Last night at midnight was the deadline for teams to offer (“tender”) contracts for the 2014 season to players on their 40-man roster.

Certain players, like Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and even Logan Ondrusek, have already signed contracts that cover 2014.

Other players, like Zack Cozart and Devin Mesoraco, are team-controlled and not yet eligible for arbitration. Since the club alone determines the salary for players in that category, they are generally paid the league minimum, roughly $500,000.

The final group of players — those who are arbitration eligible — often present the most difficult choices for the club. Those players have accumulated at least three seasons of major league playing time and because of that service time, they’ve qualified for having their salaries determined not solely by the club, but instead by a neutral arbitrator. The average player spends their six years of team control in three years of pre-arbitration status and then three years with arbitration.

This winter Reds had easy decisions on several arbitration-eligible players: Homer Bailey, Aroldis Chapman, Mike Leake, Sam Lecure, Alfredo Simon and Ryan Hanigan. Chris Heisey is probably safe, but no sure thing. We should know about him shortly.

We’ve learned from Mark Sheldon this morning that the Reds have declined to offer contracts to outfielders Xavier Paul and Derrick Robinson. That means those players are now free agents and have to look for jobs with other teams.

The non-tender decision on Robinson comes as no surprise, as he was designated for assignment (released, basically) last week to make room for Skip Schumaker on the Reds’ 40-man roster. The decision to non-tender Paul likely indicates that Schumaker, for now, will fill the role of a left-handed outfield bat, not utility infielder. That makes sense considering he only plays second base in the infield, but played all three OF positions for the Dodgers last year.

General Manager Walt Jocketty has a long way to go in finalizing the Reds’ roster heading to Goodyear for Spring Training, so if you’re penciling players into certain slots right now, keep a sturdy eraser nearby.

It’s hard to see the club keeping three catchers on the 40-man list for much longer. I’m hearing a rumor (friend of a friend, so not terribly reliable yet) that Ryan Hanigan is headed to Tampa Bay. That sounds promising as the Rays have a large supply of young pitching talent just below the major league level.

UPDATE: Various sources (Ken Rosenthal, Buster Olney etc.) now reporting that Ryan Hanigan has been traded to the Tampa Bay Rays. Possible three-way deal. Stay tuned for details.

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! 90 Comments

  1. The Rays signed Jose Molina yesterday. From what I read they signed him to be their back up to Lobaton. The Red Sox signed Pierzynski today as well. Seems like the trade market for Hanigan is starting to dry up.

    Also: just a side note, the Reds will carry 3 catchers on their 40-man with Mesoraco, Pena, and Barnhart. Hanigan makes 4 for now. So his (potential) trade would take them down to three.

    • @hotto4votto: I hope they keep all three catchers on the 25-man.

    • @hotto4votto: Reds have agreed to trade Hanigan to the Rays, the Reds announced.

      In fact, this is a three-way trade involving a name that should raise some eyebrows. The Diamondbacks are also involved, with reliever Heath Bell going to the Rays.

      Also involved are left-handed pitcher David Holmberg (headed from D-Backs to Reds) and right-handed pitcher Justin Choate (headed from Rays to Diamondbacks). The D-Backs will also get a player to be named later or cash considerations from the Rays.

  2. While I understand the desire to use Schumaker as the lefthanded backup outfielder over Paul, I don’t get why Paul wouldn’t be used as the primary pinch hitter. In that respect, Paul>Heisey. I don’t see Heisey staying on given the salary he’ll receive in arbitration.

    You could also surmise that this move telegraphs a bigger move—to acquire a big bat for LF rather than opting for a Paul/Ludwick platoon. This could get very interesting….

  3. There is a lot of value on the non-tender front this year. Garrett Jones was surprising. So was Justin Turner (100 OPS+). Cristhian Martinez had a rough year with injuries, but he was good the previous 2 years before that. ROY from 3 years ago, Chris Coghlan?! Whoa. Ryan Webb with his 80 innings, 2.91 ERA and 133 ERA+ will go fast.

    Most importantly, we may have our backup SS. Paul Janish was also non-tendered.

  4. “Certain players, like Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and even Logan Ondrusek, have already signed contracts that cover 2014.”

    One of these names is not like the others……

  5. Does this also signal a certainty that Billy Hamilton is inked in for the 25 man roster?

    • @Matt WI: Long way to go before we can conclude that.

