5 p.m. today was the deadline for clubs to make decisions on whether they would extend “qualifying offers” to players departing for free agency. This year, the qualifying offers were $14.1 million for one year. If the player declines and signs with another club, the offering team receives a compensation pick in the June first-year player draft. Those picks take place between the first and second round (often referred to as ‘sandwich picks’ for that reason), and are made in reverse order based on winning percentage.

The only player to whom the Reds extended an offer this year was outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. Choo is expected to decline the offer. He has until one week from now to decide. Even if Shin-Soo chooses that route, the Reds can still compete to sign him as a free agent and GM Walt Jocketty has given several indications the Reds will do so aggressively. Few, if any, outside observers believe the Reds will win that competition. Then again, no one foresaw Joey Votto’s extension or the Reds bidding so aggressively on Aroldis Chapman.

The Reds did not extend offers to Bronson Arroyo, Zach Duke, Cesar Izturis, Manny Parra and Nick Masset.

Presumably, the Reds didn’t offer Arroyo because they were concerned he might accept it. The $14.1 million contract likely wouldn’t fit into the Reds’ payroll plans for 2014. The Reds have five other major league ready starting arms (Cueto, Bailey, Latos, Leake and Cingrani) plus the possibility of moving Aroldis Chapman to the rotation.

There’s a chance Arroyo might have declined the Reds’ offer, especially in light of the generous extension contract signed by Tim Lincecum. But other reports have estimated that Arroyo is looking at signing a two-year deal in the neighborhood of $24 million. If that’s the case, he may have preferred one year at a higher average annual salary and then entered the free agent market in 2015. The Reds apparently didn’t want to take that chance.


Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 62 Comments

  1. Good decisions all around. Choo is an excellent offensive player against righties, but not against lefties. Let somebody else have him for 5/$80mm (or more), because like all such contracts, it would eventually become an albatross. See Phillips, Brandon.

    • @Big Ed:

      Choo is an excellent offensive player against righties, but not against lefties. Let somebody else have him for 5/$80mm (or more), because like all such contracts, it would eventually become an albatross.

      I respectfully disagree on a couple points. Choo is better than excellent against RHP. He just kills RHP to the tune of .317/.457/.554 last season & .288/.389/.465 for his career. Against LHP he’s not excellent, but as a top-of-the-order hitter (the role he would fill with the Reds), he has an OBP of .347 last season and .340 for his career. Those are above league average numbers. Choo’s game does not rely on speed, power or defense (although he has some of each) so his game should age well. If the Reds can get a 5yr/$80MM with an option tied to a large buyout for the 6th year, pay it and put him in a Reds uniform for the next world series run. After 2014, he takes over in LF when Ludwick leaves. That leaves an offensive hole for the #2 spot in the lineup as the only real necessity. Please get Choo inked.

      • @Shchi Cossack: Choo’s numbers against lefties aren’t so bad as to not want him in the lineup. His numbers against lefties were no surprise coming into the season. If anything, I had expected Choo to have more long balls than he did.

  2. If they extended a QO to Arroyo and he rejected it, he would be tied to draft pick compensation. Who would sign Arroyo for 2 years and anywhere near 14m/ year if they lose a draft pick to do so? Him rejecting a QO would kill his market value, which is the main reason he would have accepted had it been offered.

    • @Omri: Yeah, not being tied to a compensation pick will help Arroyo land a larger contract.

    • @Omri: I disagree. Arroyo has said many times that this is likely his last contract and he will seek a multi-year deal. I think he would have declined for that reason even if he was tied to draft pick considerations. You are correct that it would have driven his value down, but not to the point where he remains unsigned.

      Given how good Arroyo has been for the Reds, how much goodwill was there, I think the Reds threw him a bone here. We’ll let you go with a handshake and a smile. Arroyo could end up back with the club in some capacity down the line. I think this is a step toward that end.

      • Given how good Arroyo has been for the Reds, how much goodwill was there, I think the Reds threw him a bone here.

        I think that’s a good call. Makes it easy as possible for Bronson to get whatever he’s looking for out there.

        • @Matt WI: Also agree with David’s call. Bronson has repeatedly said he’s going for a multi-year deal. The Reds didn’t want to hamstring him with the “qualifying” offer. I wish Bronson the best.

    • @Omri: And to be clear, this is a feature of the revised CBA, not a bug.

    • @Omri: I agree that Bronson wanted a multi-year deal and would have likely turned down a QO and that Reds management likely threw him a bone by not extending a QO. And, to be honest, I’m pretty upset about it.

