2013 Reds / Reds - General

Contract status and payroll for 2013

Something constructive to take your mind off the NLCS and the Baker extension: The 2013 contract status for the players on the 2012 Reds major league roster and the initial payroll situation.

2013 CONTRACT STATUS

Signed - team control, agreed salary amount (2012 > 2013)

  • Joey Votto ($9.5 m > $17 m)
  • Brandon Phillips ($12 m > $10 m)
  • Jay Bruce ($5 m > $7.5 m)
  • Johnny Cueto ($5.4 m > $7.4 m)
  • Aroldis Chapman ($2 m > $2 m)
  • Bronson Arroyo ($12 m > $11.5 m)
  • Sean Marshall ($3.1 > $4.5 m)
  • Ryan Hanigan ($1.2 m > $2 m)
  • Jose Arredondo ($800,000  > $1.2 m)
  • Nick Massett ($2.4 m > $3.1 m)

Options – varying control, agreed salary amount

  • Ryan Madson ($11 m club option, $2.5 m buy out)
  • Ryan Ludwick ($5 m mutual option, $500,000 buyout)

Entering third arbitration season – team control, negotiated salary amount

  • Bill Bray ($1.42 m in ’12)

Entering second arbitration season – team control, negotiated salary amount

  • Homer Bailey ($2.4 m in ’12)
  • Wilson Valdez ($930,000 in ’12)

Entering first arbitration season – team control, negotiated salary amount

  • Mat Latos
  • Drew Stubbs
  • Mike Leake
  • Chris Heisey
  • Alfredo Simon
  • Xavier Paul

Pre-arbitration – team control, league minimum salary

  • Logan Ondrusek
  • Todd Frazier
  • Sam LeCure
  • Zack Cozart
  • Devin Mesoraco
  • JJ Hoover

Free agents – player control

  • Scott Rolen ($6.5 m in ’12)
  • Miguel Cairo ($1 m in ’12)
  • [UPDATE] Jonathan Broxton ($4 m in ’12)

(If you need a refresher on the arbitration system, here’s the primer from last season. Quick version: Once a player is called up to the major leagues, the club enjoys six years of “team control” over that player. For three seasons, the players work for league minimum salary – roughly $500,000 – as established by the collective bargaining agreement. After that, the player is entitled to three years of arbitration. A few players, called Super Twos, qualify for two years of minimum and four years of arbitration. At the end of six seasons, the player is eligible for free agency. Teams may decline to “tender” arbitration offers to a player, in which case the player becomes a free agent.)

SUMMARY

The payroll for the 10 players under contract plus the Madson buy-out adds up to $68.7 million. Those eleven players were paid $59.4 million in 2012. Five of the pre-arbitration players are easy decisions (all but Ondrusek) and that adds another $2.5 million to the payroll. If the Reds choose, Tony Cingrani and Didi Gregorius (each league minimum) could replace Bill Bray and Wilson Valdez, adding another $1 million total to payroll.

Homer should make $4-5 million in arbitration. Simon and Heisey should be cheap arbitration signees, both less than $1 million, say $2 million for the two. Put Mike Leake around $2 million and Drew Stubbs at $2.2 million. Mat Latos will earn around $4 million in his first arbitration season.  These numbers are estimates based on comparables from 2012 arbitration awards.

If you add all that up, the Reds would owe about $83.5 million in salary. They would still have four needs:

  1. Replace or resign Ludwick in LF
  2. Sign a fifth OF (and/or a starting CF to replace Stubbs)
  3. Sign a back-up infielder who could play 1B and/or 3B
  4. Sign a closer to enable Aroldis Chapman’s move to the starting rotation

From of the LF/CF mix, the Reds have to find a lead-off hitter with a good OBP. They may choose to sign a second experienced LHP for the bullpen instead of Cingrani or Bray.

What will the payroll budget be this year for the Reds? That’s the $64 $70 $80 $90 $100 million question, isn’t it?

The Reds payroll was around $81 million last year, depending on how you calculate it. My opinion was – and still is – that the Votto and Phillips contracts signaled the intention of ownership to move toward a $100 million payroll. The question is whether that jump will take place quickly or over 4-5 seasons.

Absent a major salary-dumping trade or restructuring, which I don’t foresee, the Reds payroll could easily reach the mid-$90 millions in 2013 – and may even approach $100 million – which would represent a generous one-year jump.

79 thoughts on “Contract status and payroll for 2013

  1. Good stuff, Steve! A couple of other things (according to Cots):
    - Votto has an extra $2M signing bonus that is doled out this season
    - Arroyo is owed $11.5M, but he only gets $6.5M this season. Deferred money is awkward because the Reds are budgeting for it somewhere, but I don’t know if they budget for it in 2013.
    - Speaking of deferred, Madson has $2M deferred until 11/1/2012, which I assume is the 2013 budget. He also has $2M deferred until 11/1/2013. To add more confusion, does insurance cover that?
    - Chapman also has $1.5M signing bonus that he gets paid for 2013.

    All of this is just funky math that gets you close to the same number. The other thing to remember is that, like every other team, they will get a big boost from the national TV contracts, though I don’t think those kick in until 2014. They may move closer to 100M this year and then cross over in 2014. I’d guess they’ll sign Latos to a 4+ year deal and Bailey to 2 or 3 years. I also think we’ll see some trades, but no real free agent signings.

