Today was the deadline for players and teams to exchange salary figures with all arbitration-eligible players:

By 1 p.m. ET on Friday, teams were required to exchange salary figures with all of their remaining arbitration-eligible players. But the significance of that deadline varies depending on the club.

For many, it’s simply a landmark in the negotiation process. For others, who employ a strategy known as “file and trial” or “file to go,” the meaning is much more concrete. Once figures are exchanged, they cut off settlement talks — at least for one-year deals — and take their chances with an arbitration hearing.

The Reds are one of these “file and trial” clubs. And for the first time since 2001, they will be going to arbitration hearings with multiple players:

After avoiding arbitration with every eligible player at the deadline a year ago, the Cincinnati Reds weren’t able to replicate that success rate for 2018. The Reds struck deals with three players – Billy Hamilton, Anthony DeSclafani and Michael Lorenzen – but will go to arb hearings next month to determine the salaries for Scooter Gennett and Eugenio Suarez.

The idea is to spur settlements ahead of time, like the ones reached with Hamilton, DeSclafani and Lorenzen. Hamilton settled for $4.6 million, DeSclafani for $860,000 and Lorenzen for $1.3125 million, according to sources.

Go read the rest of Zach Buchanan’s piece, as he has a lot more information about the Reds approach to arbitration this year. As it turns out, the Reds aren’t far apart with either Suarez or Gennett, in terms of salary figures.

Cincinnati won’t bargain with either player on a one-year contract, but they can continue to explore multi-year deals. Mark me down as hoping the Reds are able to lock up Suarez to a long-term contract. Since this is Suarez’s first time in arbitration (it is Gennett’s second arb year), however, the Reds may choose to wait and see how things play out in 2018.

But here’s my advice for GM Dick Williams regarding Eugenio Suarez:

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 60 Comments

  1. Somewhat unrelated, but apparently Topps Baseball Cards failed to make a Scooter Gennett Reds card this past season. Even in the update series.

    Just thought it was odd.

    • Makes sense. It’s not like Scooter did anything notable for the Reds last season.

      • You are exactly right, Chad. After all, Topps apparently realizes that hitting 4 homers in a game is no big deal. Scooter’s homers, hits, RBI’s mean nothing and that is why Topps didn’t make a card for him. LOL!

  2. Anyone else see $860k for DeSclafani and think “Wow. What a steal?”

  3. A bit disappointed the Reds are going to arbitration with Suarez. Was hoping they’d just buy up all his FA years and lock him up to a 5-7 year deal.

    • Suarez seems to be the perfect candidate to sign long term – matching his age and talents with the timing of the rebuild. George Springer and Mookie Betts are 2 other players with 3 years of service headed to arbitration with much wider filing gaps.

      Could the Reds be letting the arbitration process play out as a starting point to an extension for Suarez? There are now pretty clear numbers and comps for players at service years 3/4/5.

      As a 4 WAR player, it would seem Suarez wins and signs for 4.2 million in 2018.
      I don’t get the 2018 projection ‘s for a significant decline( Steamer 2.3 WAR). The Reds aren’t moving him off 3b with Senzel coming soon- so they are obviously committed long term to him. What if he puts up another 4 WAR season in 2018? Why would he sign an extension next offseason- just 2 years away from FA when he knows he will likely get $10 million AAV for his final 2 arbitration years anyway?

      Don’t the Reds have to sign him in the next few months to get him under contract for his first 2 years of FA? I can see where they want the Mesoraco contract off the books and another Homer contract year off the books before signing any other 10 figure deals- but waiting till next year might be too late.

      • Yeah, I think if they wait and Suarez puts up another good year, he’s going to play for free agency to make the big money.

      • 10 figure is a bit much!

        • oops- 8 figures- “10’s” of millions.
          I would think 5 years @ $ 55 million ( AAV 11 million) would be close.

  4. Extend Suarez now. Trade Gennett while his value is as high as it’s ever been. It’s not complicated.

    • I haven’t seen anything close to having a 2nd baseman other than Gennnet!! The year that Gennet had is probably close to what he is! He was well thought of but injuries have hampered his career! I think that now.that Suarez had settled down he can shift back to Ss.when Senzrl is ready! Suarez struggled at short from butterflies IMO his ability was not the issue! Peraza does not play defense well enough to put his anemic bat in the same lineup as BHam who does play defense well enough to be in the lineup!! Blandino didn’t do well enough to get a look with Peraza struggling!!

