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FO in midseason form

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From Lancaster:

Though the Reds' time on the field ended only a week ago, general manager Dan O'Brien and his staff are already well into their workload for the fall.

Upon returning Sunday evening from several days of organizational meetings in Sarasota, O'Brien already was looking ahead to Tuesday, when he will fly to Phoenix to check out the Reds' Arizona Fall League contingent. That trip will segue into a fact-finding mission for O'Brien and assistant GM Dean Taylor during the World Series, where the Reds will begin preliminary trade discussions with various teams.

"So there's a lot of groundwork that's going to be laid" in the next few weeks, O'Brien said, but don't expect any actual transactions until sometime in November.

The first order of business for the Reds will be filling what they hope will be the lone vacancy on their coaching staff. Manager Jerry Narron has invited everyone except first base and infield coach Randy Whisler back for 2006, and O'Brien said he didn't expect any of the coaches who have been asked to stay to turn down the chance.

[...]

The most immediate decision the Reds will have to make regarding one of their own players is whether to exercise their part of the $2 million mutual option that would bring infielder Rich Aurilia back next season. The option must be agreed to by both parties within 10 days of the end of the World Series.

O'Brien declined to get into detail on which way the club might go with Aurilia.

"Certainly, it was a topic of conversation," he said. "But I'm really not prepared at this time to discuss it."

The same no-comment applied to the $4.55 million option the Reds hold on right-hander Ramon Ortiz for next season. If the Reds decline the option, Ortiz would be eligible for arbitration and probably would not be tendered a contract by Cincinnati for 2006.

[...]

But it was the group of younger players on hand that caught everyone's attention.

"I think it was pretty uplifting for a lot of our staff members to see the quality of the kids that have been assembled down there," said O'Brien. "We're moving in the right direction."

Moving in the right direction.  Well, I feel better!  How about you guys?