    • The other thing to remember is that, like every other team, they will get a big boost from the national TV contracts, though I don’t think those kick in until 2014.

      Yes, 2014.

      I did two reports in the spring about the upcoming changes in Reds revenue, including one on broadcast revenues and one on attendance revenues. The Dodgers sale on March 27 showed all baseball owners that their teams are worth much more than previously estimated. I think Castellini seized that moment and told Jocketty he could bump payroll up quickly. Signed Votto and Phillips shortly afterward. Markets the size of Cincinnati will put a premium on signing their own players to extensions (taking advantage of the discounts players give early in their careers for security) instead of competing in the free agent markets against franchises flush with local broadcast bonanzas.

  2. So, need 1 and need 2 are redundant. With Bruce, Stubbs, Heisey and Paul if you sign or replace Ludwick that would get you to 5 outfielders. Getting someone to replace Stubbs would be a different discussion. It’s not required to fill out the major league roster.

  3. @Prime: Yes, they are separate decisions. If the Reds are satisfied for 2013 with Stubbs, Heisey and Paul, they won’t need to act on #2. My guess is that’s not where they are. On the other hand, maybe Billy Hamilton is that guy. The organization might decide to start the year with Stubbs and crew and wait to see how Stubbs and Hamilton develop.

  4. I posted this in the other thread before I saw this one;

    This pains me to even suggest it, but I would explore the market for Arroyo. His value is at its peak, and it seems like Leake/Chapman/Cingrani are options to replace him. Use the payroll dollars for CF/LF/3B. I am ok with 2/3 of Stubbs/Frazier/Ludwick but I wouldn’t count on all 3.

    It may all be a moot point though because I think Arroyo may be able to veto any trades.

    The other question that I have is I wonder if the organization was sending a message to Stubbs by bringing up Phipps late in the year. Is he a viable solution in CF?

  5. Priority #1 for me this offseason is to lock Latos up long term. Buy out the arb years plus one or two of free agency. He still hits the open market in his prime to get his big payday.

  6. I wonder if Walt J could get a refund on Wilson Valdez?? The Reds needed Jeremy Horst much more in 2012 than they needed Wilson “Exxon” Valdez. That was a very bad trade. The Reds could have used the LH Horst in the bullpen and he had a very good year with Philly. Boy did Walt have a brain fart when he made that trade. I hated that trade when it was made and I hated it all season long as Valdez struggled to hit the ball.

  7. If Stubbs only makes ~$2mil in arbitration, you could make an argument for him as a placeholder for Hamilton. At the same time, I think it would preclude keeping Heisey because we would need to bring in a CF who hits righties well. Stubbs as a platoon guy vs. lefties/late inning defender makes sense if you can acquire the other half for a couple million (that’s assuming Dusty would play it that way, and he probably wouldn’t—remember Gomes?).

    At the end of the day, that’s a lot of bending over backwards for a .220 hitter.

    My preference would be to wipe the slate clean, but wait until mid-March to do it. By then we’ll have a better read on Hamilton.

  8. @Steve Mancuso: I think they’ll go with the wait and see approach with Stubbs/Hamilton unless they can find someone that won’t cost much for 1 or 2 years. I just don’t see them investing heavily in years/$$ for someone with Hamilton starting the transition to CF.

  9. Yep, good stuff. I’m wondering if they’ll sign somebody to replace Cairo or turn to Henry Rodriguez with Todd Frazier continuing as the backup 1b. I expect Valdez to return to Didi Gregorius can get more minor league experience.

    Tony Cingrani, he’s one of the top starting pitching prospects in the organization and he has probably just had the most impressive minor league season we’ve seen by a pitcher the Reds drafted in the past decade – I really doubt he’s heading to the bullpen. Cingrani has exceeded everybody’s expectations at every stop since he first signed with the Reds.

    Lefty specialist, Bill Bray is set to return and hopefully will be healthy. I doubt they’ll make any big moves for another lefty reliever after adding Sean Marshall last season. Jose Arredondo might as well be listed as a lefty specialist when considering his splits, and he seems likely to return.

    Closer, it seems like Cincinnati would still be an ideal opportunity for Ryan Madson if he accepts a cheap and incentive-laden deal due to uncertainty regarding the closer situation. Broxton became Kansas City’s closer last season due to an injury and might pursue a more certain role elsewhere in the free agent but Madson should know that he’s likely to get a chance in Cincinnati if something happens and he pitches well.

    Bronson Arroyo isn’t going anywhere – he’s said he wants to stay with the Reds, has a tough to move contract, and the right to veto any trade. I think it would be a mistake to trade him but, more importantly, I think it’s impossible. He’s stuck with the Reds for so many losing seasons, why would he want to leave now?

    Ludwick, I still hope he accepts his $5m option and I hope they don’t pay him more. If Ludwick leaves Cubs OF David DeJesus could be an ideal replacement, if they make him available for trade, to fill the leadoff black hole.

    I always feel bad for GMs who inherit back laden contracts. At the moment Phillips and Votto’s contracts look good but I think public opinion will shift as those players get older. I remember Ken Griffey Jr’s big hometown discount, what a disaster.

    • @redsfanman:

      Tony Cingrani, he’s one of the top starting pitching prospects in the organization and he has probably just had the most impressive minor league season we’ve seen by a pitcher the Reds drafted in the past decade – I really doubt he’s heading to the bullpen. Cingrani has exceeded everybody’s expectations at every stop since he first signed with the Reds.

