2012 Contract Issues: Cincinnati Reds

The Reds are next in our 2012 Contract Issues series.  Here's what the team faces after the 2011 season:

Eligible For Free Agency (3)

  • Ramon Hernandez's timeshare behind the plate with Ryan Hanigan is working well, and if the Reds can re-up Hernandez in the $3MM range again I think they will.  On the other hand, as several readers have pointed out, prospect Devin Mesoraco is knocking on the door.
  • Jonny Gomes has not seemed to be the Reds' Plan A in recent offseasons.  It's too early to predict what the offseason holds for Gomes or whether his 20% walk rate means anything.
  • Edgar Renteria will also be eligible for free agency.

Contract Options (2)

  • Francisco Cordero: $12MM club option with a $1MM buyout.  Cordero blew eight saves last year but is three for three in 2011.  Regardless, I can't imagine the Reds picking this up.
  • Brandon Phillips: $12MM club option with a $1MM buyout.  Phillips' power came back down to Earth in '09 and '10, though he's off to a great start this year.  Phillips would like a new contract with the Reds.  I'm not sure whether the Reds will be up for that, but I can picture them exercising the option.

Arbitration Eligible (8)

Not everyone in this group will make it to the point of being tendered a contract.  Bailey, Volquez, Janish, Bray, and Masset should be retained, which could cost around $10MM in total.

2012 Payroll Obligation

The Reds' 2012 payroll obligation, according to Cot's, is $51.558MM not including Phillips' buyout.  If he and the arbitration eligibles are retained they could be in the $74MM range, about $7MM shy of this year's payroll.  GM Walt Jocketty won't have much to work with unless payroll is increased, though he would gain flexibility if Phillips is let go or extended on a backloaded deal.