Saturday, October 30, 2004

Wilson, Reds keep talking contract

By Kevin Kelly
Enquirer staff writer

Negotiations between Reds officials and free agent pitcher Paul Wilson's representatives regarding a new contract remain active.

Reds general manager Dan O'Brien said Friday the sides have swapped offers multiple times.

"We're making a genuine effort to get this done and trying to put our best foot forward," O'Brien said. "I am hopeful but cannot predict the outcome."

Wilson was one of three Reds players - infielder Juan Castro and shortstop Barry Larkin were the others - who filed for free agency Friday.

The Reds announced earlier this month that Larkin, a 19-year veteran with the organization and the team's captain, would not be back next season.

Outfielder Darren Bragg and pitcher Todd Van Poppel filed Thursday, and relief pitcher Gabe White will become a free agent if a mutual option is not exercised by Nov. 15.

There's little doubt that re-signing Wilson is among the team's top priorities this offseason.

The 31-year-old veteran, who signed a two-year, $4 million contract with Cincinnati prior to the 2003 season, went 11-6 with a 4.36 ERA in 29 starts last season. He led the Reds in starts, quality starts (16), innings pitched (183 2/3) and wins.

"It's truly a daily, ongoing process," O'Brien said. "And we'll just keep working at it day by day.

"They're willing to invest the time, and so are we."

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