      Every scout I’ve read says he has a deceptive release with excellent location and goes right after hitters. But he only has two plug pitches. His (I think it was) changeup is a show pitch, but all he is a fastball/slider guy. He’s used it very well in the minors, but his skill set projects him to the bullpen.

      • I think Broxton has priced himself out of the Reds’ plans, and put himself in an opportunity to pursue a better contract elsewhere. Ryan Madson is definitely more of a gamble, but he’ll get paid less as a result. How did the Reds get Broxton to begin with? They surprised everyone with a midseason trade, they can probably pull off a similar trade next season if it turns out to be necessary.

        Nick Masset is coming back whether people like it or not, unless something changes. He should make for interesting competition.

        Hoover, I think they’ve settled on him as a reliever. Who knows, maybe he can emerge as a future closer.

        Simon and LeCure are also, in my opinion, finished as starting pitchers. It’s great to see how much the organization has improved in the past few years. A few years ago guys like Simon and LeCure would be rotation candidates competing to start on opening day and now they’re relegated to the bullpen.

        @redsfanman:

        Every scout I’ve read says he has a deceptive release with excellent location and goes right after hitters.But he only has two plug pitches.His (I think it was) changeup is a show pitch, but all he is a fastball/slider guy.He’s used it very well in the minors, but his skill set projects him to the bullpen.

        I’ve heard for years that Bronson Arroyo doesn’t have the ability to be a successful major league pitcher, yet he remains one. On the other hand Homer Bailey has always had the ability to be an ace no matter how badly he pitches. All I know about Tony Cingrani is that he’s dominated at every level and I think it’s premature to write him off as a starter. Maybe Cingrani’s future is in the bullpen, after all he was drafted as a closer, but so far he’s done nothing to justify a demotion to the bullpen. Like Sean Marshall or Aroldis Chapman I’m definitely opposed to him being defined as a lefty specialist because he’s left handed. He should be fun to watch in spring training.

    • Bronson Arroyo isn’t going anywhere – he’s said he wants to stay with the Reds, has a tough to move contract, and the right to veto any trade. I think it would be a mistake to trade him but, more importantly, I think it’s impossible. He’s stuck with the Reds for so many losing seasons, why would he want to leave now?

      Bingo. Exactly.

      Not sure why anyone would even think about trading him right now. It’s not very smart to start disassembling a successful team. Arroyo is solid (excepting the mono year of course). Anything you might trade for will not be as solid.

    • Lefty specialist, Bill Bray is set to return and hopefully will be healthy. I doubt they’ll make any big moves for another lefty reliever after adding Sean Marshall last season. Jose Arredondo might as well be listed as a lefty specialist when considering his splits, and he seems likely to return.

      I think it’s time to stop counting on Bill Bray for anything. He’s simply not healthy enough often enough to make any long term positive impact on the team. It’s sort of a Grant Hill type situation; yes, if he could get healthy, he could be a very useful piece, but that’s a BIG “if”. I would just as soon let him go and move on. Sucks for both sides, but the situation is what it is and it has to be accepted.

  10. @Prime: I agree. But I heard an interesting rumor yesterday that the Reds might kick the tires on signing Michael Bourn (.274/.348/.391 in 2012). I just don’t see the Reds being willing to make that kind of a financial and time commitment to a CF with the prospect of Billy Hamilton looming. Here is a solid review of Bourn and the likely market for his services.

  11. Steve, do teams ever sign 1st arb season players cheap with the intent to trade them? Or, are there rules about doing that?

  12. @Redgoggles: Two problems with trading Arroyo: 1. He’s got 10-5 no-trade rights, so he’d have to approve any deal. 2. All of his deferred money (even 2011-12) gets paid up front if he’s traded, so the $6.5M that he’s owed this year becomes $21.5M (if I understand his contract correctly). He’s pretty much untradeable.

    The more I think about it, the more I think they’ll try to work a deal with Ryan Madson. They still owe him $6.5M ($2.5M buyout + $2M deffered til 11/1/12 + $2M deferred til 11/1/13). I don’t know if Boras would rework his deal, but given that he’s going to need someone to give him a shot to re-prove himself after the surgery. Perhaps he’d work with the Reds, and perhaps the Reds would be motivated to get something for all of the money they spent on him.

    My guess is, that’s the only way Chapman gets moved out of the closer role. They won’t turn the role over to someone who is unproven (never mind that Chapman was unproven 5 months ago). I’d like to see Chapman get a shot at starting again, and I have to wonder if prepping him as a starter during the spring like they did last year won’t at least have some positive effects for him if he moves back to the bullpen. Eventually he’s going to need to start relying on more than just 1.5 pitches. Working as a starter would help get him there.

  13. @jas_428: I don’t think that’s against the rules. Other than the rule that requires a team to wait 12 months after signing a draft pick to trade them, I don’t know of any other limits on a club. An example would be trading Aroldis Chapman. When the Reds signed him, they negotiated his salary through his first five years of team control. They could trade him if they wanted to.

    The main advantages to doing a contract with an arbitration eligible player are (1) to give some salary predictability – the Reds did this with Joey Votto’s first contract, and (2) to add in a year or two of free agency before the player gets too expensive – the Reds did this with Jay Bruce.

