The Cincinnati Reds are taking care of business today. In their latest set of moves the team has avoided arbitration with newly acquired outfielder Yasiel Puig and starting pitcher Tanner Roark. Those two join Michael Lorenzen, Jose Peraza, Scooter Gennett, and Anthony DeSclafani as players who agreed to 1-year contracts for the 2019 season today. That leaves just Alex Wood remaining among players that were eligible for arbitration this year for Cincinnati.

Yasiel Puig made $9.214M last year with the Dodgers. He went out and hit .267/.327/.494 in 125 games for the National League champions with 21 doubles, a triple, and 23 home runs in 444 plate appearances last season. That was good for a 120 OPS+, which would put him in the same range as Jesse Winker, Scooter Gennett, and Joey Votto in terms of OPS+ among Reds players. His deal was worth $9.7M. That is significantly lower than his projected number of $11.3M from MLB Trade Rumors.

Starting pitcher Tanner Roark’s 1-year deal is worth $10M. That’s just above the $9.8M estimate that MLB Trade Rumors believed he would get in arbitration. Last season with the Nationals he made 31 starts and one relief appearance. He posted a 4.34 ERA in 180.1 innings – good for an ERA+ of 98. That would have tied him with Luis Castillo for the best ERA+ on the season.

All of these deals today give the Reds a firm grasp on what their current payroll will be. With only Alex Wood remaining, the current payroll is set at $103,575,000. The Reds saved a little bit of money versus what was projected thus far. Steve Mancuso’s post from December showed what the projections had, and the Reds are under that right now. With only Alex Wood remaining, the Reds have saved $3.425M. That may or may not make a big difference, but it could be the difference in being able to bring someone in via trade, or filling out a spot in the bullpen, too.

38 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    Wow! Just one more to wrap up. I get the feeling that comes yet today. Definitely sets the tone for any trades either now or leading up to the AS break.

  2. Matthew

    I’m sure it was easier to convince Puig and Roark because of the tax differences between Cali, D.C. and Ohio.

    • Matthew

      Highest income tax rates

      Cali – 12.3%
      D.C. – 8.95%
      OH – $227.30 flat rate + 3.247% over $15,000

      Are big leaguers taxed the same way as any other profession?

      • Matthew

        I was wrong about Ohio!
        Their rate will be $8,333.44 flat rate + 4.997% above $217,400.

      • ToBeDetermined

        You are taxed where you work 1st. Then you are taxed where you live. And your resident state gives you credit for the taxes you pay to those work states.

        So ultimately it depends where you reside.

      • Michael Smith

        They do pay taxes based on state game is played in i.e. Texas roadtrip to no state tax, west coast swing is far more expensive.

  3. Sliotar

    A little spitballin’…..

    John Fay had tweeted that the Reds would go as high as $150M for 2019.

    Add in the projection of Wood from Steve’s post at $9M and the Reds are at $113M (rounded up).

    Using FanGraphs free agent tracker….

    The Reds remaining $37M could get ….

    Keuchel – 4 yrs, total 79M
    Pollock – 4 yrs, total 64M

    Both guys are projected as 3 win players in 2019, pushing the Reds into a projected winning season (82 or 83 wins).

    Lots of moving parts to land those 2, both from the players and the Reds sides, and the projections could be way off…. but fun to kick around as a possibility.

    • Sliotar

      Personally, I would not want the 2022 version of either Keuchel or Pollock.

      4 year deals feels a year too long for both guys, but that is what it may take to land them. (5 years? Yikes.)

      So, it would seem to be a question of if the Reds executives feel landing those 2 really get them into the playoff mix for 2019 … and it is worth it to give them 4/5 year deals, knowing the out year(s) might be a lot of negative value on both guys.

      The Brewers said it was worth it to give Cain 5 years/$80M last winter, ending in his age 36 season. However, Milwaukee had just come off an 86-win season, missing the playoffs by 2 games.

      • VaRedsFan

        Please…no AJ Pollock. He’s an injury waiting to happen.

    • Old-school

      Jake Arrieta was predicted to get 4/100 last year after waiting 5 years . He got 3/75 with an opt out after year 2. Perhaps the Reds could offer Keuchel something similar. ..high AAV but shorter term with a player opt out after 2020.

      3 years 60 million. Opt out after year 2.

  4. Matthew

    JT Realmuto is now off the table. The fish settled with him in arbitration for $5.9MM

    • wkuchad

      That doesn’t mean he’s off the table.

      • Matthew

        Yes that’s true. My brain jumped the gun with this comment.

  5. Tom Mitsoff

    I’m growing more skeptical that any other major moves are going to be made. I think the door has closed on the Kluber possibility from Cleveland. The Indians cleared some payroll, and now don’t need to trade him unless someone makes them an offer they can’t refuse.