      This is a business. The Reds owe Arroyo nothing except the terms of the contract. Let’s keep in mind the Cards picked up Wacha as a compensation pick. Are you guys saying you’re willing to give up a Wacha-type prospect in order to make a guy who is never going to play for you again and was open about there being no chance at a “home team discount” happy as he leaves to pitch for your opposition?

      I just do not understand this move at all.

      • @Kyle Farmer: Because as Steve said, there is always the chance that Arroyo’s agents convince him that he would be better off accepting the one year deal for more money and reentering the free agent market next year, in which case the Reds would be stuck paying Arroyo above market value next year, when chances are they might not even need him. I think this is better for everyone

  3. Fare thee well, Mr. Arroyo. Thanks for everything.

    • @Matt WI:

      Agreed. Feel like not making him an offer was somewhat of a courtesy, that I think he deserved. I just don’t want to have to face him next year pitching for the Giants or Dodgers. Can’t you just see him knowing the ins and outs of our lineup and owning us?

      • @JMac1984: Can you see the Cardinals doing this for someone out of courtesy? Ask Kyle Lohse. Bad, bad move by the Reds.

        • @Kyle Farmer: I agree with that. The Reds paid Arroyo quite handsomely in his last contract, and Arroyo lived up to it. All square. If there is a good financial reason not to make the QO, that’s one thing. (Maybe $14 million is too much to risk paying if the Reds have other options, etc.) … But if this was just as much of a courtesy to help him find a new team more easily, well, it still is a business. And the players/agents are the first ones to remind fans of that.

  4. Bring back Parra on a long term deal quickly Walt. Left handed relievers with stuff are golden.

  5. I’m looking at the list of the 13 FA who received qualifying offers. There is not a single player on that list who I would give the contract needed to sign them AND give up a 1st round draft pick. I would enthusiastically want to see a few playing for the Reds, but not for the cost and draft pick. That leaves Choo as the only player on the list that I can see who really interests the Reds.

    Choo is such a talent AND a solid person and teammate. What a perfect fit for Cincinnati. I can’t see Cincinnati competing in 2014 without Choo hitting in the top of the order.

    • @Shchi Cossack: It will be tough not seeing Choo lead off next year if that is indeed how things work out, but let’s just remember that we won more games in 2012 with Drew Stubbs leading off. I have faith in Walt to figure out what to do with the outfield next year.

  6. Hopefully the Reds FO will have learned something from the huge phillips/votto contracts and be happy they rolled the dice with choo last year and got 7s. Knowing how this reds organization runs, they will probably overpay Choo and he will get hurt next year like he is inclined to do

    • @zab1983: ??? Choo has played at least 144 games in 4 of the last five season, most of which were over 150 games, including 154 in 2013 for the Reds. He’s not injury prone.

  7. With Choo and Votto being two of the league leaders, the Reds were 2nd in OBP in the NL. Removing Choo’s numbers drops the Reds to 7th in OBP. The Reds were tied for 9th in the NL in SLG%.

    7th in OBP and 9th in SLG% is a tough place to start from in putting together an offense. I don’t see how the Reds compete in 2014 without him at the top of the line-up either.

    • @MikeC: The stats sure do beg for something to happen. This team is a threat to be very average on offense without something that resembles a 1-2 leadoff punch. Not like that’s a unique problem but the rest of the NL-C isn’t going to wait for the Reds to score runs.

  8. With folks wringing their hands that the Reds can’t compete without Choo in 2014, I couldn’t help but wonder, in their heart of hearts how many people really foresaw Choo coming to the Reds for 2013 season???

    My point is, there is some player or combination of players excluding Choo that can be assembled that would enable the Reds to do as well or better than they did in 2013. All we can do is hope that as he has done in the past, Jocketty can put together such a combination of talent for the Reds in 2014.

    • @OhioJim: Oh, I think we will be competitive almost regardless of what the moves will be, especially if a new hitting instructor works and Price does bring the playing attitude that he was talking about, what we all saw missing with Baker. I think those two moves right there would be good for 5 additional wins, maybe even 10.

      I’m not talking about we can do a Tampa Bay salary dump. But, I don’t see us being a below 500 team at all next season regardless.

  9. I like the decisions of Choo and Arroyo. Like I said before, the Reds could go so many ways, I don’t think there is any bad move. Not offering Arroyo simply showed that they believe they can get similar enough results from Cingrani at a fraction of the cost. Then, if Choo accepts, we can use that money to sign Choo. As well as, it would be nice to have a left hander in the rotation.

