Last night the Cincinnati Reds made it official with Shogo Akiyama, signing the Japanese outfielder to a 3-year deal worth $21M. That money, however, wasn’t an even split across the board for each year.

The Reds have stated more than once this offseason that they planned to have a record high payroll for 2020. The previous record high was roughly $131M. This offseason has seen Cincinnati make some moves, signing Akiyama, infielder Mike Moustakas, and starting pitcher Wade Miley to multi-year deals.

Below are the guaranteed contracts for 2020, as well as projected arbitration numbers for those eligible via MLB Trade Rumors.

Player  Guarantee Arb. Estimate
Joey Votto $25,000,000
Mike Moustakas $12,000,000
Sonny Gray $10,166,666
Eugenio Suarez $9,535,714
Raisel Iglesias $9,000,000
Shogo Akiyama $6,000,000
Wade Miley $6,000,000
Freddy Galvis $5,500,000
Tucker Barnhart $3,937,500
Travis Jankowski $1,050,000
Trevor Bauer $18,600,000
Anthony DeSclafani $5,200,000
Michael Lorenzen $4,200,000
Curt Casali $1,700,000
Matt Bowman $900,000
Pre-Arb Players $6,198,500
Column Total $94,388,380 $30,600,000

All Total 

$124,988,380

While there is probably some wiggle room involved in both directions on those arbitration numbers, let’s work with those as a guide right now. We can round that number up to $125M just for easier math to work with. If you are really, really bad at counting and math, $125M is less than $131M. That means that the Reds budget still has some room if we are going to be working with the premise that they are going to have an all-time high payroll in 2020.

Just how much payroll is left is up in the air. While they’ve said “all-time high”, they haven’t stated just what they are shooting for. If that number is $140M, that would still leave them about $15M to add. Obviously there would be more if the team wanted to up things from that number. But either way, it seems like there’s still a good amount of money remaining in the budget for the Reds to go out and continuing their attempt at improving the roster.

There’s a lot of ways that Cincinnati can still add players. They’ve been rumored to be in the market for Francisco Lindor, who conveniently is estimated to be making $16.8M next season and fits in perfectly with pushing the payroll to $140M….. but they’ve also been linked as talking to outfielder Marcell Ozuna recently – even after coming to an agreement with Shogo Akiyama. The team could also look at the reliever market and see if anything makes sense there – both via free agency and trade.

Obviously things change long term with the money. Some guys are going to get raises from what they get today. Free agency is going to hit (Bauer, DeSclafani, and Galvis are all free agents after 2020), and you never know how trades could play out. But with what we do know, there should still be plenty of money for the Reds to spend – both short term and long term – if they choose to.

51 Responses

  1. Tom

    I still think adding 2-3 of the best remaining relievers in the market is a wise use of cash. I also take a bunch of chance on minor league deals for relievers in the hope we catch a flyer.

    On the offense side, I like the idea of exploring a trade with Tampa Bay for 5 years of Willy Adames at SS. It will take a haul but I think that haul might be worth it. And, I think it’s better than 2 years of Lindor for the haul of talent necessary to get that deal done.

    I don’t like adding Ozuna. I think the numbers add up to platooning Winker/Ervin, Senzel/Akiyama and Akiyama/Aquino. It does bet on the young guys stepping up and Akiyama adjusting well. But, I don’t think we drastically change the outcome adding Ozuna. (Of course, if Senzel is part of a trade for Willy Adames or another SS, that does change the OF situation drastically).

    • CFD3000

      Agree. Adames is interesting, and like every trade it depends on the cost. And a definite no on Ozuna.

      • Colorardo Red

        Have to agree with you. A NO on Ozuna.

      • james

        Withstanding any deals we are not aware of I agree 100% with the above rationale.

    • Fish

      I actually prefer adames to lindor due to cost of acquisition and I wouldn’t mind giving up greene in an adames deal because of the years of control. I would think Greene, siri and a couple of lower prospects could bring adames and that fixes pretty much all the immediate issues with control. Gives the rays a stud pitching prospect and wander franco is no longer blocked.

      • Corky Miller

        Got to do a deal without Greene or Lodulo.

    • Steelerfan

      I’ll join the chorus. Very well thought out post. If we are going to move top prospects, I would prefer more than 2 years of expensive team control in return

  2. Cal Hannah

    I’m thinking one more shut-down closer if they want to win the division. Akiyama was a great addition. They needed more on base.

