Amateur Signing Bonuses: Reds

Next up in our series looking at how much each club spends on amateurs, the Reds…

  1. Aroldis Chapman, $16.25MM (2010)
  2. Chris Gruler, $2.5MM (2002)
  3. Yorman Rodriguez, $2.5MM (2008)
  4. Homer Bailey, $2.3MM (2004)
  5. Mike Leake, $2.27MM (2009)

I don't want to ruin the surprise, but Chapman's bonus is by far the largest you'll see in this series. It wasn't all paid out at once though; the 22-year-old Cuban defector received $1.5MM up front and the rest will be paid in annual installments through 2020, the first of which is due in less than two weeks.  I'm sure the Reds will happily hand that money over after Chapman's late season showing, when he struck out 19 with a 2.03 ERA in 13.1 relief innings.  He also threw the fastest recorded pitch in baseball history on September 24th, a fastball that MLBAM's PitchFX system clocked at 105.1 mph.

Gruler made 11 starts in 2002 after being the third overall pick that year, but unfortunately the 44 innings he tossed that season would be a career high.  He battled shoulder injury after shoulder injury, and was out of baseball by 2006 after just 92.2 minor league innings, none of them above the Single-A level. Rodriguez is still just 18 years old despite signing two summers ago.  The outfielder is a .276/.316/.384 career hitter in 472 plate appearances in the lowest levels of minor league baseball.

The eighth overall pick in 2009, Leake became the first pitcher since Ariel Prieto in 1995 to skip the minor leagues and make his professional debut in the show.  He threw 138.1 innings for the Reds this season, putting up a 4.23 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 before being placed on the disabled list with shoulder fatigue in an effort to control his workload.  Bailey took a more conventional route after being selected with the seventh overall pick in 2004.  He made his big league debut in 2007, and in 39 starts (222.1 innings) for the Reds over the last two seasons he's pitched to a 4.49 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9.  Both Leake and Bailey figure to have a spot in Cincinnati's rotation next season.

It's worth noting that the Reds have also given four players bonuses of exactly $2MM: Drew Stubbs, Juan Duran, Yonder Alonso, and Yasmani Grandal.  Stubbs is the team's regular center fielder; the other three are currently working their way through the farm system.

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9 Comments on "Amateur Signing Bonuses: Reds"

4 years 10 months ago

I can only think of a few teams that have close to or as good catching depth as the Reds with Mesoraco and Grandal…

Perez and Myers
Montero and Romine
Arencibia and Perez

who else am I missing?

4 years 10 months ago

I know they aren’t in the same league as of those you mentioned, but Norris and Ramos isn’t a bad catching duo to have.

4 years 10 months ago

o snap, didn’t know they drafted Harper as an outfielder and not the C

4 years 10 months ago

I wish they had kept him as a catcher. I think it would’ve been fun to see how he’d progress playing such a hard position. If he stayed at catcher and lived up to his expectations, he’d be talked about in the same sentence has Johnny Bench. Power hitting catchers with a cannon as an arm? Yes please.
Actually..maybe more of a Mike Piazza mold except for the BA and gold glove defense.

4 years 10 months ago

Chris Gruler is an excellent example of what NOT to do with a draft pick. It’s one thing to put him in the bullpen, as the White Sox did this year with Chris Sale, but to start him after throwing at least 100 innings in college? That is asking for shoulder or elbow problems.

4 years 10 months ago

The decade of the Reds is upon is.

4 years 10 months ago

I think you’re jumping the gun to say that Leake and Bailey will both have spots in the rotation. Travis Wood will definitely have something to say about that. Arroyo and Cueto are locks, I’d put Volquez in the same category. That leaves two spots for Wood, Leake, and Bailey.

4 years 10 months ago


For once there will be competition to get into a good starting rotation in Cincinnati. No longer does it look like they will have to pick the best of the worst at the end of spring training. The Reds will have Arroyo, Cueto, Volquez, Chapman, Bailey, Wood, Leake, and Maloney all competing for a spot. This doesn’t include anybody that Jocketty brings in during the offseason.

Arroyo is lock as a guy with great control and will pitch deeper into games than any other starter on the rotation. It will be interesting to see how rest helps Mike Leake. Unfortunately shoulder problems don’t seem to heal like elbow problems, but hopefully he’s lucky. Chapman showed the world his 105mph fastball and wicked slider and should at least get a shot. Volquez, Cueto, and Bailey need to develop consistency. They have showed signs of good starters, but then will come back and blow their following appearance. I would also like to see Bailey work on his delivery so that everyone and their mother doesn’t run on him like they did this season. Way too many bases were given to baserunners this year on him.

4 years 10 months ago

Chapman being a free agent sort of skews the lists for comparison purposes, although he certainly did receive a signing bonus as an amateur. The vast majority of the other names on the lists in this series were in a situation where they could only sign with one team. Being in the free market changes everything.