Williams: Front office working hard to add value

GM gives update on behind-the-scenes efforts to acquire pitching

Williams: Front office working hard to add value

CINCINNATI -- Save for two waiver claims, one Rule 5 selection and the trade of another Rule 5 pick, the Reds' offseason has been decidedly quiet. General manager Dick Williams insists it's been busier behind the scenes, and he's been engaging with clubs and agents.

But Williams could not say if Cincinnati was close to a more significant transaction.

Hot Stove Tracker

"It's just so hard to say. We've been in dialogue on a number of things off and on a big portion of the offseason," Williams said on Tuesday. "Some days it feels closer than others. Right now, we're working away on a couple of other fronts."

The Reds have been searching for pitching, namely bullpen help, but they're also in the market for a veteran starting pitcher to supplement the competition for their one open rotation spot.

Tuesday's signing of reliever Daniel Hudson by the National League Central-rival Pirates for a reported two years and $11 million might seem like the type of guy the Reds would also want. Over the weekend, the Marlins reportedly agreed to terms with veteran Brad Ziegler on a two-year, $16 million deal.

Hudson slams the door on Padres

But Williams isn't looking to spend that type of money and perhaps not give that many years.

"Hudson fits a good bullpen role for a team and provides flexibility. There are certain guys we haven't been able to sign with the money we have available," Williams said.

The Reds were in contact with Hudson, among other relievers. They are looking for relievers capable of multiple innings and who could potentially help close games.

"I think we've talked to pretty much everybody out there, even the ones that appear not to be in our price range," he said. "You still want to have conversations because things change, people's markets change. We offer opportunity, not just money. It's important to convey to every available pitcher what the opportunity might be."

It's highly likely that Williams and the Reds will strike once prices come down. As the calendar gets to January, unsigned free agents might be more willing to lower their demands with Spring Training on the horizon.

In 2016, the Reds signed reliever Blake Wood for one year at $600,000, and he wound up leading the team with 70 appearances and their bullpen with 76 2/3 innings. On the other hand, Alfredo Simon was brought back in March for $2 million to help the rotation, and that deal backfired.

Wood strikes out Freeman

Among the available veteran relievers who could fit the Reds needs are Matt Belisle, Joe Blanton, Neftali Feliz, Bud Norris and Carlos Villanueva. Former Royals closer Greg Holland, who missed all of 2016 because of Tommy John surgery, is also out there and appears to fit the profile of what the Reds need.

Williams declined to comment on Holland.

"I can't say on him specifically but in general, we're looking for value plays," Williams said. "A lot of times it comes from a guy who has missed time from an injury or had a bad year. Relievers, in particular, or guys making that transition, their results will fluctuate from one year to the next. Sometimes you find good value. That's what we have to hunt for."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.