    Don’t get me wrong. I like Arroyo. However, everyone gets worse at some point in time. And, Arroyo’s time is coming. It happens to everyone. And, for Bronson, it could easily happen next season. Not that I don’t think it would have, for I do think Bronson still possibly had 1-2 decent seasons in him. But, it would simply be a costly bet for that, a bet I don’t think the Reds should take given we have someone like Cingrani standing ready.

    In that vain, especially if we do move Chapman to start. Hey, thinking about it, what about Chapman and Cingrani doing something like taking turns starting, like every other start. And, the one who’s “off for the day” would get a couple of relief appearances in order to still stay sharp during the time off starting. Ideas there?

    As well as, we could still sign Arroyo. This shows only we didn’t want to sign him at the QO figure. I do think Bronson will get on somewhere else. As for with us, if he would take maybe $8-10 million per, I think I might tap that.

    I do think we should at least keep Parra if not Duke. Left handed relievers could come at a premium. And, I don’t think we have any coming up in the minors.

    I felt Masset was and is gone. I do like him. And, I hope he can hook on somewhere and make a go at it. But, we haven’t seen him in about 2 seasons. His time was done here.

    Cesar isn’t going to be too hard to replace if he doesn’t re-sign.

    • @steveschoen: actually, it would be quite difficult to replace Cesar’s ineptness from another Major Leaguer.

      • @RiverCity Redleg: I think Danny Descalso would be close. If Izturis played all year, I think he’d have similar numbers to Descalso with similar above-average defense. Either way, I hope Izturis is gone. I’d much rather have Henry Rodriguez up getting some MLB experience so we know if he’s a real player or not for the future.

  10. I think the Reds should try to keep Parra. I just hope the loss of Arroyo doesn’t mean they’re going to rush Stephenson to the big leagues before he’s ready. It might have been nice for him to have the luxury of one more “no pressure to be ready” season.

    • @Bill Lack: Another good reason to begin moving Chapman to the starting rotation.

      • @Shchi Cossack: I would be surprised if Stephenson is rushed given the current MLB starters and if Chapman is part of the group for total of 6. Reds will also have several guys at AAA with a lot of innings who should be able to fill in if needed for servicable #5 duty. The caveat is if Walt decides that losing Choo hurts offense too much and packages up one of MLB level starters(Homer?, Leake?, Cingrani?) to get a hitter and then Reds get hit by injury bug in-season and needing to rely on more that one of those AAA guys.

        i also agree on keeping Parra, he provides lots of flexibility in bullpen to get out lefty-hitters and endurance to go more than one inning.

  11. Whew! . . . For the past couple of weeks, I have had a recurring dream where the front office messes up the paperwork and puts “Zach Duke” where “Shin Soo Choo” should go on the QO form.

  12. Thank you, congratulations, and good fortune to Bronson Arroyo. The Reds will miss his 200 innings pitched per year and his presence in the Reds rotation. I will not miss the goodly number of gopher balls he gave up, though. His arm is better suited for a larger ballpark.

    The potential Free Agent list for this winter sure doesn’t look that great for picking up a big RH bat. Older So-so players and PED users to pick from.
    WJ has got to do everything possible secure the signature of Choo or Ellsbury for the top of the lineup.

  13. I found this comment by Keith Law interesting in view of our praise for Bronson.

    “He fills up the strike zone and takes the ball every fifth day, which is somewhat faint praise but still makes him a $2 million to $3 million fifth-starter candidate on a one-year deal.”

    $3 million? I want him for $3 million

  14. Id think San Fran or LA would be good places for Arroyo’s style of pitching.

    Im curious myself to see what goes down with Bailey and Latos on extensions. I’d like to see Mr. Choo return but I got to figure there are going to be alot of clubs wanting to sign him.

  15. Yesterday, Mark Sheldon provided an update on the search to fill out the coaching staff…

    Without going into specifics, Jocketty said that the interviews of potential hires have begun.

    “We’re still meeting and I’m still in Arizona doing that,” Jocketty said. “Hopefully by next week, we’ll have some decisions on guys and have a better idea of where we’re at with our staff.”

    The off-season priority list for additions hasn’t really been made yet as the coaching staff remains ahead on the to-do list. Jocketty wants Price and the staff involved in talks of potential moves. Jocketty will remain in Arizona until the GM meetings begin on Monday in Orlando.

