NEW YORK -- The Reds have begun talks with the representatives for Brandon Phillips and could be closing on a deal with closer Francisco Cordero. General manager Walt Jocketty met with Phillips' agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, on Tuesday in New York to commence preliminary negotiations. "We kind of stated our position, and they stated theirs," Jocketty said. "We'll see if we can come up with a middle ground somewhere. If nothing [else], like we did with Bronson [Arroyo], we'll exercise the option and keep working on it."
The Reds picked up Arroyo's $11 million option at the end of last season before reworking it as part of a three-year, $35 million contract extension that was signed in December. Phillips is at the end of a four-year, $27 million contract that carries a $12 million club option for 2012 (with a $1 million buyout). The 30-year-old wasn't shy about voicing his disappointment earlier this month that talks hadn't started. "I'm happy they are at least talking," Phillips said on Tuesday. "That was the best thing about it, just knowing they at least talked. It makes me feel better, even though it took them until the second-to-last game of the season. I'm just hoping something will get done, because this is where I want to be." Phillips, a two-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner, is on record as saying that he would not accept a hometown discount, and maintained he would like to get market value. "Hopefully they show me they want me to be here," he said. "I'm not trying to break the bank. I just want to be paid [like] the other second basemen in this game. I feel like I'm one of the best second basemen in this game. I just want to make sure I at least get seen as that, and I get paid for it also." As for Cordero, Jocketty believes that the Reds are close to a deal on what will likely be a two-year contract. As does Phillips, Cordero has a $12 million club option with a $1 million buyout. Jocketty and Cordero's agent, Bean Stringfellow, have been talking for several weeks. "We're just waiting more for them to get back to us," Jocketty said. "I'm more optimistic something will get done there in the near future, just because we've made more progress."