As they convene for the annual Winter Meetings, the Reds will use their time to try and upgrade their pitching staff.
They've already gotten big bullpen help in Francisco Cordero, but a proven starting pitcher would be a nice addition, too. Ownership appears more than willing to bend on payroll, and you can expect general manager Wayne Krivsky to be exploring trades.
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2007 finish: 72-90, fifth place, NL Central.
Deals so far: Signed RHP Cordero to a four-year, $46 million contract with a $12 million club option for 2012; exercised $13 million 2008 club option on OF Adam Dunn; exercised $1.85 million option on 1B Scott Hatteberg; exercised $1.35 million club option on C Javier Valentin; declined $3.5 million option on LHP Eddie Guardado.
Players eligible for arbitration:
2B Brandon Phillips, IF Jorge Cantu, RHP Matt Belisle.
Free agents: LHP Eric Milton, Guardado.
Needs: The Reds need a veteran starting pitcher who can take the No. 3 or 4 spot and support ace Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, and still-refining prospect Homer Bailey. Even with Cordero in the fold, the bullpen could still get some tinkering.
Dealing strengths: With the emergence of Jeff Keppinger in a super-utility role, OF/IF Ryan Freel and his two-year, $7 million contract could be available. The Reds are also deep at first base, which could make a quality hitter and person like Hatteberg and his low salary attractive. There is also outfield depth, but a clause in Dunn's deal has a no-trade clause until June. Ken Griffey Jr. has full no-trade protection and would have to approve any deal. Clubs likely will come calling for top prospects like Jay Bruce, Bailey, Johnny Cueto or Joey Votto but not get very far in talks.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.