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Reds have work to do with four arbitration cases

With three signed, Bailey, Latos, Leake and Choo remain as hearings approach

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CINCINNATI -- Three down, four to go. That's where the Reds stand in their efforts to clear the deck of arbitration cases before hearings begin.

Reliever Logan Ondrusek signed a two-year contract on Jan. 17, while outfielder Chris Heisey and reliever Alfredo Simon inked one-year deals on Thursday.

That leaves starting pitchers Homer Bailey, Mat Latos and Mike Leake and outfielder Shin-Soo Choo still to be signed. Going to a hearing remains a large possibility.

"I'm not any more optimistic, really, today," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said on Friday. "We haven't made a lot of progress."

Arbitration hearings league-wide begin on Monday and run through Feb. 20. The Reds were not revealing their specific scheduled hearing dates.

"We still have a couple of weeks," Jocketty said.

When numbers were exchanged earlier this month, the biggest gaps were with Choo and Bailey.

Choo filed for $8 million, and the club countered at $6.75 million for a difference of $1.25 million. Bailey filed at $5.8 million, while the club offered $4.75 million -- a difference of $1.05 million. He avoided arbitration last winter by signing a one-year, $2.5 million contract.

Latos filed for $4.7 million, while the club's offer was $4.15 million -- a separation of $550,000. Leake is seeking $3.5 million, and the Reds offered $2.65 million -- a split of $850,000.

The Reds discussed multi-year deals with Bailey and Latos but haven't gotten very far as of yet.

If the cases go to a hearing, the arbitrator's rulings are binding, as the player is automatically signed to a one-year contract at the ruled amount. Negotiations can and will continue right up to the last minute, if needed.

The Reds have not faced an arbitration hearing with one of their players since winning against reliever Chris Reitsma in 2004.

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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