      Trading BP, if that happens, will create a hole at 2B that needs to be filled. So maybe that’s a role for Hamilton. Maybe he starts the year as a utility IF and pinch runner.

      Hamilton’s possible role in the OF will depend on the trade/free agent signing situation. With rumors about the Reds’ interest in Carlos Beltran, it’s clear the Reds are willing to shop for LF as well as CF. So that throws the entire OF picture up in the air until that gets resolved.

      • @Steve Mancuso: In my estimation, Hamilton has to be on the opening day roster (if he is not traded), if only for defensive replacement/pinch running duties. I know folks believe it will retard his development (and it may well do so), but it is hard to argue with how much his base running alone impacted the games he appeared in down the stretch.

      • @Steve Mancuso: Rumor has it that someone, probably the Royals have offered Beltran 3yrs/$48-million… Too rich for my blood. I thought on a 2-year deal you’d see an AAV of about $15-million to $16-million but w/ the third year, I thought we could see that drop to an AAV of $13-million. I was thinking something like 3yrs/$40-million. The market is GOOD. A nice year to be a free-agent.

  6. At any rate, hope both those guys gave luck catching on somewhere. I’ll say this about XP… he held on longer than I thought he would in terms of production. It was a good add when Walt got him, but no concerns letting him go either.

    Bring us something interesting soon, Walt.

  7. Predictions:
    1. Ryan Hanigan is traded to Texas along with Ondrusek for OF Craig Gentry.
    2. BHam is traded to Miami for OF Christian Yelich.
    3. Ludwick is traded to Boston for a mid-level prospect.
    4. BP traded to Atlanta for P Alex Wood.
    5. Homer Bailey signs a 5yr./$85M extension with the Reds.

  8. Cardinals non-tendered Axford. Do not get any ideas, Walt.

  9. Hanigan to the Rays. . . It is rumored to be a three team deal. No word on who the good guys get.

    • @Drew Mac: I really hate seeing Hanigan leave, but the proverbial writing was on the wall, either in 2014 or 2015. Tampa is a the perfect destination for Hanigan and he should excel playing for the Rays. I hope he continues a long and successful career. Hanigan is certainly one of the good guys and he may be as tough as any catcher I have ever seen. The Reds will miss his defense at controlling the running game, but time moves on…

  10. Hanigan for David Price!!! Please!!!

    I’m kidding. I know that’s not happening.

  11. C’mon, be Dejesus or Joyce.

  12. We need to temper our expectations as we await learning the details of the Hanigan trade. The Reds are unlikely to receive a starting player or even a reliable bench player. I’m hoping for a solid pitching prospect, someone in the AA or AAA level that might become a major league starter in the next year or so — depth for the rotation in case of injury, and maybe allow Jocketty to trade Mike Leake for something bigger.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I agree (mostly). The fact that it is a three team deal makes me wonder.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Strange that the only info leak in a proposed 3 team trade is Hanigan going to the Rays. This could be a small part of a big trade or a very minor three player trade involving a couple of prospects.

    • @Steve Mancuso: Good call Steve.

      nice to see the baseball wordpress wake up. While I loved the WKRP Cincy episode, that is hard to carry a guy for 5 days

    • @Steve Mancuso: Here’s what Buster had to say on Hanigan and expectations:

      “[T]he Reds believe they’ll get something good in return for Hanigan, given the lack of catching around the sport and possible interest from teams such as the Red Sox, Rays, Yankees, Phillies, Rockies, etc…. [E]valuators say that Hanigan played through a hand injury last season and are prepared to write off his struggles as an outlier… He also has a reputation as a really good defensive catcher.”

      [This is my first post, so glad to join on, also, let me know if this sort of pasting is not kosher!]

    • @Steve Mancuso: I’ve read plenty who’ve said this. Why is that anyone’s opinion? Hanigan is a great catcher. Behind the dish, he was the second best catcher in the league. At the plate until 2013 he was a strong OBP guy and a grinder. And remember he played much of the year with an injury. The Reds should expect more than a AA or AAA prospect in return. A good catcher is a rare thing.

      • @TC: The three-team aspect of the deal may mean the Reds will get a couple minor league players from the deal. Maybe one from Tampa Bay and one from the third team.

