Offseason In Review: Cincinnati Reds

Next in our Offseason In Review series, the Reds.

Major League Signings

  • Aroldis Chapman, SP: six years, $30.25MM.
  • Orlando Cabrera, SS: one year, $3.02MM.  Includes $4MM mutual option for 2011 with a $1MM buyout if club declines, $500K buyout if player declines.
  • Ramon Hernandez, C: one year, $3MM.  Includes $3.25MM vesting option for 2011.
  • Jonny Gomes, OF: one year, $800K.  Includes $1.75MM club option for 2011 with up to $200K buyout.
  • Total spend: $37.07MM.  Spend on non-Chapman free agents: $6.82MM.

Notable Minor League Signings


  • Scott Rolen, 3B: two years, $13MM.  Converted $11MM 2010 salary to $6MM salary and $5MM signing bonus paid over three years with no interest.
  • Nick Masset, RP: two years, $2.58MM.

Trades and Claims

Notable Losses


The Reds' surprising signing of flamethrowing Cuban defector Chapman was a long-term move.  Though Chapman could have some big league impact in 2010, I don't think that was the main intent.  Regardless, this was a praiseworthy investment.

Reds GM Walt Jocketty apparently had little cash to work with on short-term improvements, as he spent less than $7MM on other free agents.  Credit Jocketty for non-tendering and then waiting out Gomes.  As for the $6.02MM spent on Cabrera and Hernandez, I'm not sure those players are clear upgrades over Paul Janish and Ryan Hanigan.  Still, there is something to be said for a veteran track record.  Aside from Gomes, Jocketty also made a smart minor move in getting Arredondo on a minor league deal.  Arredondo, 26 later this month, will miss the 2010 season recovering from Tommy John surgery but can help the Reds in future years.

Where did Jocketty find the $6.82MM for his three veteran free agent signings?  Most of the money came from redistributing Rolen's 2010 salary and giving him a two-year extension.  It was a risky gambit, as Rolen turns 35 soon and hasn't played 130 games in a season since '06.  Jocketty also saved $1.3MM by swapping Taveras for Miles, at the cost of Rosales.  Dumping Taveras was addition by subtraction, since he ate up 437 plate appearances with a .285 OBP in last year (mostly in the first two spots in the batting order).

The 2010 Reds are the darling sleeper pick in some circles.  They'll need to succeed on the strength of their run prevention.  Their defense looks strong, but Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo, and Homer Bailey will need to beat their 4.50 ERA CHONE projections.

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8 Comments on "Offseason In Review: Cincinnati Reds"

5 years 5 months ago

Watching the Reds beat up on Ben Sheets yesterday gives me confidence in their strong offense. I could see them as a wild card contender.

5 years 5 months ago

Cueto will beat that 4.5 chone. Arroyo and Bailey not so much. Cincy will finish 3rd in that division.

5 years 5 months ago

Watching Aroldis Chapman, whether he starts in the minors or with the big club, is going to be very exciting. Great investment for a team that needs to build through the draft and Latin America.

Expect big things from Bailey and Bruce this year. This team has some promising young talent.

5 years 5 months ago

Impressive that Jocketty is working so hard to bring the 2007 Cardinals to Cincinnati in 2010.

5 years 5 months ago

Kip Wells is on a minor league contract. He’s there only for depth.
Rolen was an upgrade over Encarnacion at 3B
Miles was a salary dump to get rid of Taveras.

Walt is only trying to improve the ballclub. So far he’s done that with only a few missteps.
Are the Cards trying to recruit the Reds bullpen because you have Franklin and Jukich?

5 years 5 months ago

Miles I still like okay, despite last season. Rolen is best as a platoon guy. I hate the way his time in St. Louis ended, but he just cannot play every day any more. (I do respect his restructuring of his contract.)

Kip Wells is where I quarrel and question Walt’s judgment. If he’s considered depth, folks are playing in the kiddie pool. He was last effective in, what, 2003?

5 years 5 months ago

Rolen was an instant improvement over Encarnacion. Whether he can continue to produce as he advances in age is the question, but Encarnacion was never going to produce, so just moving him out was an improvement.

Kip Wells will not help the Reds, nor any other team he pitches for.

The Reds beating up Ben Sheets was not something any logical person would use as a gauge for how good the Reds offense will be. Ben Sheets has been awful since his first pitch this spring. Mario Mendoza would have been 4 for 4 off him.

Miles is nothing special, but he won’t suck. Adam Rosales would have been just as good, though.

I don’t have a clue (or care) what “Chone Predictions” are. Don’t people know how to read stats anymore? I don’t need to read somebody’s goofy ranking system to gauge a player’s worth, because I am not statistically illiterate.

5 years 5 months ago

I like the Cabrera signing. I don’t like the Ramon Hernandez signing; he’s being overpaid. The Gomes signing looks very good from a GM’s perspective. Miles is subpar, but Taveras was subpar AND costly.

I don’t trust Rolen’s ability to go the distance because of his age. I wish Frazier had played more games at 3B.

The Chapman deal was very costly for an unproven player–it looks kind of desperate like a Hail Mary pass. However, I like the general idea and hope it works out.

That said, if Bruce can improve and the pitching staff plays to their potential (which I think is unlikely) the NL Central is always attainable.