    I can undesstand the delay initially due to the WS and possible candidates not yet available, but the clock is ticking on some of the coaching decisions and player decisions.

    • @Shchi Cossack:

      I understand the angst. I too think time is of the essence here. Nonetheless, I think most of us are really going to like this new coaching staff.
      I hope they have a press conference and introduce them at the same time instead of just issuing a press release. Lets get this new era started off on the right foot and build some chemistry and commraderie from the get go.

    • @Shchi Cossack:

      Cos, Have you seen what Matt Williams is doing with the Nationals coaching staff?
      Kept all the coaches. Then added a sabermetrics coach.
      “The biggest difference, however, will be the new position created by Williams. It signals a change in philosophy from Davey Johnson. Williams spoke openly at his introductory press conference about embracing the new wave of advanced statistics and analytics. “I want to use all of it, but I want to use all of it in the right way,” he said.
      Next season, the Nationals will have a seventh coach on staff, Mark Weidemaier, formerly an advance scout and a special assistant in the Arizona Diamondbacks front office, to serve as an advance coach focused on defensive alignments. Weidemaier will be in uniform and in the dugout, but will be tasked with working with the Nationals other advance scouts and video scouts and filter the information down to the coaching staff.”

      Interesting. Wonder if Price will follow suit?? He does have the Diamondbacks in his resume, much like Williams.

  16. This is an interesting tidbit that I have not seen mentioned before. Add this to the discussion about Homer, Chapman, and Bronson. Remember folks we are a small budget team. The signing of Choo and the future costs of Bailey and Chapman are serious money considerations along with the continued growth of Votto’s salary. The trading of both Chapman and Bailey along with the resigning of Bronson and elevation of Cingrani look logical to me.
    Robb Hoff Yahoo Sports wrote;
    Homer Bailey -The promotion of Price might prove an impetus for Homer Bailey to consider a contract extension because of his proclaimed appreciation for Price. If not, Bailey will be pitching his final season for the Reds unless he is traded first. After waiting eight years for the perennial can’t-miss prospect to finally produce ace-caliber numbers, the Reds now face the reality that the time is coming for Bailey to find greener pastures in a bigger market. Bailey has thrown more than 200 innings for the past two years while posting a 3.68 and 3.49 ERA respectively and tossing two no-hitters. In his final year of arbitration eligibility, Bailey stands to reap the reward for his success to the tune of $9 million. As much as Price and Reds’ Country want Bailey in the rotation for one more year, the trade yield that the Reds could command for Bailey before the season starts may prove too tempting to pass on.
    Bronson -The Reds will gain $6.5-million in payroll relief with the departure of veteran pitcher Bronson Arroyo via free agency but will still be on the hook for the remainder of $15-million in deferred money installments that Arroyo will receive annually through the year 2021.
    Chapman-The primary concerns about switching Chapman from closer to starter are an innings limit and development of a third pitch for Chapman to add to his 100-m.p.h fastball and 92-m.p.h slider. Neither concern should stop the switch by spring training unless of course the Reds decide to trade Chapman, which was recently speculated in a deal that would send Detroit Tigers’ pitcher Rick Porcello and power-bat prospect Nick Castellanos to the Reds for Chapman. Chapman is in the final year of his contract with the Reds because his $5-million player option for 2015 won’t be enough to keep him with the team. His salary arbitration eligibility converted his $3-million salary for 2014 into a bonus that will be added to his arbitration value. The two-time All-Star is looking at a big pay increase that could cause the cost to keep him with the Reds in 2014 to soar over $10 million. With those kinds of numbers at stake, Chapman’s next defection — to a big-market team — is just a matter of time.

    • @George M: Is that correct on Chapman? I have seen both that he is signed thru 2016 and that like it says here only thru 2015.

      Is it truly a player option for 2016?

      • @reaganspad: According to Cot’s, Chapman is only signed through next year (2014) and has a player option of $5-million for the 2015 season. The Reds also will owe Chapman parts of his signing bonus for the next several years; to the tune of $1.25M each Nov. 1 from 2014 through 2020.


        • @LWBlogger: I think there is a little bit of a “gotcha”. Yes, it is a player option for 2015 however, seeing as how it would be the 6th year of the contract; and, this has been his only major league contract, if he declines the option, he will not have the MLB service time to be a FA and will instead fall into the category of arbitration eligible for 2015.