  5. Suarez, I would explore him as trade bait. Take a chance Senzel plays out in the show. Keep Scootter and hope he hits lefties better this year, (he sure has right-handers figured out), or trade him as well.

    The two together won’t make up half of what they pay Votto. Pay them.

  6. Arbitration for Suarez? A player who has developed into a solid third baseman, is willing to play any position, and is a part of a future contending team should be extended without arbitration. As a Reds fan, I’m looking for a more decisive Reds front office.

  7. Reds have done a great job avoiding arbitration over the years. They have a month to get two guys under contract. Can’t see them not doing it.

  8. Should the Reds trade Scooter for prospect(s) now, they’d save at least $5.1MM. If they can move Meseraco at the trading deadline they could save about $6MM on his contract. Gee, that’s about what Tony Watson is expected to sign for in a 2 year deal. Signing a 2nd lefty option for the bullpen when you’ll probably have at least 4 RH starters makes way too much sense for this team.

  9. I try to remain optimistic but its hard when there doesn’t seem to be short term plan or long term plan for the Reds.DW says the right things and I don’t believe you just make a deal just to be making a deal but the other guys in our division are already better and while nobody other then the Cards are doing much we can begin play tomorrow and they all would still be better.I know its a business but Billy at 4.6 mil and going to arbitration with Suarez is puzzling when they were only .5 mil apart.Eugenio is an up and coming star and lets hope they get a long term deal signed quickly before this gets ugly.Scooter had a great year but can he or will he repeat it and 5 mil is a bunch to pay for us.Lets hope he continues and we can flip him for prospects because he will get real expensive next year.

    • Perhaps with Billy it’s because there is still a deal in the works and the new club wanted the year locked down first. I’m speculating, but something about that feels right.

      • Well, if there is a deal, it’s not going to be the much discussed deal with SF. Hamilton would have been worth something but McCutcheon is obviously a better pickup offensively. Who else, if anyone, was kicking the tires?.

        Look at the positives – it would appear that the Pirates are now in full teardown mode. Fourth place is within reach…….

        • With Cutch locked in to the SF OF for a season, the Giants may be more interested in Hamilton rather than less interested in Hamilton. The SF OF defense was poor last season, but the offensive OF production was even worse. Cutch’s offense helps with the OF offensive improvement and his defense plays in the corner, but Cutch’s defense in CF would be a big problem playing in the NL west and with 81 home games in SF. I can see a path for Hamilton playing in SF, but the caveat is the realy poor SF minor league prospects, especially after Shaw, Beede & Ramos.

          • Mr. Cain? Mr. Lorenzo Cain? Please pick up the white courtesy phone……….

            I mean, the Giants can afford to spend big if they so choose.

          • They could be considering Cutch for LF, in which case Hamilton still makes sense. That said, what “Kettering Reds Fan” said is probably more likely. Cain will cost $$ and they have some $$. The package for Cutch wasn’t overwhelming but their farm system is getting thinner and thinner. They may not want to give up much else and the return for Hamilton even if they are willing may not be what Hamilton is worth.

    • James, it looks to me like The Plan is to keep pushing The Plan into the future so that the Reds make no serious attempt to be winners this season or next season or even the next season. But don’t worry The Plan is for the Reds to have another great team sometime— in the distant future. You can take that to the bank.

  10. Thank you for the Rounders (“KGB”) gif!

  11. I think there will be a multi-year deal with Suarez ahead of the hearings. At minimum, they’ll buy out the 3 years of arbitration. I think they’ll roll the dice with Scooter and, frankly, I think the Reds will win that one. I love Scooter, but I think he’s asking a tad too much based on one year’s performance.

    Then again, I’m not the GM nor am I a player or an arbiter.

  12. Suarez has dramatically improved his plate discipline. Obp up to + .108 more than his batting average

    We need to extend him, however much we can. He is locked into 3.5 – 5 war season’s in my opinion, barring injury. Even a plus 2 years will do. His value is going to climb dramatically with one more 4 war season.

