Reds close to re-signing Guardado

Guardado close to re-signing

CINCINNATI -- The Reds are close to re-signing closer Eddie Guardado to a Minor League contract and inviting him to Spring Training with the big-league club.

A deal could be finalized by the weekend, Guardado's agent, Kevin Kohler said.

"We agree on pretty much everything, but we want to make sure everybody is OK with the way the contract language is written," Kohler said.

Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said earlier this week that he was in talks with Kohler, but has a policy of not commenting on negotiations.

Guardado was acquired by Cincinnati from the Mariners on July 6 for Minor League pitcher Travis Chick and earned $6.25 million in the final season of a three-year contract.

The 36-year-old left-hander had lost his closer's role in Seattle and had a 5.48 ERA in 28 games. But he solidified the Reds' bullpen by going eight out of 10 in save chances with a 1.29 ERA in 15 appearances until he blew out his elbow on Aug. 19. He underwent ligament replacement -- Tommy John -- surgery in September and won't be ready in time for Opening Day.

Because it'd be signing him to a Minor League deal, Cincinnati wouldn't have to use up a 40-man roster spot during camp to retain Guardado. The reliever wanted to be able to continue his rehabilitation with the club while still being around teammates.

"Eddie didn't want to demand a Major League deal where they'd give up a roster spot when he won't be ready until June at the earliest," Kohler said. "Eddie wants to come back there."

Guardado, an All-Star closer with the Twins in 2002 and 2003, began throwing two weeks ago and "feels unbelievable," according to Kohler.

The Reds currently don't have a named closer on their Major League roster. Krivsky and manager Jerry Narron have previously said that right-hander David Weathers and lefty Mike Stanton would likely share the ninth inning role with young lefty Bill Bray also in the mix.

Earlier this week, the Reds inked injured starter Paul Wilson to a Minor League deal and invited him to camp. Wilson has been out since June 2005 and rehabilitating from right shoulder surgery. The club has also been in talks about a camp invite for another injured pitcher, lefty Kent Mercker, who is also recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.