    • JayTheRed

      The Free agent top relievers are mostly gone. There are a few guys left that are not too bad quality. I am thinking if we want a top reliever we are going to have to trade for one.

      Haven’t really heard much about relievers that would be on the trade market this offseason.

      If the Reds are going to get someone as a relief pitcher they better get moving if its a free agent cause pickings are getting slim.

    • Tv

      After falling asleep to David Bell during high heat today it’s easy to see why the Reds will still suck. They have enough talent but the manager is a joke. Still planning on playing 4 Outfitters like a rebuilding team and not even the least bit excited. When they asked him how he was going to get his team off to a better start he had no answer. Geez

      • greenmtred

        He might be–probably is–saying he’ll use platoons in the outfield. Doesn’t seem too dumb to me. As for how he’ll get the team off to a better start, there isn’t likely much he can do, unless he activates himself and proves to be a great early-season hitter. Yelling at slumping hitters doesn’t seem likely to help. Benching them gives them no chance to break out of the slump, and the whole team was slumping anyway.

      • Ed

        I’ve made similar comments about bell’s interviewing style before, and I know it’s sort of just a pet peeve because I have no idea whether or not he’s actually motivating the players in the dugout. Maybe he light a fire.
        But it would be awesome for my own confidence in the team and blood pressure if he had a little more charisma

  3. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I have to say no to Ozuna. Going by OPS+, besides one good year, Ozuna hasn’t been much better than who we have right now. And, at Ozuna’s cost? I don’t believe it would be worth it.

    Lindor, I could definitely understand going after. Without Lindor, I believe we will compete for the last playoff spot (so, we may or may not get in). With Lindor, I believe we will compete for the division title (I believe definitely in the playoffs).

    We do still need to fill out the bullpen. I would like to see at least one more lefty out there with Garrett. I believe we might be betting on some of the minor league contracts we’ve signed to find a diamond in the rough.

    • GhostRunner

      The more I think about Lindor, the more I hope the Reds get him. Adding him would make for an awesome lineup, and when he leaves, hopefully Garcia can step in at SS.

  4. AirborneJayJay

    I believe the Reds are almost at their pre-2020 limit. I don’t think they go much over the $131MM previous high. At most I see a $135MM to start out the season. Not sure they go thst high though. I think they will save a bit for any July 31 deadline trades and add some salary then.
    That is unless they include Bauer, Iglesias or Galvis in any sort of trade to help offset any incoming increases. Those 3 are about the only ones where you can add by subtraction.

    • Tv

      In 1025 they spend 116. They added at least 25 mil a year in tv money. Plus inflation. 140 easy. I think they could do 150 for the right guys but they should save some for the trade deadline. Plus they could backload deals.

    • MBS

      Also Dick Williams said “a nice increase”. Which sounds more like 10 + M to me

    • JayTheRed

      I’m thinking they are sitting around 140 to 145 million to start the season. We still have some spending money for either the Bullpen or improvements by trade at SS or C.

      One or two of the army of OF’ers we have are going to be traded if not before spring training, during it.

      Really hoping for SS upgrade and at least one quality reliever.

  5. Hotto4Votto

    Certainly have room to add and expand payroll as they said the would. If Galvis is trades in a deal for a SS it could open up more money to keep adding to the offense, which they should continue to do, especially if they end up trading from the ML roster.
    Relievers should be added last. Not many proven names left, maybe Cishek now that Harris, Stammen, and Hudson have been signed in the past few days. Sign some to minors deals with ST invites and see what you have. Relievers can be added fairly cheaply at the deadline if we still have need.
    All of this hinges on adding a starting quality SS. Priority number one at this point.

    • earmbrister

      Cishek was picked up by the WSox midday today. Not all that concerned about signing FA relievers: they tend to fail more than they succeed. The bullpen is in good shape, and they have a couple of prospects knocking on the door.

      Let’s start the year primarily as is, and we can push our chips into the pot midyear if circumstances warrant it.

  6. Bdh

    Austin Brice was just DFA by the marlins to make room for Dickerson. Pitched much better for them last year than he did for the reds when he was here. Any chance the reds look to bring him back on a minor league contract?

  7. DocProc

    Sign FA Steve Cishek and his lifetime 2.69 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 0.6 HR9, and 9.5 SO9.

      • JayTheRed

        Errr.. White Sox and Phillies have been taking it to us this offseason. Not many decent names left. Reliver is going to have to come from a trade probably.

