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

Extensions

  • 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

Summary

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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