    2013 is Jay Bruce’s fifth year of team control (it would have been his third year of arbitration because he was a Super Two) and his contract runs through 2016 with a club option for 2017. So the Reds bought 2 or 3 years of his free agency.

    It’s hard to believe, but 2013 would be Joey Votto’s sixth year of team control, so his third year of arbitration. If he hadn’t signed the extension last spring, he’d be entering his last season before free agency, remember the Votto window?

  14. @Joel: I think they’ll try to sign Madson, but not as the closer. I doubt any team would be willing to risk banking on Madson to close in 2013. Pitchers just don’t recover their control that quickly after TJS. Given that Madson won’t land a closing gig (and long term contract) anywhere, then he’ll probably be looking for another one-year contract where he can prove he’s back to form and then look to sign a longer-term deal starting in 2014 to close somewhere.

    If he’s going to be a set-up guy no matter where, why not in Cincinnati? He might feel he owes the Reds a discount or maybe right of last refusal because of the way last year unfolded.

    Chapman really wants to start. If Jocketty wants to try him at starter, all he needs to do is sign an established free agent closer, even for a one-year deal, like he did with Madson last season. If the closer market resembles last year, kind of falling apart at the end, that opportunity may arise again. I agree that there probably aren’t any internal candidates to close, other than Chapman, although I’d be fine with Marshall in that role. But Baker obviously doesn’t have that kind of confidence in Marshall, for whatever reason.

  15. I like this post. For, while I do like a lot of the players, finances are a part of the game these days. Given that:

    I’m not sure Masset comes back. Only considering players we have already, I think Hoover could take that role.

    I can see Madson coming back, but he won’t step right in as the closer. I do think Chapman will be there again. I’m a Heisey fan, but I hope Ludwick will come back at what he’s signed for. I don’t see an extension on him right now, not until he can prove he can have that success for 2 years straight again.

    I believe Bray will be gone. Cingrani in there? If not, I assume going outside.

    Something tells me we are going to lose 1-2 of our regular relievers. Like, the club may go with Broxton over Logan, or Hoover over Masset. Something I just don’t trust about Broxton.

    We’ve got to commit on Devin. Either commit on him being the regular catcher next season, playing at minimum 3 of 5 games, or commit on trading him off. I do believe one reason he didn’t perform well was because he went from being “the hoss” to being “a bench guy”. He may be a player that performs better if he plays everyday.

    If Rolen comes back, it is at a substantial discount and a reduced role. Frazier has to be the starting 3rd baseman next season, or look for another one. We may hold onto Cairo if there isn’t another sub out there for 1st and 3rd.

    Everything else looks as is.
    Valdez, I’m 50/50 on. I lean towards him coming back. If he comes back, that would give Rodriguez and Gregorius at least the start of a full year at AAA. And, Valdez was a good fill-in player. Much was how he was used, like batting second in the order many days.

    If Stubbs comes back, he’s should only be a bridge to Hamilton. That’s one thing that concerns me with Baker. If Hamilton proves himself offensively and defensively at AAA, I can still see Baker start Stubbs over Hamilton.

    I can see Leake staying 5th starter. I would like to see him progress; definitely took at step back this season. I will give it as an off year for now.

    • I’m not sure Masset comes back. Only considering players we have already, I think Hoover could take that role.

      Agree with much of what you say, but Masset has a signed contract for that amount. So he’ll be back with the Reds unless they decide just to eat the contract. I’m very upbeat about Hoover as well, but it will be Hoover plus Masset, not in place of. At least at the start.

  16. @steveschoen: Wilson Valdez is an awful, awful, awful baseball player who should be released. He is most certainly not a good fill-in player, unless you mean he’s able to stand at multiple positions.

  17. Given Madson’s 1st year after TJS status, I’d just as soon let he and Boras go elsewhere. Would like to have Broxton back. Would like to not have a “closer”, and use a combination of Marshall/Broxton/whoever in the 9th. Would also like a pony.

    I’d have Valdez back, despite his weak hitting, if he was a slick backup glove at short. But from what I’ve seen, he’s more Cabrera-esque than Castro-esque in the field. Not impressed with him anywhere in the IF. But he did look like a potentially fabulous CF… :|

    • ven Madson’s 1st year after TJS status, I’d just as soon let he and Boras go elsewhere. Would like to have Broxton back. Would like to not have a “closer”, and use a combination of Marshall/Broxton/whoever in the 9th. Would also like a pony.

      I’m optimistic about that pony for you.

  18. @RC: I don’t really understand the fascination with Broxton. I’ll admit he reversed his terrible peripherals in the short time he was here, but he’s going to cost money to perform a role that the Reds have covered with Hoover. Plus, if he has the kind of season he had with KC, there will be grumbling. If he averages his KC/Cin numbers, he’s good not great, and expensive. There’s not infinite money available.

  19. Chapman, in my opinion his best chance to leave the closer role is to hope for a major injury to Johnny Cueto or Mat Latos in spring training. I expect he’ll spend the offseason training as a starting pitcher (again) but I believe that luck and fate will again decide his role.

    Ryan Madson, I’ve said before that the uncertainty regarding Cincinnati’s closer does seem to make this an ideal situation for him. It’s unlikely he’s getting a big deal to become a team’s closer fresh off Tommy John surgery but he saw the opportunities Broxton got this year with the Reds, after Broxton took over as the Royals’ closer due to an injury. Sean Marshall may be used as a closer again but I doubt his job will be any more secure in 2013 than it was in 2012. Ideal opportunity for Madson, if he pitches well.

