7:12 p.m., from Jerry Crasnick
• The Reds need pitching, but they don’t have a lot of money left after signing closer Francisco Cordero to a five-year deal. So Cincinnati is talking trade with a bunch of teams here in Nashville and using some of its young position players as bait for a starter. Jay Bruce is out of the question, and Joey Votto would be tough to get, but the Reds are listening on third baseman Edwin Encarnacion and center fielder Josh Hamilton. The Cubs are a natural fit for Hamilton, but Sean Marshall isn’t likely to get it done. One possible fit for Encarnacion: the Giants, who may need a third baseman if incumbent Pedro Feliz declines the team’s salary arbitration offer.
Maybe I’m missing something, but I like Marshall. And you’re going to have to give up something to get something.
6:16 p.m., Jayson Stark
• The Reds have asked the Marlins about Dontrelle Willis. But a deal between those two teams is unlikely. The Marlins are still placing a high price tag on Willis, so they no doubt would ask the Reds for their best young pitcher, Homer Bailey, plus one more player. And the Reds have little interest in moving Bailey. One baseball man who spoke to the Reds described their interest as “tire kicking.”
Bailey AND another player…they must be smokin’ crack.
More on a possible Hamilton/Marshall deal:
But the Cubs have talked to Cincinnati, sources said, about 26-year-old outfielder Josh Hamilton, the reformed drug addict who hit .292 in 90 games with 19 home runs and 47 RBIs in his first major-league season. Hamilton, a left-handed hitter who can play center or right, is expendable because of the glut of outfielders and the Reds’ dire need for starting pitching. The Reds reportedly are asking for left-hander Sean Marshall.
You have to ask yourself a number of questions…Was last year the start of a bright future for Hamilton or was that what you can expect from him, good numbers when he’s able to play, or was it just a lucky season? Who plays LF & RF for the Reds after this season? Bruce will be one, but who is the other (assuming they don’t re-sign Adam Dunn)? How would a trade of Hamilton effect that? Do you really want to fill 3 outfield spots in 2 years? How good will Sean Marshall be?
Hal McCoy’s take on the meetings thus far:
Both the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs are looking for an outfielder with pop in his bat and that leads them to ask about Josh Hamilton.
With Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. at the corner outfield spots, the Reds have at least four center field candidates — Hamilton, rookie Jay Bruce, Ryan Freel and Norris Hopper, plus Chris Dickerson in the minors.
Hamilton is the most attractive to other teams.
“We have to make decisions on younger players (as to) whether we’d include them in a trade,” General Manager Wane Krivsky said.
The Giants could be talked out of right-hander Tim Lincecum (7-5, 4.00 earned-run average in 24 starts last season) or left-hander Noah Lowry (14-8, 3.92 in 26 starts last season).
The Cubs might be willing to part with left-hander Sean Marshall (7-8, 3.92 in 19 starts) or right-hander Sean Gallagher, although he worked out of the bullpen last year (0-0, 8.59 ERA in eight appearances).
Krivsky would not comment on reports the Reds have contacted free-agent right-hander Brett Tomko, originally the Reds’ first draft pick in 1995. Tomko was 4-12 with a 5.55 ERA with the Dodgers and Padres last season. If Tomko isn’t signed by any team, he could be offered a minor-league contract with an invitation to major-league camp.
Boston pitcher Matt Clement, coming off an injury-filled season, is an available free agent who played for the Cubs under new Reds manager Dusty Baker.