Though all of the numbers below are purely the product of speculation, rest assured the free agent in question will cost the Reds more than bringing back Danny Graves. From the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay : reported that the Reds and closer Francisco Cordero have agreed to a four-year, $46 million deal.

The Reds wouldn™t confirm that but for the first time admitted that they are pursuing Cordero, the top closer on the free-agent market.

œUntil we have someone under contract, we™re not going to announce anything, Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said.

Reds CEO Bob Castellini, who would have to sign off on such a deal, would only say this: œWe have not signed a contract with Cordero.

Have you reached an agreement in principle?

œWe have not signed a contract with Cordero, Castellini repeated.

œSigned is the operative word. The Reds would not close a deal of this magnitude without having Cordero undergo a physical, and a source with the team said that had not happened yet.

That the Reds even are talking to Cordero means their player payroll is likely to go into the $80 million range. It was $68.9 million last season. The Reds have nearly $60 million committed to 13 players they have under contract. That doesn™t include Brandon Phillips, Matt Belisle and Jorge Cantu, who are eligible for arbitration and could add $6 million or $7 million to that total.

Negotiating with Cordero would seem to say the Reds have money to spend on free agents “ at least on the right ones.

œI™ll let you make that assumption, Krivsky said. œWhen you look at the closers on the market, he™d be one of the best. But it takes two sides to get a deal done.

The Brewers have now lost Cordero and Scott Linebrink in the space of 48 hours, and find themselves in dire need of bullpen help.  I don’t we’ll be hearing about a Ben Sheets for Scott Schoeneweis swap anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy seeing those names lined up next to each other.