    Nick Masset, I’m sure he’ll be back in the organization. His trade value couldn’t be lower and Broxton is likely to leave. JJ Hoover may be better and more capable but there are 12 bullpen spots and he’s likely to get one.

    Bill Bray, he’s the team’s representative to the player union and has no trade value so he’s also likely to return.

    Did Mike Leake take a step back this season? I don’t think so, he set a new career high for innings, which was a big step for a former Reds draft pick (since the Reds historically have lots of trouble getting innings out of starters). His ERA went up but he had a decent year – in my opinion the big difference is that he 4 guys ahead of him performed better than expected to cast him as the outlier. He entered 2012 as a #5 starter and performed well in that role, well enough that he’s earned the #5 spot for next season. On the other hand I’ve never been expecting any big breakout season by Leake.

    Devin Mesoraco, commit 3-5 games per week to Devin Mesoraco or trade him? Maybe, just maybe, he’ll start 2013 in AAA but I definitely don’t see him getting traded away. He should hope for an injury to Ryan Hanigan. I think Dioner Navarro will find a better opportunity elsewhere, with a team looking for a starting catcher.

  20. @Hank Aarons Teammate: I assume he’d be cheaper than Madson, if they were thinking of re-signing him. Though maybe not by much. But yeah, Broxton could price himself out of our plans, too. But if it came down to either Madson, Broxton, or neither, I’d take Broxton or neither.

  21. Oh, and I really like Hoover, too, but am not quite ready to bet too much prime ranch acreage on him just yet. And it would be sweet to have Masset back and good, but what are the odds of that?

  22. Current locks for the rotation:

    1.) Cueto
    2.) Latos
    3.) Bailey
    4.) Arroyo

    Competition for #5:
    5.) Leake
    6.) Chapman
    7.) Redmond
    8.) Hoover
    9.) Cingrani
    10.) Corky (Oh wait. Nevermind)
    10.) Everyone else they pickup or invite from the minors.

    Don’t forget about J.J. Hoover (or wait, was that Redmond… no time to look in to at the moment) and Simon. Remember, both were the #6 pitchers for Baltimore and Atlanta respectively.

  23. I believe that Drew Stubbs is utterly hopeless, and I hope that they don’t waste $2.25 million on him. Having said that, they can’t commit to Hamilton there just yet, and they don’t trust Heisey, so I could see our being stuck with Stubbs one more year.

    We are all going to hate the Phillips contract, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of our lives. 25-year-old baseball players are better than 33-year-old baseball players; always have been; always will be.

  24. 2013:
    1B–Joey Votto.
    2B–Brandon Phillips.
    SS–Zack Cozart.
    3B–Todd Frazier.
    C—Ryan Hanigan.
    LF–open.
    CF–Drew Stubbs.
    RF–Jay Bruce.
    Bench: Heisey, XPaul, open, open, open.
    Starting P–Cueto, Latos, Bailey, Arroyo, Leake.
    Bullpen: Chapman (closer), Marshall, Hoover, Ondrusek, Simon, LeCure, Bray.
    Retired/Released: Rolen, Masset, Madson, Cairo, Valdez.
    I would rather have Broxton instead of Ondrusek in the bullpen. LF is the big question mark and the bench again. If Ludwick re-signs, then CF will be the place of need. Possibly the leadoff hitter the Reds need. Mesoraco to start the season at AAA, so a backup C not named Corky or Dionner will be needed. I wouldn’t be opposed to a trade involving Mike Leake if it gets a LH starting pitcher in return.

  25. @WVRedlegs: I’m surprised to see someone on here still have Chapman closing. As much as I would like to see him in the rotation, there are two names that come to mind that have swayed my thinking.

    Dusty Baker (in regards to his thoughts about a bullpen)
    Neftali Feliz

    • @WVRedlegs: I’m surprised to see someone on here still have Chapman closing. As much as I would like to see him in the rotation, there are two names that come to mind that have swayed my thinking.Dusty Baker (in regards to his thoughts about a bullpen)Neftali Feliz

      I also would like to see Chapman starting. that is what he was signed for. But he is already a star at the closer position. With a whole season as the closer, Chapman could set the single season save record next year. I would like to see that, instead of him being a #4 or #5 starter.

  26. Ryan Ludwick- I think the guy enjoyed his stay in Cincy and as much as he has flipped around the bigs over his career would probably love to stick around for a bit. I think the price to resign him has to be reasonable and if it is, I would be ok with the Reds giving him a 2 year deal. I think its possible at some point it would be more of a platoon than everyday thing as his career stat sheet kind of screams this season is an outlier, but hey maybe the Reds will get lucky.

    Scott Rolen- I think for his current talent level, Rolen could be a handy player to keep around with the understanding that he is going to become a spot starter, pinch hitter, defensive replacement type player. I think considering his health, he might thrive and be quite productive in that role. However it is rare the once great player that accepts that role and takes it on and does well. Jim Thome has definitely extended his career and got some nice highlights accepting that exact job. Torre’s Yank clubs in the late 90s got some great production out of some old stars doing that kind of playing (Boggs, Raines, Chili Davis, Cecil Fielder, etc.) I think the two questions are would Rolen accept such a position and would Dusty actually use him that way or keep wanting to put him in the lineup all the time. Considering Dusty put him out 4 of 5 playoff games in the lineup, I probably got more doubts about the latter than the former.

