Reds agree to deal with lefty reliever Stanton

Updated: November 19, 2006, 10:26 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Reds focused on improving their bullpen at last year's trading deadline. Apparently there's still work to be done.

Mike Stanton
Stanton

ESPN's Peter Gammons is reporting that Cincinnati and left-handed reliever Mike Stanton have agreed to a two-year contract.

ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports that the contract also contains a vesting option for a third season.

Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky declined to confirm the deal. The Reds don't discuss their talks with free agents until they have signed agreements.

The 39-year-old Stanton was 7-7 with eight saves and a 3.99 ERA in 82 appearances with the Nationals and Giants last season.

The Reds have been trying to upgrade their bullpen since the middle of last season, making a flurry of moves that resulted in 18 players pitching in relief overall. After putting up a combined 5.16 earned run average in the first half, the retooled bullpen went 15-11 with a 3.51 ERA in the second half, helping the Reds stay in contention until the last week.

The bullpen is again a high priority in the offseason. Left-handed closer Eddie Guardado, acquired from Seattle in one of those midseason trades, had reconstructive elbow surgery in September and won't be ready to pitch at the start of next season.

Stanton gives the Reds a proven option for late in games. He went 3-5 with a 4.47 ERA in 56 games last season for Washington, which traded him to San Francisco on July 28 for a minor league pitcher. Stanton was 4-2 in 26 games for the Giants with eight saves and a 3.09 ERA.

The left-hander also has pitched for Atlanta, Boston, Texas, the Yankees and the Mets during his career.

The Reds also are trying to find a shortstop. Krivsky declined to comment on reports that the Reds were close to an agreement with Alex Gonzalez, who hit .255 with nine homers for Boston last season.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.