  13. I think the problem again lies with the ownership, These are all things that I’m sure Dick Williams understands. What I am less sure of is what ownership thinks. Besides Votto, most of the rest of the Red’s “long term signings” have come a cropper in terms of value versus money paid out; Mesoraco, Brandon Phillips, Homer.
    I think Red’s ownership is pretty skeptical of their own baseball experts.

    • In all fairness, the BP deal wasn’t upside down. The last year involved eating some money but he had some surplus value going into the final 2 years… He ended up being a fair deal… Homer’s contract and Mes’ contract were both injury riddled. Injuries happen. I wasn’t thrilled with Homer’s contract when it was signed but felt it a fair market deal for a #2 type starter who should be in his prime. I was very high on the Mesoraco deal when it was done. It just didn’t work out. Both of those deals just ran into a mess of bad luck.

  14. Suarez is close to the point where he should not sign with the Reds, play out 2019 and 2020 and hit free agency.

    His agent could easily advise to take a portion of his $4M (or so) salary for this year and put it with Lloyd’s of London on a career-ending injury insurance policy.

    Arenado is getting $17.8M this year (on a contract) in his last year before free agency.
    Using that as a compass point, Suarez could get 9M or 10M next season, just in arbritration year 2.

    Lindor won’t sign away his early FA years with Indians, K Bryant won’t with Cubs.
    Several reports have A Rizzo regretting signing his extension.

    Suarez not signing soon for beyond 2020 presents yet another uncertainty on who is the core of the “Next Good Reds Team.” (TM)

  15. Actually, Arenado has a 4th arbitration year in 2018, then free agency in 2019.

    That actually makes the situation even more compelling for Suarez to play things out and hit free agency, seeing the kind of $ top 3B can get before free agency.

    If small market teams cannot get young stars to agree to stay during their early free agent seasons, it makes it very difficult to keep a core together long enough to have a contention window.

    • Not correct.
      Nolan has a contract for this year, then one more year of arbitration.
      He will be a FA in 2020

      • Yep, had the year setting off by a season.
        Arenado is making 17.8M in 2018, 4th year arb in 2019, FA in 2020.

        To make matters more confusing, Steamer is projecting Suarez to only produce 2.4 WAR in 2018.

        Do the Reds try and leverage that, convince him to take the guaranteed $ for 5-6 years now?

        Or, does Suarez bet on himself, wait to see if he is on track at mid-season for 3-4 WAR, and just arb his way out to a big free agent payday in 2021?

        Potentially interesting sub-plot while the kids sort out who is the established rotation this summer.

        • ZiPS projects him at 3.5 WAR. I think ZiPS is probably the more likely projection for him.

        • The Reds may let the arbiter decide then if Saurez doesn’t want to do an extension and he continues to improve he would have substantial value at the 18 trade deadline! I would like to see him get his arbitration years and a couple of more locked in!! He decided that since the best hitter in the game was right there he was going to.tale advantage and learn from him!!! He must spend every game day in Votto’s hip pocket!!! I know he is.maturing as he plays but his discipline this past season was picking JV’ s brain!! I would love to see Hamilton try it!!

  16. If we extend Suarez long term, he’s just going to follow suit with others who’ve trod that path before: get injured multiple times and essentially become ineffective for much of the contract (see Mesoroco, Devin and Baily, David). We’ll jinx him if we do!

    • You did skip over the ones that worked out like Cueto, Votto and to an extend Bruce.

  17. I agree with Old School and TR. Suarez is a perfect age related candidate to sign for 5-6 yrs. Watching his manners and demeanor in the dugout and in interviews shows me a lot of character. Not the kind of player to cause problems. Of course the tremendous HR power and sterling defense doesen’t hurt anything.

  18. As a side note, the Pirates just finished signing Gerrit Cole to a contract, and then promptly turned around and traded him to the Houston Astros for four younger players.
    Just because a team signs a player, doesn’t mean they are going to keep him. They do the “heavy lifting” of negotiating a contract, and then this can be a selling point in a trade.