  8. Jeff Gangloff

    Didn’t realize Bauer was making that much…

    • AirborneJayJay

      Pretty pricey for a #3 starter. A bit exorbitant for a #4 starter. And that figure is just an estimate.

  9. FreeHouse

    Francisco Liriano is still out there for the Reds to get.

  10. Linkster

    Though I agree they need a couple of stud RP, I don’t believe there are any left in FA for the money needed. No team is going to trade a quality RP, since they are too valuable.
    If you can get Lindor or Story then you go all in and move the payroll to $140M. If not, you still need a SS since the utility guys are not strong there.
    I still say a three-way deal with the Dodgers makes since. The Reds would get Seager in the deal.

  11. Scott C

    I agree with those above that say SS upgrade is the priority. Galvis is not the answer there, he is Iglesias who can switch hit. Outside of the three mentioned most often Lindor, Story and Seager I am not sure where that is going to come from. Some have mentioned Adames from Tampa Bay but I don’t believe that is really an offensive upgrade or at least not much of one. Do what it takes to bring one of those three here. If not this is another lost year.

    • Ed

      At 5 million, Galvis is also a pretty expensive back up shortstop. Iglesias signed with the Orioles for a little more than half of that. I do hope they make a move for a good short, and I wouldn’t mind Galvis as a backup… Right now, they don’t really have a backup in the organization worth playing for 30 starts or so, so something’s gotta change

  12. AllTheHype

    Contrary to some here, I would not commit a MLB guaranteed dollars to any reliever the remainder of this offseason. I think the Reds already have quality arms on the 40 man and competition for relief roster spots is strong going into spring training.

    The problem with committing semi-expensive, guaranteed contracts is you are locked into those players for a period of time on the ML roster, regardless of performance, because releasing them early in the season does not fly in any organization. (See Zach Duke, Badenhop, Gregg, etc and many more). These guys had roster spots because of their contract well into the season, despite poor performance.

    I’d rather have competition among the cheap relief options we have now and give roster spots to those that are best without handing out any more guaranteed contracts than we already have.

    • VaRedsFan

      Our three main bullpen guys (Iggy, Lorenzen, Garrett) weren’t very good last year. I don’t see how you think this bullpen is good as it stands now

      • AllTheHype

        Iglesias had an off year and you should take another look at Garrett and Lorenzen’s stats before you say they “weren’t very good”. Overall the Reds BP was better than average, ERA wise. They will have Cody Reed and potentially Mahle and De Leon added to last year’s core, along with a healthy and more experienced BobSteve.

      • Ed

        I actually think the stats were kept artificially low by placing Garrett on the injured list for a big chunk of the season. The eye test and individual game stats show he was seriously lacking control right around the time of the All-Star break and never quite got back in the groove. Plus, Hernández actually pitched a bunch of innings, and it’s not clear to me who steps in to shoulder some of the load. Bell will only give these guys one inning each. Probably need to add some arms! Iglesias and Garrett both struggled.

        That said, if the reds somehow make the playoffs, the nationals just showed you can win a World Series by really riding your starters, using them creatively to pitch in relief…. so maybe there’s some hope there!

      • Optimist

        Actually, Garrett, Lorenzen and Stephenson were all quite good. Iggy was off, but consider Bowman – a proven track record, and Reed and Kuhnel. That’s before you get to the flyers/acquisitions/opportunities. Unlike Hughes/Hernandez – doubt that any of them fall off the cliff, and some may improve.

      • Ed

        Garrett was not great, started out strong and then absolutely struggled, and at best was wildly inconsistent. I guess I’ll wait for his year-end recap to help me illustrate this… He was better than he was in years he rocked a 5+ ERA, but he also ended up on the IL for a long stretch, in addition to his suspension. His ERA was headed to a really bad place.

  13. CP

    It’s impossible to guess what the FO will do to continue to improve the club, but the encouraging part is what we do know for sure. And that is that they have put the team together in such a way that they still have the flexibility to make another move and add on more salary if need be via trade/FA.

    Roster flexibility is a good thing!! It allows the Reds to continue to be opportunistic where other teams seem back into a corner right now (Redsox, Cubs, Indians, ect).

  14. Ed

    Thanks for doing the math for us, Doug!

    I have a quick, unrelated question- Derek Dietrich has the option to elect free agency after being outrighted. Does he need to formally announce free agency, or can he presumably be looking around now for a starting gig somewhere?

    do you think he’ll end up sticking with the Bats?