    Todd Frazier- The guy should either be the starting third basemen or left fielder depending on whatever goes on with the two guys above. He’s earned the right to to be an every day guy.

    I think what goes down with these three guys is one of the big questions, the other being who closes and does Chapman move to the rotation.

    Wiley Vet Utility guys I’d consider if available…
    Jeff Keppinger (should have never let him go)
    Greg Dobbs

  27. The catching situation will need attention. Hanigan is a year older (33) and already known to be prone to fading if used much over 3 days a week over a period of time; so who they use to tandem with him will be all the more important.

    After Mesoraco’s performance in 2012 and the manner in which he was handled in September, Mesoraco isn’t going to be “given” anything he doesn’t earn in advance twice over. I’d judge he is likely to start the year at AAA; or as some have theorized be sent packing if a deal comes up into which he fits.

    Navarro emerged as viable tandem partner for Hanigan but is free agent. I look for the Reds to attempt to bring back Navarro and to sign at least one guy additionally who is in a situation similar to what Navarro was this year. A key point in negotiations with Navarro will likely be whether the Reds will offer him a major league contract or want him to come into camp on a minor league deal and whether any other org will offer him a major league contract up front. If the Reds are unsuccessful in signing Navarro, they will probably sign two guys instead of just one on minor league deals.

  28. I see Bill Bray as a nontender guy who they will try to sign for less, probably on a minor league deal, a very similar situation to Jared Burton last year (although I believe technically Burton was claimed on waivers when they attempted to outright him following the end of the 2011 season.

    Massett is under contract so they will likely keep him around at least until they see what he has to offer following the shoulder surgery. However he is basically a rehab project at this point.

    Madsen also should be viewed as a rehab project at this point. Ironically, if he is signed it is likely to to be on some sort of deal that gives the club at least the potential of more than one year of control as who wants to pay him several M$ to finish rehab only to have him jump for a big contract in 2014? Maybe, $8-9M over two years with at least $6M on option for the second year against a ~500K buyout.

    I’d think a lot on the exact numbers would depend on the doctors’ and trainers’ interim reports on his progress and prognosis.

  29. Package Leake and Stubbs for either a center fielder or a left fielder if ludwick is not resigned. I was against moving Bruce to CF in season, If they want start in Spring Training.

  30. Gregorious at short. He has a nice swing, bats left handed. Cozart 3B. Frazier LF if no Ludwick. Frazier may also be needed to play 1B.

    If Mesoraco earns a spot in spring training he’s on the team. If a catcher is needed sign someone for the minors. The Reds brass picked Mesoraco over Grandal no need to cut him lose now. And for what? Everyone was drooling over how good this kid can be. Don’t let go of another first round pick.

    If the outfield is Bruce, Stubbs, Heisey, Paul, Frazier I can live with that.

    The bullpen needs another lefty. Is Bray going to cut it? Cingrini can take his spot. Keeps his innings low and maybe learn a third pitch.

    • ….
      The Reds brass picked Mesoraco over Grandal no need to cut him lose now. And for what?…..

      Sometimes when the guy you kept doesn’t measure up to the guy you let go, the quickest way to put the whole episode behind is to get rid of the guy you originally kept too.

      Meso wasn’t really doing an acceptable job before the concussion and blow up with the ump and subsequent suspension yet they stuck with him. Then it seemed like something went down behind the scenes over that whole deal; and, he totally fell from favor. I suspect the only reason they kept him ready as the emergency replacement catcher for the playoffs is because they only had three catchers on the 40 man roster.

      I think he will start the year in AAA and have to play his way back to the majors; and even that could be via a trade that would return to the Reds some face saving value instead of actually with the Reds.

      • Sometimes when the guy you kept doesn’t measure up to the guy you let go, the quickest way to put the whole episode behind is to get rid of the guy you originally kept too.

        Meso wasn’t really doing an acceptable job before the concussion and blow up with the ump and subsequent suspension yet they stuck with him. Then it seemed like something went down behind the scenes over that whole deal; and, he totally fell from favor. I suspect the only reason they kept him ready as the emergency replacement catcher for the playoffs is because they only had three catchers on the 40 man roster.

        I think he will start the year in AAA and have to play his way back to the majors; and even that could be via a trade that would return to the Redssome face saving value instead of actually with the Reds.

        Again, we have no idea if the Reds brass picked Mesoraco. Maybe the Pads said, give us Grandal or the deal ain’t happening.

        Whatever the case, you don’t dump a guy just because he’s not as good as another guy. I happen to think Mesoraco’s career as a Red is indeed in jeopardy, but that’s because he hasn’t hit, plus something happened with Baker.

  31. @musicjoker319: Boy I’m already tired of thinking/hearing about Bray and Arredondo. Both suffer from walk-itis. Thinking ahead to if this team makes the playoffs again, I really don’t want either of those guys coming in. Bray is 4 BB/9 career, and Arredondo is 4.5.

  32. Here’s how I would construct the Reds roster if I were the GM (not how I think it will be done):

    Starters: Cueto, Latos, Arroyo, Bailey locked in.

    Fifth starter: Let Chapman, Leake, Redmond, Villarreal (and to a lesser degree Cingrani and Corcino) compete for it in ST.

