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.

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15 Comments on "2012 Contract Issues: Cincinnati Reds"

4 years 5 months ago

I think theres no way Hernandez gets re-signed. With Devin Mesoraco in AAA, they have much better catching waiting in the wings. You’ll see him by the end of this season for sure. Maybe even before September. Also with Chris Heisey being the 4th outfielder, Jonny Gomes is bye bye. Not to mention Heisey’s backup plan named Yonder Alonso and Dave Sappelt. Lewis, Renterria, Gomes, & Cordero will definitely be gone.

4 years 5 months ago

While I agree there is catching waiting in the wings for the Reds, catching is the one position that I’ll take stability over upside. Catchers often take years to develop, and bust more often.

While $3 million is real money, all you have to look at is Boston this year, Texas last year, and the Mariners for the past decade to find teams that thought they had the catcher position all set only to have their prospects disappoint.

4 years 5 months ago

Mesoraco is currently in his 5th professional season, and has crushed the ball since the beginning of last season (he’s currently sporting a .917 OPS in AAA). How many more years of development do you suggest?

As a counterpoint to your arguement, I’d state that catchers take a beating every day, and Hernandez turns 35 on May 20. How much longer can the Reds expect him to stay healthy?

4 years 5 months ago

I wouldn’t say there’s no way Hernandez is re-signed, but Mesoraco definitely deserved more consideration so I added him. If cash it’s tight and Hernandez wants $3.5MM+ I can see them not doing that.

4 years 5 months ago

As a Red Sox I can contest to this. But the circumstances are different. With Boston they have aging Varitek, who at 39 can’t be counted on to catch 3 days a week. With the Reds I can easily see them letting Hernandez walk if they don’t trade him first. Why? Because they have Hanigan as the everyday catcher and Mesoraco will be the backup.

4 years 5 months ago

That Bronson Arroyo (3 years/$35 million) extension seems like an expensive and unnecessary luxury right now…

4 years 5 months ago

I’d think the Reds this year prove that there’s no such thing as too much pitching. 2/5 of their projected 5 man rotation is going to end up with 0 IP in April.

4 years 5 months ago

I’d buy a timeshare behind the plate…

4 years 5 months ago

Sounds like a lot of the Reds’ dead weight is about to be ejected. Namely Johnny Gomes (.218 BA; under .200 w/RISP), and Co-Co Cordero (the most overpayed, erratic closer in the National League). Hernandez is solid, and he looks even more important to the Reds’ lineup with the sudden disappearence of Hanigan’s swing. I don’t want to lose Ramon, but with Mesoraco and Grandal waiting in the wings, it’s not as tragic as it might be otherwise. B-Phillips is the Reds best and most consistent overall player every year, and he deserves a huge contract. Yes, I know Votto’s the MVP, but Phillips is a true 5-tool guy who makes an impact in EVERY game in one way or another. Heisey is going to be a stud. The Reds won’t miss Gomes. I like Gomes, but he’s not a 162 game a year guy. 80-100 tops.

4 years 5 months ago

Come on there are worse closers than Coco is… At least when he comes in I know we have a shot at finishing it up. There are some guys on teams, for closers, that the manager and team mates are probably holding their breath every pitch.

4 years 5 months ago

On a small market team, just can’t see them bringing Gomes, Coco, & Hernandez back with the raises the Arb players will get and because they have in-house replacements already outside of a Closer

So IMO its:

Cordero…….Open competition

Phillips – Will sign new deal at more affordable rate than the $12M Option

The real issue for this team is 3B & SS long term
Janish will hold it down until a better option becomes available
Hamilton is only at Low A and struggling on defense so far.
Cozart is really struggling with the Bat early on this season.

Francisco has shown very little improvement on his plate discipline & defense is shaky
Frazier is beginning to look like a AAAA player with his inability to hit AAA pitching
No one else in the farm system really stands out until you get to Low A

It might be time for Jockety to start looking to trade a little of our surplus for at least a good 3B prospect

4 years 5 months ago

I agree, 3B worries me. There is no clear heir apparent to that spot in the system. Extending Rolen might come back to hurt the Reds. While I appreciate everything he has brought to the team in terms of defense and professionalism, time has just caught up to him.

Billy H will figure it out and be a great SS eventually. I also think Sappelt deserves a call up.

If I was Walt, I would try and package a deal of Alsonso, Grandal or Mesorasco for a legitimate 3B. Unless Alsonso can get more athletic and learn LF, there is no room for him in Cincinnati and we don’t need 2 1st round catchers.

4 years 5 months ago

A package of Alonso and one of those catchers better net us something better than a “future 3B”. Rolen will be here through 2012. I would send Alonso for a future 3B but not one of the catchers. Catching is so hard to come by that I’m not using it in any trade other than to acquire a legit ace for a playoff run.

4 years 3 months ago

If Reds-Jocketty-Castellinin want to contend they have to get a regualr everyday LF (Heisey,no just for a few games,but several);SS is terrible there is a great fielder no hit in Janish,not much period with Edgar-Bring up COZART now!); the strikeout king in CF needs to use his speed more such as bunting; and why not bring up Frazier for more than one at bat; plus Alonso and Fransico; do something Jocketty-don’t sit on your thumbs; get some players in NOW, not when it’s too late as you usually do.OR Reds get a GM that will help team.

4 years 3 months ago

If Reds keep with the majority of players they have now, look down, not up in standinds Do something Jocketty. There are some good players  in minors. DO SOMETHING!