Now that the decision on player options is complete (with Ryan Madson and Ryan Ludwick both declining their mutual options), the next order of business is whether to offer arbitration to eligible players currently under team control or non-tender for the 2013 season.
Tim Dierkes of MLBtraderumors summarized the Reds arbitration eligible players in a post last week:
Matt Swartz’s salary projections are below.
— First time: Mat Latos ($4.6MM), Mike Leake ($2.9MM), Drew Stubbs ($2.9MM), Chris Heisey ($1.3MM), Logan Ondrusek ($900K), Alfredo Simon ($800K)
— Second time: Homer Bailey ($5.1MM), Wilson Valdez ($1MM)
— Third time: Bill Bray ($1.5MM)
I expect that most of these players be re-signed for 2013. Mat Latos will certainly be retained. I’d expect the front office to work towards a multi-year deal to avoid future arbitration cases with Latos. Dierkes notes that the projection for Latos would be a new first-time starting pitcher record. Homer Bailey is also guaranteed to be offered arbitration. He’s coming off a career year, and the first season he’s been fully healthy all year. He should be a seeking out a multi-year deal, but I’m not sure the Reds should risk going beyond his arbitration years.
Mike Leake, Chris Heisey and Alfredo Simon are also givens. Their first year increases are appropriate for their role, and they are still tradeable players, if necessary, at these projected salaries.
That leaves Drew Stubbs, Logan Ondrusek, Wilson Valdez, and Bill Bray. Chad evaluated Stubbs last week. If his offense can bounce back in 2013, then Stubbs projected salary is appropriate, and perhaps even a bargain. Without a resurgent offense, he’s quickly pricing himself out of the arbitration process. I’d sign him to a deal in 2013, as I’d expect that if the Reds picked up another centerfielder via trade or free agency, there would still be some offseason value for Stubbs on the trade market.
Any of Ondrusek, Bray, or Valdez could be tendered a contract or non-tendered. Their salary increases are not significant, but the Reds also have other players readily available within the organization who could replace them at the major league minimum. I would non-tender Valdez and end the Bill Bray experiment while giving Ondruesk a deal for less than a million.