    Keuchel, I believe, will land somewhere after Bryce Harper and Manny Machado sign. Philly has stated that they are prepared to spend some “stupid” money, and if they can’t give it to one of those two, they’ll probably turn to Keuchel. Philly may have made him a conditional offer based on whether or not they sign one of those other two players first, so he may be waiting to see how that plays out. I can’t blame the Reds for not wanting to spend “stupid” money on a pitcher over age 30.

    Any other rumored trades have the other team apparently asking for the top-tier talent in the Reds farm system, which I would not even consider trading for anything less than an established major leaguer with three or more years of team control left.

    • Hotto4Votto

      I feel you may be correct in your skepticism. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the reality of playing in a small market that hasn’t been competitive for a while. The Reds simply aren’t as attractive to FA’s (especially pitchers considering our ballpark).

      I think you’re right on about the Indians, and I don’t think the Reds need to overpay in prospects to acquire a Kluber, just to turn around and pay him considerable salary. And I did read that Keuchel was waiting out the Harper/Machado markets. It makes sense, and our best bet is to hope the Phillies land one of those guys.

      If I had to guess, the Reds will sign another pitcher in the mold of Holland, Miley, or Gonzalez and then maybe continue to kick the tires on Pollock if they can get him at a reasonable rate. But I too have a hard time seeing them make a big splash with the remaining free agents. The one pitcher that may be more than a backend pitcher, that the Reds still may pursue, is Marcus Stroman. The Jays have now traded Martin to the Dodgers and seem to be moving more and more into a full rebuild. If the Reds can get Stroman for a package outside of Senzel, Greene, Trammell, or Santillan then I’d try to make that move. Maybe the Reds take on Pillar in the deal to play CF. It could make sense for both teams.

    • vegastypo

      FWIW (maybe nothing!), Marty Brennaman was on one of the MLB Network’s shows the other day, Chris Russo’s show, and he said he thinks the Reds have one or two bigger moves left. … Maybe he’s serious, or maybe he’s just trying to fan some flames of optimism.

      Then again, he could consider signing a lesser-tier starting pitcher as a “big move,” unlike what I’d consider a big deal. This ought to be interesting what happens when Machado/Harper finally sign, then teams can go after what’s next.

      I did read a few days ago where one of the “insiders,” maybe it was Morosi, said the two teams most interested in Keuchel were the Phillies and Reds. The years Keuchel wants is scaring me.

  6. Sliotar

    You might well be right, Tom.

    For a team projected at 77 wins, overpaying in years or $ on an over-30 player is a very tough call, IMO.

    And, for sure, weakening the in-house talent pipeline via trade feels short-sighted.

    I don’t think it would be a big deal if the Reds added to the bullpen, called it an off-season and really started the contention window in 2020 …… except for the lead owner’s “we will get the pitching” and “record payroll in 2019” comments.

    IMO, better to say “we tried, but we will save our $ for next winter” than make a bad FA signing, but I haven’t seen that to be the lead owner’s style, at least to date.

    • greenmtred

      Well, they did get pitching, but maybe not “the” pitching. My concern going forward is that the moves they’ve made–exciting as they are in the context of a team that has stood pat with a losing hand for years–probably don’t carry over to 2020, when the new acquisitions are gone. They could attempt to replicate this year’s strategy by acquiring established talent on one-year contracts to shore up weaknesses, and that might work, but it also might cost more prospects, even if not absolute top-tier prospects. Eventually, wouldn’t this strategy result in a bare cupboard?

      • Hotto4Votto

        I agree with your overall concerns. I like the moves they’ve made for 2019. They’ve made the team better for next season and that should be more fun for the fans, even if it makes little difference in the divisional standings. They have yet to do anything to make the team better in 2020 and beyond. In fact, if anything, they’ve lessened the prospect pool a bit, for future trades or contributors. They will have a significant sum of money coming off the books after 2019, but as we’ve seen so far this year, as well as historically, FA’s have not signed in Cincinnati. Maybe a more competitive team in 2019 changes that, but I’m doubtful.

        If the only way the Reds can add talent is by taking on salary while giving up prospects, it seems a little self-defeating. It also doesn’t appear to be a sustainable plan. We have seen what depleting the farm for shorter term gains has netted in the recent past.

      • JoshG

        If they are not in contention any of the players in their last year will be traded for prospects at the deadline

  7. matt hendley

    All the Team players….being team players to take a minor cut in pay in order to go out and #getthepitching. I am pretty sure the window closes at 4PM but maybe I am wrong. Still, think the reds should make a move on Dallas, not on Pollock though. In the event of another bad season, the payroll will be drastically reduced with a July selloff.

  8. Mark

    I really do not believe we add to the bullpen all we really need is long guys 4-6 inning guys. We have some in house whoever doesn’t make rotation. I think they are done on trades unless they keuchel and then trade some young pitching Barnhart and Winker for realmuto

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I would not trade five years of Winker for two years of Realmuto.