        Hanigan is a good catcher behind the plate. He’s toward the bottom in the batter’s box. He has one year left of team control, although I certainly expect Tampa Bay to sign him to a long-term deal, especially if he becomes their starting catcher.

        A solid pitching prospect – AA or AAA, so close to major-league ready – has value, too. Possibly six years of it.

      • @TC:

        Probably because he’s not a name like McCann, Pierzynski, or Yadier Molina. I’m not going to lie that I’ve always had the impression that he wasn’t very good offensively, but by the end of the year last year (2012) I was surprised at how good his overall stats were and then I was incredibly surprised (in a bad way) at his offensive stats this season.

        So it’s hard to say what Hanigan may command in return given his down year, but regardless it is the right move if the organization truly believes Mesoraco has middle of the order potential. Everyone has been talking about needing another bat and if Mesoraco has the potential to be that bat, then defensive and base clogging guys as well as pitching depth can be addressed.

  13. Steve, you nailed it. The Tampa Times says the Rays are trading their C, Lobaton, to a third team. No other details.

    • @WVRedlegs:

      Another report out of Tampa says that the Reds will be getting the dreaded PTBNL, player to be named later. Just gave Hanigan away.

  14. Lets go with.. Hanigan + Bailey (Package deal, since Bailey likes throwing to Hanigan)+ some midlevel prospects for Wil Myers.

    Guy can dream, right?

  15. A’s also just traded for Craig Gentry, so maybe an OF is now expendable?

    And of course, right as I’m typing that:

    @Ken_Rosenthal: Source: #Athletics are NOT the third team in the Hanigan trade with #Rays and #Reds.

  16. Hanigan, Hamilton, et al. for Price.

  17. D-backs are third team.

  18. Hanigan has signed a three-year, $11 million deal with the Rays. Great contract for a 33-year old catcher.

  19. Hanigan has signed an $11m contract. Pretty penny for a guy…maybe his compensation is going to be interestingly high?

  20. I’m hearing rumors that Brandon Phillips is expecting a trade soon, too. I don’t know where he’d be going to, though. Any thoughts?

  21. Nick Piecoro tweeting he thinks Heath Bell is involved in the deal. Commence angry comments.

  22. People are saying that Heath Bell is coming to the Reds in the trade. One question: why?

  23. This from Tampa times, the deal had been made on Saturday.

    “Hanigan has agreed to a multiyear deal, as the trade has been in place since Saturday, pending negotiations with the Rays.”

  24. AZ may be giving up something more significant to shed Bell’s contract. Eaton, Parra or Prado worth Bell and his contract?

  25. Tampa got the catcher they REALLY wanted and locked him up for 3-4 years. Solid move by the Tampa GM. Another 3 team player swap with absolutely no advance rumors, typical WJ move. Let’s hope the return from Tampa mirrors the results from the last 3 team swap.

  26. Ken Rosenthal reporting the Reds get SP LHP David Holmberg from Dbacks. Supposed to be a pretty good get for the Reds.

  27. David Holmberg. Steve was spot on.

  28. This is what’s interesting. Holmberg spent all season minus 1 start in AA last year, so he’s going to be headed to Louisville. But he’s going to be MLB ready at some point this season…is this a prelude to a bigger deal of a starter?

    • @hermanbates: Has only 1 big league start, otherwise has not pitched above AA. To say he will be ready this year is a bit of a leap. I think it adds depth to the starting pitching, in case of injury.

  29. Bell going to Tampa.

    Holmberg at AA. 5-8 2.32 ERA.

  30. Make that a 2.75 ERA.

    Season Team W L SV G GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB ERA
    2013 Diamondbacks (AA) 5 8 0 26 26 157.1 6.64 2.86 0.69 .270 76.3 % 2.75

  31. Per Holmberg is the #5 Dbacks prospect. I like that for Hanigan.

  32. Per “Inside the ‘Zona” Holmberg is rated as their #6 prospect:

    6. David Holmberg, LHP, 7/19/91 (AA)

    Homberg continued his methodical rise through the minors with yet another successful season. He pitched 157.1 innings for Mobile where he was very durable and efficient. The strikeouts won’t “wow” you, but he remains effective at getting hitters out. He received a very brief call-up and made a start for the Diamondbacks in late August and, unsurprisingly, the talent differential between the Southern League and the National League caught up with him. The future remains bright and the value lies in the bulk of effective innings he’s capable of throwing. Much like Aaron Blair listed above, Holmberg should become a durable innings-eater who can provide 200+ innings on an annual basis. We’ll see him in the majors in 2014 at some point, and he has the ceiling of a number three.

