Next up in our Offseason Outlook series, the Reds. Their likely commitments for 2010:
C – Ryan Hanigan – $400K
C – Corky Miller – $450K+
1B – Joey Votto – $438K
2B – Brandon Phillips – $6.75MM
SS – Paul Janish – $400K
3B – Scott Rolen – $11MM
IF – Drew Sutton – $400K
LF – Jonny Gomes – $600K+
CF – Drew Stubbs – $400K
RF – Jay Bruce – $418K
OF – Willy Taveras – $4MM
OF – Laynce Nix – $600K+
OF – Chris Dickerson – $400K
SP – Aaron Harang – $12.5MM
SP – Bronson Arroyo – $11MM
SP – Johnny Cueto – $418K
SP – Homer Bailey – $401K
SP – Justin Lehr – $400K
Other candidates: Matt Maloney, Micah Owings
RP – Francisco Cordero – $12MM
RP – Arthur Rhodes – $2MM
RP – Nick Masset – $418K+
RP – Mike Lincoln – $2.5MM
RP – Jared Burton – $420K+
RP – Micah Owings – $420K+
RP – Danny Herrera – $400K
Other commitments: Ramon Hernandez – $1MM buyout
Non-tender candidates: Corky Miller, Bill Bray, Laynce Nix
The Reds have about $70MM committed before arbitration raises to Miller, Gomes, Nix, Masset, Burton, and Owings. We'll allocate another $5MM for those raises, puting the team in the $75MM range. The Reds were at $73.6MM heading into the season, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. Given the lack of payroll space, it's no surprise GM Walt Jocketty told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon his interest in free agents will be minimal this offseason.
The Reds should have a strong defensive infield in 2010, especially if they decide Janish's glovework makes up for his poor hitting.
Between Stubbs and Dickerson, the Reds should have a workable internal solution for center field that does not involve giving 400+ plate appearances to Taveras. Replacing Taveras and getting more out of Bruce and Rolen seems to be the easiest route to an improved offense in 2010.
Jocketty has spoken of his desire to add a "quality RBI man" despite the lack of payroll space. Non-tendering Gomes would make little sense, as he could be that RBI man for a few million bucks (Gomes slugged .541 this year).
Jocketty could also free up cash by trading Harang or Arroyo. A team like the Mets might be interested in assuming one of those contracts if the demand for players is minimal. But it's hard to see how that would improve the Reds, who are not in a position to subtract a starter now that Edinson Volquez is unlikely to contribute in 2010 (Tommy John surgery). The best rotation addition for the buck is probably free agent pitching coach Dave Duncan, but his inclination is to stay in St. Louis.
One pitcher Jocketty could afford to trade is Cordero, given Masset's success in 2009. The Reds' closer has two years and $25MM remaining. The problem is that the Reds would have to assume half his contract to make Cordero mildly appealing.
Jocketty overspent on Taveras and Lincoln a year ago, committing $10.25MM to the pair. Add that to the $11MM the Reds GM took on for Rolen next year, and it's clear the Reds don't have much flexibility this winter. Improvements will have to come from within.