    BP: Hoover (closer unless Chapman returns to BP), Marshall, Masset, LeCure, Simon (long man) locks
    Ondrusek, Arredondo, Bray, Madsen (if he comes cheap) and some vets on minor league contracts compete for the rest of the spots.

    Position starters: Votto, Phillips, Frazier, Hanigan, Bruce are locks to start.
    Bench: Heisey, Paul, Henry Rodriguez, Mesoraco, Valdez on the bench.

    Priorities for the offseason: Re-sign Ludwick. Flip Cozart to Arizona for Parra. Trade Stubbs.

    Ludwick resumes playing LF on a two year contract. Cozart (who’s already hitting his prime) is cashed in while “selling high” to Arizona who is desperate for a SS and has an abundance of OF’ers. Parra brings over his 272/332/732 career slash line and excellent defense to hold CF until Hamilton is ready to take over. Meanwhile, he bats lead off and moves Phillips to the two hole. Gregorius become our starting SS and bats 8th.

    Projected Roster and Starting lineup:

    Parra CF, Phillips 2B, Votto 1B, Ludwick LF, Bruce RF, Frazier 3B, Hanigan C, Gregorius SS, Pitcher.

    Cueto, Latos, Arroyo, Bailey, Chapman/Leake
    Hoover, Marshall, Masset, LeCure, Simon, Bray/(Chapman)/Arredondo

    Heisey, Paul, Mesoraco, Rodriguez, Valdez

  33. @hotto4votto: I like the idea of getting Parra. I wouldn’t mind dumping Stubbs and Cozart to hopefully get one of their young pitchers in return with that deal.

    • @hotto4votto: I like the idea of getting Parra. I wouldn’t mind dumping Stubbs and Cozart to hopefully get one of their young pitchers in return with that deal.

      It’ll take more than Cozart to pry Parra away from the D-backs. I advocated all last off-season for Walt to pull the trigger and get Parra. But does just the addition of Parra solve the offensive woes?? No, I don’t think so. I think two moves are needed, and not just one.

  34. The Reds had the best bullpen in MLB in 2012. Why mess with success and move Chapman to the rotation?? Why are people mentioning two guys coming off of shoulder surgery and elbow ligament replacement surgery for next year’s bullpen?? Masset and Madson did not contribute one single pitch in 2012. Why mention them for 2013. Neither belong on the 2013 REDS roster. Maybe somebody else’s roster, but not the Reds. Masset will never be the same. He wasn’t that good when he was healthy. He threw 94-95 mph, but had very little, if any, movement on his fastball. Threw his slider into the dirt two feet in front of the plate alot. He is washed up. Done. Stick a fork in him. And even if he does come back, is he worth $3.2MM as a 6th or 7th inning reliever?? No!!!! The Reds are flush with RH relievers. They do not need Masset and his lame shoulder.

    • The Reds had the best bullpen in MLB in 2012. Why mess with success and move Chapman to the rotation?? Why are people mentioning two guys coming off of shoulder surgery and elbow ligament replacement surgery for next year’s bullpen?? Masset and Madson did not contribute one single pitch in 2012. Why mention them for 2013. Neither belong on the 2013 REDS roster. Maybe somebody else’s roster, but not the Reds. Masset will never be the same. He wasn’t that good when he was healthy. He threw 94-95 mph, but had very little, if any, movement on his fastball. Threw his slider into the dirt two feet in front of the plate alot. He is washed up. Done. Stick a fork in him. And even if he does come back, is he worth $3.2MM as a 6th or 7th inning reliever?? No!!!! The Reds are flush with RH relievers. They do not need Masset and his lame shoulder.

      The reds have already committed the $$ to Masset for 2013 at $3.1M, so Reds will give him every chance in ST and even early into the season to make the team. Also Arrendondo is signed as well for 2013 at $1.2, he is not going to be cut.

      Bill Bray, I can see Reds cutting him to avoid arbitration with him, given his injury history. Maybe offer him a minor-league deal.

      Cingrani needs to stay a starter in AAA. What the Reds rotation did in 2012 is not likely to happen in 2013, “someone” is going to break down, and it maybe 2 “someone’s”, Cingrani will be one of the options needed to fill that gap as well as be ready in 2014 when Bronson’s contract is over. Cingrani has definitely had an impressive run thru Reds minors in 2 years, yet he has not pitched a full season at either AA or AAA. He probably needs that experience.

  35. @WVRedlegs: I think the Reds need themselves a true LOOGY. The point you make about having enough RH relievers is very true. I wonder what Arthur Rhodes is doing? He would be cheap.

  36. @WVRedlegs: I don’t think that because someone was physically unable to contribute one year it disqualifies them from the next. Remember 2010 when Arthur Rhodes was Chapman-like in the set-up role? There’s a man that has had a surgery or two in his career. Masset, even if he doesn’t close, is better than say, Ondrusek, who contributed over 50 innings. Relieving also tends to have a lot of variance to it… so what if Simon tanks downward, etc? I agree there should be some economic consideration for it, but on talent alone, there’s always room for better.

  37. Some on here have said to release Bray and then sign him to minor league contract at a much less salary and invited to spring training.
    Isn’t there something in the new collective bargaining agreement that prohibits this now that started this year?? I thought I read something on here about that earlier in the year that prohibited teams from doing so. Or is this something that would apply to Masset since he is already under contract for 2013?? Is that the difference??