    I like this pickup.

  33. Fangraphs has Holmberg at #7 in the Dbacks system. That’s about the level of prospect I expected to get for him, so this seems like a good deal all around. Certainly for Hanigan, who got a legit payday.

  34. First off, I like the trade. Getting a 22-year-old pitching prospect coming off a 2.75 ERA season in AA doesn’t sound too bad at all.

    My question has to do with arbitration though. I saw that Holmberg had a start in the majors last year. Does that mean that even if he isn’t in the majors this year, it still puts him a year closer to arbitration since he’s been up once? I’ll admit I am not 100% how that all works. If so though, does that mean they have more short term plans for him and possibly means that with the added starting depth, Bailey or Leake are more likely to be dealt now?

    • @ToddAlmighty: No, when a player qualifies for arbitration has to do with MLB service time. If a player spends one day per year on an MLB team for three years, that does not mean he qualifies for arbitration, because he only has 3 days of service time.

      I’m not sure how many days Holmberg was actually on the Dbacks roster, but probably not many. He should still need to get 3 full years of service time to be arb eligible.

      Long story short, the Reds have control of Holberg for 6 major league seasons, and he has two option years remaining (meaning he can be sent to the minors this year and next year before those 6 years start. So a maximum of 8 years of team control.

    • @ToddAlmighty: No, it goes by days in the majors. That used up an option, which means he has one less option year, but he only has .002 years of major league service, which essentially means he is team-controlled for 6 years once he comes up.

  35. I like this kind of trade. Hannigan is now a spare part and from that we get a LH starting pitcher? awesome

  36. Reds are getting Sam Fuld too? White Sox are now involved?

  37. The Old Cossack wants to see more 3-team trades involving the Snakes and Reds. First the Reds get a Choo rental for an extra minor league SS who may not even be starting for the Snakes in 2014. This season the Reds get a top AA starting pitching prospect for an aging (albeit outstanding) extra catcher. In both trades the Snakes gave up a lot and got little in return just to get rid of players they didn’t want with the beneficiaries being the other two teams involved in the trades.

    • @Shchi Cossack: I don’t know, if it’s true that the Rays actually took most of the Heath Bell contract, that’s a pretty huge win for the Dbacks. He’s terrible and owed a lot.

      In general, I agree though, the Reds seem to be doing pretty well in our dealings with the Dbacks.

  38. This is the first one in a whirlwind of moves. Wish the Reds got more from the deal, but time will tell if this is a good one or a bad one. Now there are rumblings from the White Sox and they have a number of prospects who are infielders and outfielders. Would the Reds make a move that would bring prospects for Phillips?

  39. The wheeling and dealing, such as it is, doesn’t give me a lot of reason to believe the Reds are actually getting better. To some end, they are getting different.

    Skippy Schumaker in LF doesn’t get me all giddy with excitement and I am yet to have an opinion on Brayan Cruz, who *might* be the next Javy Valentin. Or not.

    David Holmberg is a lefty who is either a starter, a reliever or a guy who will be the next … um … yeah.

    Or he could be our lefty setup guy with Parra taking Bronson’s spot in the rotation.

    In any case, the next decision will be Brandon Phillips and I am sincere in hoping that Billy Hamilton can get on base 35 percent of the time.

    • @Johnu1: I’ll agree that none of the moves have been earth shattering, but I don’t really get why you’re so down on them.

      First off, Schumaker isn’t the left fielder. I don’t know why you would say that, it’s clearly not true. He’s a guy taking XPs spot, who is basically the same type of player, but plays slightly better defense, and he’s being paid $2.5mil a year, which is what you would expect to pay a guy who’s going to contribute about half a win over a replacement level guy. Hardly a bad deal.

      Second, who is Brayan Cruz? I assume you mean Pena. He is a backup cater, that saves us money, hit pretty well last year, caught Chapman in the past, and allows Devin Mesoraco to get his shot. What’s the problem with that again?

      Finally, where are you getting this reliever stuff for Holmberg? All anyone is talking about is how many innings he’s been able to throw and how durable he is. He’s thrown more than 150 innings in his age 19, 20, and 21 seasons. That my friend is a starting pitcher. And getting a guy who projects to be as good as Mike Leake for one year of Hanigan? That’s a borderline steal.