  19. I’d love to see the Reds extend Suarez; however, Suarez has to be open to an extension. If he’s not, he’s at peak value right now. With Senzel nearly ready, the Reds need to consider moving him for prospects.

    • I’m with you BK, Obtaining full value for Suarez in prospects this year could propel the Reds near the top in minor league rankings. Reds probably get the ss or cf prospect they want, a top-of-the-rotation arm , plus another decent prospect. Senzel is the Reds future 3rd baseman, if they have much of a future-that is.

      • bouwills the REDS would need that to reach the top of the minors then 3 or 4 more to get to the bottom of the majors.

        • The Reds have already gotten to the bottom of the ML for 3 years running with Suarez. With the current roster & minor league prospects they can achieve no better than mediocrity over the next 2 seasons.What’s to lose/

          • You’re basically sliding in a perpetual rebuilding process in my opinion if you keep trading away productive guys who have 2-3 years of control left for other prospects. The returns in some of the trades this off-season have been uninspiring. I’m not saying Suarez is untouchable, no player should be. What I am saying is that you don’t move him unless you get blown away on an offer and I’d want MLB talent coming back in the deal too. Suarez and Senzel can possibly each play 2B or in the OF if needed. If Senzel’s bat is as good as it seems, the Reds will find a place for him to play.

            Lastly, the Reds have said 2018-2019 as the beginning of the next competetive window since the beginning of the “retool” and then “rebuild”. 2019 was pretty much supposed to be the year. Moving Suarez would suggest the window is after 2020. That would mean the rebuild was a disaster and the Reds should completely start over again. I would think this would be a 5-7 year rebuild. That’s simply not acceptable.

  20. I would question trading Suarez for prospects even if that did include a future centerfielder and/or shortstop. That would be a loss of right handed power that could set back the Reds chance of contending beyond 2020. And if Peraza doesn’t work out at shortstop this season, Suarez could take over that position in 2019 with
    Senzel at third base.

  21. Fangraphs has released their top 26 Reds Prospects for this year. The comps were pretty interesting as 3 former Reds were included: Laynce Nix, Sam LeCure and Adam Dunn. Senzel is also compared to Daniel Murphy, which is really nice.

    Interesting read, especially on the higher prospects.

    • Actually, there are 4 former Reds. I forgot that Roger Bernandina was a Red.

  22. My doubts about Saurezs glove have been laid to rest. The misgivings I had when he was at WE I tempered with I thought It was playing fearfully!!! He has the tools defensively and his stick is most likely going to improve!!! The Reds will probably have no choice but return him to SS and IMHO he will be well above average! He is comfortable and confident now and the difference will be apparent!!!

  23. While certainly not earth shattering news or anything nearly as significant as a contract extension for Eugenio that covers his remaining arbitration and a year or two of free agency, the replacement of Delino Deshields as manager of the Bats with Pat Kelly’s promotion from the Blue Wahoos and the hiring of Jody Davis as a manager for the Blue Wahoos represents some positive news for the Reds organization. Of course that’s all predicated on Delino Deshields moving to a position outside the Reds organization rather than being shuffled to another position within the Reds organization.

  24. Congratulations to Pat Kelly and Jody Davis. Here’s hoping Deshields nor Riggleman are eventually shuffled up the Red’s command structure as the manager. Different topic but is appears after the Giants/Reds talks broke down regarding Hamilton, that McCutchen is headed to SF.

    • We are doomed to play a weak-hitting center fielder for years, and years, too come. What a joy.
      The Reds were likely asking more for Hamilton than the Pirates were for McCutchen.

      • Bad weekend in Pittsburgh.

      • Joke of a front office. Just never ends does it !!!

      • I assume the Reds were asking for more than a minor league reliet pitcher and an outfield prospect in A ball. Hamilton might not be worth more than that, but the Reds are in no hurry to trade Hamilton. It would be different if there was another CF waiting in AAA or the Reds were in teardown mode. I would rather keep him as the 4th OF and use him for defense and pinch running and acquire a CF through another trade or free agency than get a low level prospect

      • Not unless they extend him. He doesn’t have years and years left in a Reds’ uniform

Comments are closed.

About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

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