Reds strive to retain own players

The SportsXchange

The Cincinnati Reds are going to have right-hander Homer Bailey for at least the next six years.

Multiple outlets reported on Wednesday he agreed to a six-year, $105 million deal, avoiding arbitration.

Bailey indicated that deal was done, but he declined to talk about it until it is officially announced.

"Let's just wait until (Thursday)," he said.

Bailey, 27, was in his third year of arbitration eligibility. The sides were set to go to a hearing Thursday in Tampa. The Reds have offered $8.7 million and Bailey countered at $11.6 million.

Bailey went 11-12 with a 3.49 ERA last year. He is 49-45 with a 4.25 ERA in his career with the Reds. He was the club's No. 1 draft pick in 2004. BAiley has increased his innings and strikeouts and lowered his ERA each of the last four years.

Bailey is one of four starters in rotation who came into the season on verge of free agency.

Mat Latos and Mike Leake both will be eligible for arbitration for the third time after this season and will become free agents if they do not sign long-term. In addition, Johnny Cueto is in the final year of his contract.

"We like to whenever possible retain our own players, guys we drafted and developed and excelled in this organization," general manager Walt Jocketty said. "We like to reward them and keep them part of the organization. Unfortunately, we can't keep everybody."

NOTES, QUOTES

--LHP Sean Marshall is full-go, but the Reds will take it slow with him after his shoulder problems last year. "Not that we're concerned because he finished the year healthy -- but you want to be sure he's fully strong, that the strength in the shoulder is good,' Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He had a little more conservative throwing program this offseason.

--2B Brandon Phillips, subject of trade rumors all offseason, refused to take the media on the days positions players reported. "I'm just here to play," he said to a team's spokesman.

--RHP Mat Latos, who had knee surgery the first day of camp, is progressing nicely. "He's doing good," general manager Walt Jocketty said. "He'll be fine."

--INF Henry Rodriguez, who was designated for assignment to make room on the roster Brett Marshall, cleared waivers and was signed to minor league deal.

--RF Jay Bruce is going to hit cleanup against right-handers this year. "I think Jay is that prototype No. 4 hitter," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He's continuing to get better. So putting him in a position to drive in runs and getting him another several at-bats over the course of the season and in run-scoring opportunities hitting behind a guy who gets on base a lot in Joey. It's not the worst thing. There are worse lineups out there than having Joey and Jay hitting three-four. That being said, against a left-handed starter, in probability, (Ryan Lduwick) would hit fourth."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's his time. It's his time to run with the opportunity. He's earned this opportunity. This isn't just based on projection and potential. We feel like growth Devin made last year suggested he was ready to take on more significant role. His ability to lead, his ability to prepare and take that to pitchers has really improved." -- Reds manager Bryan Price on catcher Devin Mesoraco.
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