          Furthermore, since spent part of his first year not in the major leagues, he will fall short of 6 years of service time and still be under team control as arbitration eligible in 2016. At least this is my understanding of the rules.

          • @OhioJim: Thanks Jim for explaining to me what I thought I knew. Chapman is under Reds control for 2014 and 2015 contrary to the Yahoo Robb Hoff.

            I can understand how that contract gets misread especially with his service time

          • @reaganspad: I feel certain about through 2015; and, as I indicated, I think because Chapman spent the better part of his first season in the minors, he is going to be short 6 years of MLB service after the 2015. Thus he will still be under team control (arb eligible) for 2016.

          • @OhioJim: Makes sense anyway. You may be right that there is a gotcha in there with him falling short of his MLB service time for FA.

  17. Many need to hold up on Bronson for a bit. This only means that the Reds didn’t want to pay the QO for Bronson. We could still sign Bronson. After Bronson goes out and markets himself, if he doesn’t like the numbers he getting, he could always try to come back here. I assume it would just be at a big discount, then.

  18. Jon Hey reported this evening…

    The Yankees, looking to set themselves up in case star second baseman Robinson Cano signs elsewhere, have checked in with the Reds regarding Brandon Phillips and also asked about free-agent second baseman Omar Infante.

    Phillips is said to be available in the right trade, but word is, the initial price is way too steep. Of course, that’s the way the Yankees look at Cano’s $300 million asking price, as well.

    • @Shchi Cossack: Its nice to see the Reds aren’t just giving him away. I wouldn’t mind if they traded him and picked up Infante for 2-3 years for the right price (ie, good prospects for Phillips and good deal for Infante).

      • @rhayex: I’m not sold on Infante as much as other people. He had a good season in 2013, but the previous two seasons were journeyman performances and he is entering his age 32 season in 2014.

        There are teams out there in serious need of a good 2B. Once Cano signs, the availability of good 2B is very sparse and the FA market is completely barren. That’s when the real market value of Phillips will be determined.

  19. Reported by Anthony Mccarron/New York Daily New…

    Curtis Granderson said in a radio interview Tuesday that he is considering accepting the Yankees’ qualifying offer of $14.1 million for one year, echoing what his agent said last week.

    “Well, it’s definitely something you’ve got to think about and I appreciate the Yankees extending that offer to me,” Granderson said during an appearance on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM.

    This is why the Reds failed to extend a qualifying offer to Arroyo. If Granderson is considering accepting the offer, Arroyo would have most certainly accepted a qualifying offer.

    I don’t see any logic to the notion that the Reds failed to extend the qualifying offer out of the goodness of their hearts so Arroyo could negotiate a better contract as a FA. That just doesn’t make any sense.

    • @Shchi Cossack: There is one big difference though. Granderson had an injury-marred season and he just might not have much hope for a better deal. If he takes this offer and has a nice 2014, then he can go back on the market after a successful season. That said, I have said that I felt Arroyo would accept the qualifying offer if he was given one. It’s a guaranteed 14-million. Of course he may have declined if he felt he could get 2yrs/$24-million on the open market even with the signing team having to forfeit a draft pick.

      • @LWBlogger: I agree…Arroyo is a case of what can happen sometimes… the home team establishes the baseline of whatever the salary has been, and realistically, the rest of the market isn’t going to pay the same amount of money. Arroyo is not going to get what he had been earning with the Reds anywhere else. For the Reds to keep him, they’d have to pay the premium of the qualifying offer, but odds are Arroyo may be trading years for money anywhere else. And… he’ll still be getting deferred payments from the Reds for awhile correct?

      • @LWBlogger: We are both agreeing, but with slightly different points of reference. Granderson is going to get a big payday, either by taking the qualifying offer or going FA and getting a big multi-year contract. The injury last season will be a factor, but only in the sense of how big and how long the multi-year contract will be. There’s a risk both ways for Granderson. If he takes the qualifying offer and has another injury marred season, his value will go way down next season. If he declines the qualifying offer and has a career norm season in 2014, he will have left a lot of payolla on the table. In that context, Bronson would have been in the same boat. If he would have accepted a qualifyinging offer (now a mute point) and he pitched to a serious regression in 2014, his next contract would have been a meer pitance, if anything. If he declined a qualifying offer and signed a two-year contract and pitched to a serious regression, he locked up his maximum contract to end his career. It means nothing now, but I guess we have to talk about something until the winter meetings and off-season deals and FA signings start shaking out.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.


2014 Reds


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