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.

33 Responses

  1. TC

    We are of one mind, Greg. Excellent assessment on all counts. I’m willing to bet my left shoe lace you will be proven a prophet.

  2. Shchi Cossack

    I would non-tender Valdez and end the Bill Bray experiment while giving Ondruesk a deal for less than a million.

    Well said and I completely concur. I think Tony Cingrani has earned a shot on the major league roster. Let him work as a LOOGY and in MR while getting his feet wet.

    The bullpen makeup will depend on any FA signings so that is in complete flux right now, along with CF & LF for the same reason.

  3. Shchi Cossack

    If the Reds want to keep Henry Rodriguez and Didi Gregorius (both will be 23 in 2013) in AAA for additional development and consistent playing time, Paul Janish will probably be available as a non-tender by Atlanta for a utility IF role. I like Paul as a utiliy option, but only as a utility option. He can fill in defensively at SS, 2B & 3B.

  4. WVRedlegs

    I hate this arbitration system. Some sort of system is needed, but not in this format. Leake is no where near worth $2.9MM, period. Neither is Stubbs. Bray for $1.5MM?? For what? Sitting on the DL most of the season. Exxon Valdez at $1MM?? What a joke. Lerch Ondrusek at $900k and Simon at $800k when Simon pitched all season and was much more valuable to the team and contributed nicely all season to Ondrusek’s overall ineffectiveness??? Heisey really worth $1.3MM? Not really. The only ones worth the money you had by their names were Latos and Bailey. This is exactly what is wrong with this system. It is a joke.

  5. hermanbates

    Nice thinking, sir Greg. I’m not sure I’d give Ondrusek another shot myself, but he usually has a nice beginning to the year when he inexplicably comes out of the gate throwing 94-96 until he’s back at his 89-92 range after the first couple weeks of the season…

  6. per14

    I think Leake is worth 2.9MM. He’s a league average starter who can pitch ~ 180 innings. Plus, according to Fangraphs he contributed 1.0 WAR last year with the bat.

  7. Sultan of Swaff

    I’m inclined to tender a contract to Bray. There’s always a demand for situational lefties……..correction, healthy situational lefties. There’s nothing wrong with his arm, so it’s a reasonable expectation he’ll come into camp and perform as expected. At that point, you can keep him or trade him. The only way you lose on this deal is if he hurts himself. But really, a million buck gamble to a major league team is simply the cost of doing business. We’ve wasted a million bucks on much worse *looking at you, Valdez*.

  8. Drew Mac

    Solid analysis. It seems reasonable on all fronts.

  9. steveschoen

    I pretty much agree with all the players stated in the entry. The numbers, though, I’m not so sure. Stubbs worth that much? Sorry, don’t see it. Leake took a downturn this season. Bailey, off one good season? Not so sure.

    But, if we do anything in trades, we will need pieces to deal, also. Given that, I do see many of these players being re-signed but then possibly traded, probably in some kind of package deal. We could almost include Didi or Cozart in that package. I’d rather see Didi at AAA first, though, thus leaving Cozart here. But, if the trade allows us to fill another hole?

  10. Bob Purkey

    It is almost unbelievable that we’re discussing “a raise” for Drew Stubbs. If he was a regular working stiff, like most of us, he would get a 50% cut and be happy with it!

  11. thebigd19

    Long time reader, first time commenting. (love the site)

    I know Fraizer is an Infielder by trade. But he played left (and right) field rather well this past season. If things cannot get worked out with Ludwick, and there happens to be a good option for 3B (or even SS, move cozart to third), that defiantly should be considered.

    I know this is an out of the box idea but does anybody think cozart could play centerfield? Didi could come up to play short.

    Don’t eat me alive just throwing it out there.

  12. Matt WI

    @thebigd19: Welcome… Interesting idea. Though I think if they are going to be a converted SS into CF, it’d be Billy Hamilton and not Cozart.

  13. seat101

    How much of Stubbs salary would we have to pay before we traded him?

  14. OhioJim

    The Reds should treat this as a last chance wake up call, come to Heysus meeting for Stubbs. Tender him below the low end of his projected range then dig in and be prepared to go the whole distance with him if necessary.

    Negotiate slowly and toughly toward the bottom of his projected range all the while pointing out the same things that would be said at an arb hearing. Then if necessary make the final formal pre arb effort somewhere in the low end of the projected range and let things fall where they may

  15. Shchi Cossack

    Did BH get hurt today? He hadn’t played for the last 3 games and he was removed from the game in the top of the 3rd inning today. He had a bunt single in the 1st inning and was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a double.