      So no, none of these are game-changers, but what’s not to like?

      • @al: Sorry on the Cruz-Pena thing. Had one on the brain.

        My thought on Holmberg was when I first saw the name, I looked up his numbers and it wasn’t clear to me what his role would be. I still don’t know for sure other than having learned he has been a minor league starter.

        Schumaker in LF? Ah … Ludwick is our other left fielder. Just sayin’. And he will be ‘Skippy’ to me until he plays a game for the Reds. I disliked him with the Cardinals and I still don’t like him. I have no idea why. I hear he’s a great guy.

        That established, I still don’t know that I see any upgrades yet. Holmberg, possibly. You deal from strength, I realize.

        Cingrani was a starter/reliever/starter. So was Parra, and so will be Chapman. Holmberg a reliever? We shall see, won’t we?

    • @Johnu1: Please stop with the “Skippy”.

  40. This is NOT a good move. Those of you dismissing Hanigan’s worth will come to realize his value to this club come June/July. Mark my words.

    • @payinblood: No one is dissing Hanigan; he’s a fan favorite for good reason. The Reds needed to make this move to (1) commit to top prospect Mesoraco, (2) strengthen the bench offensively, and (3) to keep team payroll down.

      At some point you need to turn the page and give Mesoraco his opportunity. Meanwhile, the Reds bench has been a black hole for years. And lastly, Hanigan 2.0 is in the upper minors in the form of Tucker Barnhart.

      Turning an asset that is starting to cost real $ into a top 10 prospect (a LH starter no less) strikes me as a solid move. If Holmberg turns into an inexpensive Arroyo (innings eater) by 2015, it’s a nice payoff.

    • @payinblood: Hanigan will be missed. No doubt. I was NOT happy when they acquired Pena because a move involving Hanigan was implied. And I’ve argued in this very thread that Hanigan is worth more than a AA prospect. But I’ve had time to thing about both positions and my thinking has come around a bit.

      This is a move for the future, which I am happy to see. WJ has emptied the system to get major league talent. Now he’s restocking, something he failed to do in St Louis which was a factor in his demise. Who knows what this guy will become. It seems apparent that we will be a major league pitcher, probably a #3. If he becomes a 4 or 5 this was a bad move. If he’s a 3, it turns into a positive.

      • @TC: I agree that Hanigan will be missed.

        Also agree that WJ is restocking the system, and that it’s important to do so.

        Don’t agree that Hanigan is worth more than a decent #4 Or #5 starter. If we’d consider Arroyo and Leake to be our #4 and #5 starters last year, in either order, or you saying a platooning Hanigan is worth more than either of them? Not in my book.

  41. At AA Mobile over 41 starts, Holmberg produced numbers that will play well in GABP:

    0.7 HR/9
    2.51 SO/BB
    1.248 WHIP

    Scouting reports from MLB espouse a sinking fastball combined with a tight slider, a biting curve and above average changeup. His approach to pitching looks aggressive and fast-paced while working both sides of the plate. This looks like a middle of the rotation starter who should be major league ready by 2016 when the starting rotation turnover starts unfolding.

    • @Shchi Cossack @Shchi Cossack: I hope for sure that Holmberg has it together before 2016. Two more years in the minors leagues? The guy has 3 years in the pros already.

      • @Johnu1: 2016 has nothing to do with when Holmberg will be ready. 2016 is when the Reds need him to fill out the starting rotation. Latos, Leake and Cueto are all FA after the 2015 season and Bailey is a FA after the 2014 season. By 2016, the starting rotation will look like Cingrani, Stephenson, Chapman, Holmberg & a yet to be determined starter. Of course things change and 2016 is a ways off. A starter could be extended or traded and new starters will be drafted and developed over the next two years, but that is how the rotation will pan out right now. For the 2016 season, Cueto will be 30, Latos will be 28 & Leake will be 28. Extensions will be expensive ($ & years) and risky. If any were going to be extended beyond team control, that probably should have been completed already. All (including Bailey) will receive qualifying offers (refused) and return a compensation pick unless they are traded.

  42. Brantley was not elected to the Reds HOF. Maybe next year, big fella.

Comments are closed.

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, Money stuff, Reds - General


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