happening on any of that stuff here," Jocketty said.

Non-committal remarks last weekend from Votto about whether he wanted to remain with the Reds long term created some concern from fans. Reds manager Dusty Baker said he spoke to Votto at the airport on Sunday before both caught flights out of Cincinnati after Redsfest.

"He wants to stay, big time, and he didn't mean for it to come across like he didn't want to stay," Baker said. "He doesn't want to go anywhere. [It's] just that he didn't want to say that he wanted to stay for his whole life either."

In other developments, the Reds have held talks about re-signing utility infielder and free agent Miguel Cairo, and Jocketty was optimistic a deal could be reached during the week. It would be for a big league contract.

Talks were also planned for later Monday with the agent of free-agent lefty reliever Arthur Rhodes.

One of the biggest players to command speculation at the Winter Meetings is Royals ace Zack Greinke, who is rumored to be available in a trade. Some reports in recent weeks have linked the Reds to a potential deal, but in reality, there was nothing going on.

"I haven't had any discussions with them," Jocketty said of the Royals.

If the Reds do make any additions from outside of the organization, it could still be for a leadoff hitter. The club's 2010 leadoff hitters combined for a .306 on-base percentage. But at the same time, the Reds still led the NL in nearly every offensive category -- including most importantly, runs scored.

That lessens the pressure to find a guy for the top of the order.

"I think so. I think if we found the ideal guy we felt we could acquire without affecting the organization too much, we'd certainly pursue it," Jocketty said. "But if we don't, we've got some candidates -- the same ones we had last year probably."

That would be either Brandon Phillips or Drew Stubbs.

Besides Alonso, other clubs have inquired about many of the Reds' young players. The organization has the most depth in the rotation, which could have as many as nine pitchers vying for spots in Spring Training.

"It's a strength of our club and organization," Jocketty said. "You'd hate to start eroding our depth. There's not a lot we feel we have to do to improve. We certainly could improve. We're not going to do anything crazy. We're in position now where some of our young kids will just continue to get better and grow. That should hopefully make us better."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for 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.