  16. miredfan

    I will never understand the long leash Stubbs gets from this organization, nor the sympathy he gets from some fans. “If his offense can bounce back in 2013…..” Seriously? The guy’s avg has gone DOWN every year since his rookie year. I have to believe most of us looked at him after 2011 and said “Ok….off year……he’ll be back.” And he proceeded to have an even WORSE year, and not by a little – by 30 points! He had nearly 500 AB’s and his OBP was .277!!!! The more I talk about it the more upset I get. How can you give a guy who’s had 1700 AB’s and a lifetime OBP of .312 another chance? He had that chance. It was called 2012. He blew it. Give someone else a chance.

  17. SFredsfan

    Since it is the off season- my solutions to the Reds near miss. Trade Stubbs for Colby Rasmus straight up. Encarnacion is playing well so they might be able to move Stubbs forward as we cannot. Put a package together for David Wright- Frazier, Gregorius, Tavieso & Heisey. Could you imagine the lineup and attitude of the team.
    Left field
    Starting Rotation

    • Hank Aarons Teammate

      Since it is the off season- my solutions to the Reds near miss.Trade Stubbs for Colby Rasmus straight up.Encarnacion is playing well so they might be able to move Stubbs forward as we cannot.Put a package together for David Wright- Frazier, Gregorius, Tavieso & Heisey.Could you imagine the lineup and attitude of the team.
      Left field
      Starting Rotation

      Trading Stubbs for Rasmus straight up would require slipping something in the Blue Jays’ GM’s drink and putting the pen his hand and signing for him.

      • OhioJim

        Trading Stubbs for Rasmus straight up would require slipping something in the Blue Jays’ GM’s drink and putting the pen his hand and signing for him.

        But don’t folks always think along these types of lines (their team’s dead weight for somebody useful) except when they get a solid shot of reality from a trade like the Latos deal? By which I mean to get quality you have to give quality (and sometimes in quantity). In the end, you usually get what you pay for just like every thing else in life..

  18. ToddAlmighty

    I still am wanting the Reds to trade for Choo and try to get a deal done with him. I think he could move to LF (or Bruce could) and then pray Hamilton can get ready for some CF action. Choo/Hamilton/Bruce sounds like an awfully mean outfield. It’s not like Hamilton could give the Reds less offense than Stubbs did in 2012, right?

  19. MarvinBakerDustyLewis

    Kind of sad we’re hoping Stubbs can rebound to his 205 strikeout year, or best case scenario, his best full year when he hit .255 – hell, even Paul Householder and Gary Redus didn’t get this long a leash! I really do think he’s “Dusty’s boy” and as long as the rest of the team carries his sorry weak bat he’ll be stuck out there by the idiot, just like Corey Patterson was here and in Chicago. Let’s see…the Giants haven’t had the best NL record but what have they done recently? And the Cardinals have finished 2nd each of the past 2 seasons…All these complacent “fans” seem to be content getting knocked out early – as long as we have a great regular season record, that’s “good enough”… The Packers went 15-1 last season and the Giants 9-7…do you think the Packers would have preferred to win the Super Bowl? Who remembers the best regular season records? Please dump Stubbs, guys – you’re killing me!

  20. MikeC

    Drew Stubbs career path is starting to look like that of another Reds CF from the past – Corey Patterson. Patterson’s OPS+/WAR from age 26-28:

    Stubbs, ages 25-27:

    The Reds will surely keep Stubbs for another year, but they should be planning on a back up plan for CF.

  21. stormbringer

    Great overview Greg.

    In my opinion, the Reds would be crazy not to resign Bray and Ondrusek. Both can be had for very reasonable amounts, bring them both to Spring Training. Then, we have several options: (1) If they are pitching well, great, they make the bullpen; (2) Given their very reasonable salary amounts, either could be used as trade fodder, at worst case for a low level prospect, at best for a one year rental at the position of choice; (3) we can stash them in the minor leagues, until such a time as they serve either of the first two options, at a minor cost (I think both have one option remaining, though I may be mistaken here); (4) absolute worst case is we cut them and eat the salary, likely under $2.5 mil so well worth the upside risks in the other options in my opinion.

    Stubbs is a different kettle of fish. I don’t know where the organization stands, but our hands are probably a bit tied here. He adds some value, and there is probably no payroll flexibility to go get much of an upgrade. I guess you could try to cut a deal for Parra, which would be an upgrade in my book, but aside from something like that I suspect we don’t have the money to get too creative (though I too would love to see Bruce in CF and Choo in RF – I picked up Choo for Leake in BBTN, he’s my second best player behind Votto).

  22. Zach

    What is the status on Ludwick now? Sorry, I’m always confused by the way MLB handles contracts. He declined the option… so now they either have to give him a new contract or let him go?