  9. WVRedlegs

    The Reds and Wood can continue to negotiate before an arbitration hearing is held. Curious though he is only one not able to agree yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wood comes out of this with a 2 or 3 year deal to cover 2019 and 2020 and possibly 2021. The Reds are pretty shallow on LH starters and might want to lock him up for a couple of years while they have him in hand now. That might be a good opportunity for both team and player.

    • Matt Hendley

      Not the worst idea. Expecially sonce the reds are a “file or trial” sort of team.

    • Mark Moore

      The longer-term deal maybe why they had to exchange numbers this week.

      And I believe they can sign a deal up to the point where the arbitration officer publishes a ruling.

      The numbers they exchanged aren’t that far apart, especially given what they didn’t dole out per projections on the rest of the gang.

    • VaRedsFan

      I’m on board with that idea. Make it so.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      That would be nice, but I don’t see the Reds going down that road until they see him for at least a few weeks without him getting injured. I also don’t know why Wood would give away his first opportunity at free agency.

  10. CFD3000

    I’m hoping that the reason Wood hasn’t settled with the Reds yet is indeed that they’re discussing a 2 or 3 year deal. They’ve made some significant roster upgrades for 2019, but a lot of talent is eligible for free agency in 2020 – Puig, Roark, Kemp, Gennett and of course Alex Wood. Of those the only ones I’d really like to see in Cincinnati beyond this year are Puig and Wood. Maybe the Reds will get an extension done with Wood before the hearing.

  11. SrRedsFan

    I am impressed by the proactiveness of this Front Office. It reminds me of Wayne Krivskys’ style. He was always churning out trades, waiver pick-ups, and deals to lncrementally improve the core. What a contrast to Jockettys’ final years- either too slow or nothing at all!

    • Minnie Me

      The Reds are getting those one year deals done.

  12. Jreis

    I agree with a lot of the above statements.i don’t see the reds making any more major moves this offseason.

    I see 2019 as a “break “ year from the rebuild and as fans, hey we deserve it. I just hope it doesn’t interfere too much with our progression for 2020. I still want to see guys like Mahle and Romano get starts this year as likely they will be in the rotation in 2020.
    I still think the lack of a true centerfielder is going to hurt this team this and maybe limit our wins to the mid70’s to low 80s range, but hey, I will take it.

  13. wkuchad

    Alex Wood requested $9.65 million; offered $8.7 million by the Reds.

  14. Shchi Cossack

    The Reds have 4 significant players with contracts expiring after the 2019 season. The age listed is the playing age for the 2019 season with the combined 2017/2018 stats and the 2019 salary.

    Alex Wood (age 28, $8.7MM-$9.65MM)
    25-10 w/ 52 GS, 304.0 IP, 3.20 ERA, 3.43 FIP, 125 ERA+, 0.9 HR/9, 3.67 SO/W

    Yasiel Puig (age 28, $9.7MM)
    277 G w/ .264/.337/.490, 119 OPS+, 51 HR, 30 SB, 6.4 WAR

    Scooter Gennett (age 29, $9.775MM)
    295 G w/ .303/.351/.508, 124 OPS+, 50 HR, 189 RBI, 6.6 WAR

    Tanner Roark (age 32, $10MM)
    22-26 w/ 60 GS, 361.2 IP, 4.50 ERA, 4.20 FIP, 97 ERA+, 1.2 HR/9, 2.74 SO/W

    Based on age and recent performance, I believe $50MM+ FA contracts are a very reasonable expectation for Wood, Puig and Gennett. That would result in 3 bonus selections for the Reds between the 1st round and the Competitive Balance Round A of the 2020 MLB Draft. Those would all be top 40 picks. As an alternative, the Reds could also elect to move any of those players prior to the 2019 trade deadline rather than issuing a qualifying offer after the season.

    Based on the team’s and player’s 2019 performance, the Reds could also elect to move Roark and Kemp prior to the 2019 trade deadline.

    Matt Kemp (age 34)
    261 G w/ .283/.328/.472, 111 OPS+, 40 HR, 149 RBI

    The Reds gave up Tanner Rainey (for Roark) along with Jeter Downs & Josiah Gray (for Puig, Wood & Kemp). Rainey was the 71st selection in 2015, Downs was the 32nd selection in 2017 and Gray was the 72nd selection in 2018. The Reds should be able to recoup equal or better prospect talent in the 2020 draft with comp picks or at the 2019 trade deadline. This is in addition to the team improvements for the 2019 season.

    I simply don’t see any negatives associated to the moves made by DW, NK and DB as the new brain trust for the Reds Baseball Ops this off season, with or without an ace added to the starting rotation.

    • lwblogger2

      Gennett, unless he has another monster season, would likely accept a QO.