  15. Michael

    The impressive thing to me by looking at this is how the FO built a quality team with this much flexibility for only $125MM. Nowadays, it seems like solid teams cost $150MM+. Now I would be disappointed if they went into the season constructed as is currently as I think they need one more impact player, but I think they are a wild card contender right now in the NL.

    As for the bullpen, they can fix that rather easily in my mind by letting the starters pitch. They have a solid rotation, 1 thru 5. Taking them out after 5 innings day after day wore down our bullpen last year, especially the top relievers who always were called upon it seemed like. Letting Castillo and Gray definitely go longer, and Bauer has a track record of going deep into games, should help.

    As much as I like Senzel, if the Indians are satisfied with him and Mahle and Galvis/Prospect and maybe another lottery ticket prospect, I would take it instantly. Have to give up something of value to get something of value. Lindor at SS makes this team dangerous and a lot of fun to watch. Parting with Senzel and Mahle as the headliners allows you to keep guys like Greene, Lodolo, India, Santillian, Stephenson, and Siri to build your future on. It’s easy and fun to speculate what it will take to get a guy like Lindor. No one really knows until a deal is struck.

    • Michael E

      100% agree on letting GOOD starters pitch. If they’re cruising and have a lead, let them hit 110 or 120 pitches and 6 or 7 or 8 innings. If every other start goes 7 innings plus, the bullpen depth won’t be tested often. We can roll out our best 3 or 4 RP’s and the lesser RPs are just mop up or long relief on the occasion a starter can’t get through 6 innings. This is where I hope a mix of old-school (let them fight through a lead off walk/hit) is balanced with analytics saying NO to third time through a lineup.

    • Matt WI

      I think the sun is well setting on the days of long starts. It may well be that one of the reasons the starters were so effective is because of stepping out of that 3rd time through. And it really wasn’t just a Reds thing… it’s very much becoming the league norm. Probably drove Marty right into his retirement 😉

      What will be very interesting to see is how the new rule about 3 batter minimum plays out and stops someone like Bell from too much fiddling- this could reduce times where a guy goes 3 days in a row because they are out there longer. Conversely, they may burn through less guys day to day.

  16. Joey

    I saw someone on here awhile back trying to pry Semien from the A’s. At the time I didn’t think much of it but I looked at some stats today and the guy played in every game last year and his OBP was 369. Last year there were seven SS with an OBP above 350. Last year Seager and Lindor were both at 335. Don’t know Semien’s contract status but he is pretty solid.

    • doctor

      Semien is in the last year of control and turned 29 recently. His 2019 year was his best year by far, 138 OPS+, his previous years production has been in upper 90’s OPS+. So would be definitely buying high on a guy who was legit 2019 MVP candidate. I would hesitate to jump on him as afraid he would regress back to his norm of league average offense.

  17. streamer88

    I wonder if the Ozuna interest is to drive the price up for their division rival. Tricky game to play – I wonder if these types of things actually happen?

  18. Steve D

    I think we sign two quality relievers (Daniel Hudson and Sam Dyson) and maybe a 6th starter for a good deal (Alex wood). If we do this our pitching staff is pretty solid. I am banking on one of our starters going down in spring training. We will definitely need a 6th starter and if we can get a quality one for cheap we should
    Jump on it.

    • Indy Red Man

      Milwaukee might’ve found a gem in Drew Pomeranz. He was terrible as a starter, but 45 Ks in 26ip for Milw with a 2.39 era. The Reds need to scour the underachieving starters out there and see if a few might be able to convert. They could always make a spot start as well.

      As far as hands on deck…..between BobSteve and Sims you had 107 ip with only 74 hits allowed and 138 Ks. I think there’s a decent spot starter and middle reliever in there somewhere?

    • JayTheRed

      Wondering if Wood could be a reliever for us. Don’t know how well his back is holding up though that’s the part that would scare me away from him.

      There has to be a decent reliever out there that might make some progress toward becoming a better reliever this coming season.

  19. Indy Red Man

    Cubs and Cards both pursuing Arenado. Cards in the lead supposedly. If the Rockies are blowing it up then the Reds need to place a call about reliever Scott Oberg. He’ll be 30 in March so if they’re trying to get younger/cheaper. 2.25 era last year and 2.45 in 2018.

    • Ed

      Heh- Arenado in the Central would be tough.

      • Matt WI

        I thought the same thing when I had read an article mentioning those Central teams- Arenado 18x a season is about 18x too many.