Offseason In Review: Cincinnati Reds

The Reds are next in our Offseason In Review series.

Major League/International Signings

Notable Minor League Signings


Trades and Claims: None

Notable Losses


In 2010 the Reds rode the league's best offense and an acceptable pitching staff to the NL Central crown, marking their first winning season since 2000 and first playoff appearance since '95.  In the offseason that followed, GM Walt Jocketty adopted the motto, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Due to payroll limitations, Jocketty's only real play to change the Reds significantly would have been through trades or by way of declining Arroyo's option.  In early November Jocketty decided to exercise Arroyo's 2011 option at a hefty $13MM, as opposed to a $2MM buyout.  It was a large commitment to a 34-year-old soft-tosser many teams would consider an innings eater, though six seasons in a row of 200-plus innings is a rarity.  A month later Jocketty tacked on two years, coming up with a new deal heavy on deferred money.  The Reds halved Arroyo's 2011 salary in the process. 

Otherwise Jocketty minimized his free agent expenditures, committing under $10MM to five position players.  I don't blame him; there wasn't much out there at left field or shortstop.  The bullpen features enough big arms to withstand the loss of Rhodes, though an arbitration offer would not have been a bad idea for the Type A lefty.  In addition to a full season of Aroldis Chapman, the Reds' 2011 pen features a sleeper in Jose Arredondo.  Signed to a minor league deal a year ago, he's fully recovered from Tommy John surgery.  The Reds will try Paul Janish and Renteria at shortstop with Cabrera's departure.  I don't mind the plan, though I'm curious if the Reds inquired on J.J. Hardy.

The Reds' front office spent the bulk of their offseason hammering out extensions with Bruce, Cueto, and Votto, and attempting one with Edinson Volquez.  Bruce's deal offers a chance at three affordable free agent seasons, and it makes sense for both sides.  Cueto's contract allows for two free agent years, and is riskier by nature since he's a pitcher.  But $16MM is the going rate for a good young pitcher's arbitration years in an extension, so this was a typical contract. 


As MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith outlined in January, Votto's deal was a head-scratcher from the Reds' point of view.  The Reds were not able to buy out any free agent seasons, which might have cost upwards of $20MM each.  At best the Reds received a mild discount of a few million dollars on Votto's first two arbitration years, compared to the year-to-year earnings of Prince Fielder.

Payroll aside, the Reds did not need to tinker much with the NL's best offense.  They're bringing back a similar group, with plenty of upside for players like Bruce and Drew Stubbs.  Replacing Harang with a young in-house starting pitcher is an upgrade, especially if Homer Bailey's late-season success carries over.  The team is overly enamored with Arroyo and the Votto extension was player-friendly, but the painful aspects of those contracts will be realized after 2011.  The 2011 Reds are short on new faces, which is a positive in their case.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.

Leave a Reply

19 Comments on "Offseason In Review: Cincinnati Reds"

4 years 5 months ago

The Reds should be good this year.

4 years 5 months ago

That says it all.

4 years 5 months ago

Even though we got eliminated early it was nice to see the success from a small market team like the reds (my favorite team) and I think its also good for baseball when its oldest professional team is competitive. Maybe a few more good seasons will get GABP its first All-Star game?

4 years 5 months ago

The Reds are not the oldest team, that would be the Braves and cubs, founded in 1876 and still operating. The reason the Reds always start at home on opening day as “the first team” actually refers to the first all professional team that happened to be called the Cincinnati Reds in 1869. The current franchise took their name and began in 1882 in the American Association.

4 years 5 months ago

Braves are the longest continuously running franchise in baseball as they never lost any years during WWII. Reds are the oldest team in professional baseball.
“The reason the Reds always start at home on opening day as “the first team” actually refers to the first all professional team that happened to be called the Cincinnati Reds in 1869.” —which just so happens to still be the Cincinnati Reds. Not to mention in 1876 the National League was first chartered which included Cincinnati, Chicago, Boston (Braves), St. Louis, Hartford, Louisville, New York and Philadelphia. The Reds were in fact professional baseball’s first franchise.

4 years 5 months ago

Right as Brian confirmed and you’ll see in my post I referred to them as the oldest “Professional” team. However, regardless, good history less from both of you to those not in the know of the Reds and Braves and Cubs’ histories.

4 years 5 months ago

The Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first professional baseball team but they have no relationship to the current Cincinatti Reds franchise, which was founded in 1882 (this team was also not related to the Cincinatti Reds that were a charter member of the National Leage in 1876; that team was expelled after 1880). The Red Stockings disbanded after 1870. The players of that team joined the Boston Red Stockings (current Braves) and the Washington Olympics (disbanded after 1872) in the first professional league, the National Association. To say the current Cincinnati Reds are the same franchise as the Cincinatti Red Stocking and the oldest baseball club would be like saying the Milwaukee Brewers are the same franchise as the the Milwaukee Braves… the only things the former teams have in common with the later are cities they played it, nothing more.

Infield Fly
4 years 5 months ago

All I can say is “Joey Votto…yiiiha!”

Nice job Reds.

4 years 5 months ago

I just can’t get behind that deal when the Reds assume all the risk and don’t get one second more of Votto in a Reds uniform than they already were guaranteed. I can’t even get behind calling it an “extension”.

4 years 5 months ago

Wait until Dusty breaks bad on you. My favorite is when he calls anybody who challenges him on anything a “racist”.
You also should get him as far way as possible from the young, talented Reds pitching.
I’d rather have Charlie Sheen chaperone my daughter for a long weekend than have Dusty Baker manage my pitching staff.

Infield Fly
4 years 5 months ago

Wow! In that case I feel sorry for your daughter! 😮

4 years 5 months ago


4 years 5 months ago

I think when you find your daughter drunk, naked, and facedown in a mountain of cocaine, you may begin to feel differently.

4 years 5 months ago

I wish I could “thumbs down” a comment. The “pitching staff” rhetoric is getting old.

4 years 5 months ago

Another bitter Cub fan … why am I not surprised? I guess 102 years of losing can do that to a fan I suppose.

4 years 5 months ago

The Corky Miller signing was the real difference maker this offseason.

4 years 5 months ago

Why do people have to put sarcastic comments like this in here every time any person is signed. Grow up…

4 years 5 months ago

Because the Cards don’t want to see the Reds succeed. That’s ALL it boils down to. It makes sense on their end to not have the Reds succeed, because that then puts them in a position to win the NL Central. But, to blatantly ignore facts and make snide remarks about ANYTHING done by The Reds just for the sheer hell of it only proves a grudge and nothing more. Get over the Jason LaRue crap, sign Pujols, get Wainwright back from Tommy John, and make sure the rest of your players want to actually be in St. Louis (ie. Carpenter), then start trashing The Reds based on banter and rhetoric. Otherwise, shut your pieholes!

4 years 5 months ago

One correction. Fielder didn’t sign year to year. He signed a 2 year deal for $18 million prior to his first arby season.