    • Shchi Cossack


      What is the status on Ludwick now? He declined the option… so now they either have to give him a new contract or let him go?

      You have a pretty grasp of the situation. The Reds now negotiate with Ludwick along with every other team looking for a LF option for 2013 and beyond.

  23. hotto4votto

    My overall impression is that Latos, Bailey, Leake, Heisey and Simon are no brainers. If I were the Reds I’d try to work out a long term deal for Latos, and a bit shorter term deal for Bailey. The rest I’d let arbitration play out.

    I would tender Bray because I feel, when healthy, he is well worth the money and is an important part of the pen as it would free up Marshall for more high pressure situations. Bray’s issues weren’t arm problems so there is no reason not to believe that he’ll fully recover. Just last year people were talking about Bray being a late innings guy. He’s a better than average pitcher when healthy.

    With Ondrusek, you may tender him and see how things play out in ST, but I struggle to see where he fits into the BP. The Reds will have a closer (Chapman, Brox, FA etc) then Marshall, Masset, Hoover, LeCure, Bray, and Simon. That is leaving out Arredondo and the possibility of Madsen coming back on an incentive laden deal.

    Valdez and Stubbs are more complicated. The Reds will need a back up SS and few back up SS will come as cheap and with the ability to also play a passable CF. Valdez is never going to be an offensive player, but he plays all over the IF capably and already has rapport with the team. I think it would be better to live with Valdez another year than spend more money on the back up role or potentially delay Gregorius development by letting him rot on the bench.

    I am on the trade Stubbs team. I just don’t know what you can get for him. I think the experiment should be over. Call up LaMarre and let he and Heisey split the time there. Or see what you can trade for. I just don’t see how Stubbs helps this team going forward.

  24. steveschoen

    I believe Logan is worth it. I believe he may have been mishandled a bit. It seems to me he isn’t a 70+ appearance reliever. 2011, he (and all) were pushed more due to all the injuries to pitchers. It seems to me Dusty has a set role with his pen, pitching certain pitchers when the team has a lead, an entire different set of other pitchers when the team is behind, not necessarily who may be fresh or not (just my opinion). When the team wins as many games as the Reds did last year, certain pitchers will be pitched more. Logan was in that group.

    Now, I will say, I could easily see Logan signed then traded. But, if he does stay with us, Baker has to back off of him a bit. If I recall correctly, Logan started last season as good as Chapman did; Chapman just got the pub being the Cuban Missile. But, then, many people talk of how you can’t pitch Chapman 4 straight days, much less any closer. Well, that doesn’t mean you can pitch them 3 straight days then skip one day for the entire season, either. That would be 120 appearances. I doubt many pitchers have done that for an entire season. The same would go for any pen pitcher, not just the closer.

    It sort of goes back to when Micah Owings was here. Like him or hate him, I remember one of his last appearances here. He hadn’t pitched for 2 weeks. Then, the Reds had a specific need for a long man in a game. They called on Owings; he pitched poorly. You can’t expect any pitcher not to pitch for 2 weeks and then expect them to be able to pitch well. Owings simply didn’t pitch regularly enough, Logan pitched too much, both IMO, as well as for many, in their opinion, Baker doesn’t use his pen well. Simple solution for Logan, just pull back a bit on him.

  25. steveschoen

    I’m not sure if I would sign Bray. Maybe to a minor league contract, or low contract with incentives. For, when he is healthy, I believe he is worth as good as any loogy out there. As well as, any lefty for the pen out there, if they are worth anything, they are going to cost a lot. If there is anyone else available out there, we may invite them to ST. But, if healthy, I could us bringing Bray back again.

  26. Johnu1

    I’m on the *Amen* train for saying Stubbs has outlasted his welcome. He basically gets what we give him or he faces the little DFA card. The guy was on track to make big money and he hasn’t learned to hit, hasn’t learned to bunt and hasn’t learned to move runners.

    The Reds assured us LAST winter he’d work on that. He bunted on Opening Day and didn’t again till sometime in June. I think he was pretty much given the news when Speier was running the team — sit and wait and when you play, bat 8th. There ain’t no 10th spot in the order, Stubbies.

  27. Johnu1

    @steveschoen: Bray isn’t Arthur Rhodes and I can’t say for sure, but I’d gamble on Cingrani getting something of a Loogy look for the time being.

  28. Johnu1

    @steveschoen: I agree a little on Ondrusek maybe being used too much too early, all that. But part of his problem was that he pitched poorly. All pitchers have bad games, for sure. But if you are pitching poorly, pitch better.

    He is not unlike Bailey and Leake and Latos — when they got beat, they knew why.

    Pitch better.