Mat Latos, Sean Marshall, and Ryan Ludwick who were all key pieces in 2011. Here's a recap of everything we pretty much know so far.
The biggest news would be that the Reds and Ludwick continued to maintain contact regarding his return to the club next year. Ludwick currently holds an offer from the Reds, which John Fay has speculated to be somewhere around $13 or $14 million for two years. While it was once reported that the Reds were very close to closing the deal earlier this week, it is now believed that Ludwick is still not entirely sure with other figures that have been thrown at him from other teams, as well as the money other outfielders have received. We're looking at you Angel Pagan and Shane Victorino. Jocketty would like to get the deal done very soon, perhaps in time for Redsfest this weekend.
I for one think the deal is rather fair for Ludwick and that Pagan and Victorino were way overpaid. Most would agree with that I think. Hopefully this will be resolved soon, and Jocketty can go to work on the leadoff spot.
Speaking of the leadoff spot, is there any good solution? The Reds can't afford anyone who is considered "great" at the position such as Michael Bourn. There have been a couple names thrown around as possible trade candidates such as Dexter Fowler, Coco Crisp, or Jacoby Ellsbury, but most of those were foiled rumors, or would cost too much, or really weren't much better options in my opinion anyways. It will certainly take some creativity on Jocketty's part to come up with a viable solution here. I bet Rickey Henderson can still play a little bit.
One team that is intriguing is the Arizona Diamondbacks. They have some expendable outfielders, but which ones would fit with the Reds would depend on if Ludwick signs or not. Their GM has stated that there have been some words exchanged between him and the Reds, but there has not been a fit yet. Mostly around the league, the talk of has surrounded Justin Upton and Jason Kubel. They could be on the list of plan Bs if Ludwick falls through, but also somewhat unlikely I would think. Both would be quite pricey in terms of prospects and Upton perhaps too pricey in terms of dollars. It seems the Dbacks would much rather trade either of those guys than a guy like Gerardo Parra who is young and cheap still. Never say never though. They need to get rid of an outfielder or two before the season and Parra could fill in at leadoff quite nicely for the Reds if something could be worked out to acquire him.
The Reds also need a utility man to fill roles vacated by Wilson Valdez and Miguel Cairo. They can use a Triple-A guy to help there, but would surely like a veteran as well. Free agent Jack Hannahan has been mentioned as a possible candidate there, but he will probably end up with a different team where he could get more money and starting time. The bench is very important and it was rather weak on last year's team if you'll remember. #WillieHarrisTweet
Lastly, the Reds would like to try and lock up arbitration candidates, Latos and Homer Bailey, to long term deals like they did with Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto a few years ago. It would go a long way to helping the Reds sustain long-term success without breaking the bank.
The Rule 5 came and passed with no effect to Cincinnati as well.
I know we were all hoping for some big news out of the Winter Meetings, but it's not a terrible thing. There's plenty of time left for Walt to do his thing, so enjoy Redsfest (I wish I was going) this weekend as we await further transaction details.