Sunday, January 06, 2002
Harnisch talks stall
By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer
The Reds have until midnight Tuesday to sign Pete Harnisch, Jose Rijo and Joey Hamilton, or they can't sign them until May 1.
It looks as though the Reds could go 0-for-3.
The Reds and Harnisch remain $1.25 million apart on base salary for a one-year deal.
As for negotiations with Hamilton and Rijo?
Those are on life support, Reds general manager Jim Bowden said.
It's the same old Reds story: not enough dough.
Bowden said the Reds would like all three back, but the team is unwilling to guarantee much money.
The case of Harnisch highlights that point. The Reds are offering $500,000 with as much as $1.5million in incentives. Harnisch countered by asking for $1.75 million with $250,000 in incentives.
We want Pete to come back, pitch a lot of innings and get paid for performance, Bowden said. He's won nine games over the last two years and we paid him $7 million (over those two years). He's got to perform for us to pay him. ... I'm not real optimistic.
Harnisch was more hopeful.
You never say never, Harnisch said. We've had a couple of discussions.
Harnisch says he will pitch somewhere this season, and he made it clear he won't be waiting until May 1. His agent, Greg Clifton, has had preliminary talks with other teams. Other teams don't have the Tuesday deadline.
Just the basic stuff you talk about at the beginning, Harnisch said. We've sent them the report on my operation.
Harnisch had season-ending elbow surgery Aug.8. He says he's on schedule to begin spring training as he normally would.
Usually I don't even start throwing until Jan.1, he said. I'm ahead of that. I usually start at 60 feet and work up. I'm already long-tossing 90 feet.
Bowden admits that not signing Harnisch will be a blow to the club.
The best thing about Pete is the influence he has on young pitchers, Bowden said. Obviously, we're going to have a bevy of young pitchers. There's no one better with young pitchers than Pete or Scott Sullivan or Danny Graves.
BOBBLE ON: The Reds will have four count 'em, four! bobble-head doll days next year. All are guaranteed to pack in the fans. The dates haven't been set, but the players scheduled to be honored are Johnny Bench, Eric Davis, Chris Sabo and Adam Dunn.
STYNES OF THE TIMES: The Chicago Cubs signing Chris Stynes for $1.25 million is probably the best indication yet of how far the Reds are from having a competitive payroll.
Stynes is a great bargain at $1.25 million a year. He can play second base, third base and right or left field. He can run. He has power.
But the Reds had no chance.
We would have loved to have signed him, Bowden said. But we can't afford to pay a bench player $1.25million. We just have to pass on guys like that.
If Aaron Boone and Todd Walker play 155 games each, $1.25 million on Stynes probably would be a waste, but we saw last year how devastating injuries can be.
$21 MILLION MISTAKE? The offer the Reds made to Pokey Reese in April for $21 million over four years has to look pretty good to him right now.
The Boston Globe reported that Reese is seeking a three-year deal in the $9million to $11 million range.
Reese's agent, Mike Nicotera, says he's talking to four clubs about Reese.
The Reds might be interested, but they won't pursue him.
We can't afford players in that (price) range, Bowden said.
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