First, from ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian:

• Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said “one way or another,” the contract negotiations with second baseman Brandon Phillips are expected to be done by Opening Day. A club source said that they really want to keep Phillips, and he wants to stay. It’s not going to be an easy negotiation, but from most indications, the Reds are going to sign Phillips to a long-term deal.

No explanation as to what those “indications” are.

But then there’s this idea: Brandon Phillips for Cole Hamels

Just thought it was an interesting idea, if for no other reason than to continue the discussion of the Phillips situation. Would you make this trade if you could?

This tidbit was also in Kurkjian’s column:

Aroldis Chapman will start the season in the bullpen, giving the Reds three lefties along with Sean Marshall and Bill Bray. Chapman has a long way to go before he’s a polished pitcher — he issued 41 walks in 50 innings last year — but pitching coach Bryan Price said Chapman is “developing as a pitcher” this spring. He is throwing three pitches for strikes, he has a much better feel for his curveball, he has greatly improved his pickoff move and he has become a better fielder. Chapman is a contingency plan for the rotation, but only when he proves he can consistently throw more strikes. He has been better this spring.

This makes it sound like the decision has been made to put Chapman in the bullpen. I hope that’s not the case.