  38. Too many of these proposals I’m reading involve removing players from our roster to fill a need elsewhere. If the years prior to 2010 taught us anything, it’s that you need depth to get thru an entire season. IMO, Leake and Stubbs are the only guys I’d consider moving this offseason, while at the same time, figure out what additions we can make to improve what’s already here, such as backup IF/OF.

    I just read that Lance Berkman is going to decide whether to play in February. He says he’ll only play for a contender. I would think a one year deal would work for us and him. Question is, would you rather have him for one year or Ludwick for 2 or 3? Both carry a fair amount of risk. Or, do you move a guy like Corcino to get what you need?

    • According to mlbtraderumors Luckwick is going to decline his $5m option for next year. My initial reaction is wtf? Can he possibly get more than that at 34 years old and with a 1.7 WAR this year?

      Without question there will be some teams out there offer him at least double that, plus he wants years added. However I do think he will take around 7-8 per year from the Reds if he can get 3-4 year deal.

      • Without question there will be some teams out there offer him at least double that, plus he wants years added.However I do think he will take around 7-8 per year from the Reds if he can get 3-4 year deal.

        You think someone is going to offer Ludwick $10M a year?

  39. Given the teams performance this season outside of redoing Ludwicks deal I don’t see any other major changes. Chapman is going to remain the closer, Stubbs will be in center and the starting five will be the same unless injury occurs. Madsen may be resigned but as we know it takes a good year+ for pitchers to get back to ML ability so maybe by June he is on the roster. The young pitchers like Cigirini will start at either AA or maybe Louisville and be allowed to grow and learn and be used as backup if someone goes down.

    As for Mr. Hamilton…I am still amazed at how many people think he is the solution. There is no way to know if he is even able to handle CF, let alone hit on higher levels.

    This team fell apart in the playoffs due to health issues of both Cuteo and Votto and the lack of Dusty to change his managerial approach in the playoffs. We know that isn’t going to change, so we have to hope the talent out shines poor decission making next year…

  40. Here is more from Jon Heyman’s report on Ludwick declining his option:

    Both sides are very interested in him staying after his terrific season. The Reds understand Ludwick will turn down the option; off the year he had, he would be interested in a multiyear deal. The decision to rebuff the option is a no-brainer after Ludwick hit .275 with 26 home runs and 80 RBI. He also had an .877 OPS.

    I’m in agreement with those who don’t want to see the Reds sign Ludwick to a three-year deal or longer. I’m even a little uncomfortable with a two-year contract. Ludwick was great for the Reds overall in 2012, and I eagerly awaited his AB in the NLDS. But it’s a big gamble to assume that Ludwick will do it again over a couple of years. Especially if that counts as the one big free agent signing for the Reds this off-season.

  41. Ryan Ludwick had a great yr, no question but he is 34 yrs old, and he had a couple lousy yrs before this yr, I am sure teh Reds can find a decent option this winter, just like last yr with ludwick.

  42. I’d like to see Ludwick at $7m for 2 years, tops. Looking at the past 5 seasons I don’t see any reason anyone would want to give him more. But since people think he’ll get significantly better offers, I’d definitely rather see the Reds pass.

  43. Ludwick has got to get all he can get this off season in a contract. It is going to be his one and only chance at a good one. We cannot begrudge him for that. And we cannot begrudge the front office if they decline to offer Ludwick a more lucrative offer. Spend that money on a younger power hitter to play LF.
    Would the Reds value Ludwick’s veteran presence in the locker room, much like with Scott Rolen?? And if Rolen retires, do the Reds offer Ludwick a 2 or 3 year deal for that kind of leadership?? What kind of presence did Ludwick have in the locker room this year?? I don’t know, I thought he was kind of a quiet person.

  44. Enough bills have been flipped on rising talent on the mound and in the field; paying Ludwick for more than 2 years or more than 6-8 million is a bad move for a mid-market team to make. Let the Marlins or the Pirates or the Royals or some desperate team pick him up if need be, though I wish it wouldn’t happen.

  45. I love Hot Stove season. All good news all the time. Hopeful. AND… (my favorite) it brings out the amateur GMs. Some good. Some goofy.

    I disagree that Massett was not good before the injury. I also disagree that he is “washed up”. I do agree you can’t count on Bray, but if he’s healthy, I want him pitching for the Reds. I also like Arrendondo, but he is on the bubble. You aren’t going to be able to sign Madsen to a minor league contract regardless of rehab thing. You just start him on a rehad assignment. I’d like to see them work out something with him. God bless him but unfortunately Ondrusek is the odd man out.

  46. Ludwick is a perfect storm. You don’t want your second most productive player to walk, but he’ll probably get somewhere in the neighborhood of a 3 year, 21 million dollar deal in this market. Too rich for the Reds sadly.

    I saw someone say move Frazier to left, Cozart to 3rd, and Gregorious to SS. At first, the idea intrigued me. But in that scenario you’d have two holes in your lineup with Cozart and Gregorious. Gregorious showed in September he has some work to do both offensively and defensively. Raw defensive skills, he makes your jaw drop. Cozart isn’t as pretty to watch, but (at least for now) is a better defensive SS. Bookmark this idea and revisit it this time next year if Gregorious isn’t traded this winter (which I think he will be).

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