Arbitration Eligibles: Cincinnati Reds

The Reds are next in our 2013 Arbitration Eligibles series.  Matt Swartz's salary projections are below.

For Latos to reach our projected salary, he'll have to set a new first-time starting pitcher record.  A comparison to the relevant slice of Jered Weaver's career suggests it's possible but far from certain, especially with Weaver holding a signficant advantage in wins.  At any rate, Latos should exceed $4MM and is on track for some large raises in the coming years unless the Reds extend him.  Latos' agency, Bledsoe Brothers, would be in uncharted waters on an extension, as there are no comparable contracts signed by other pitchers.  I'd expect more than $60MM on a five-year deal.

Bailey's peripheral numbers were remarkably similar to last year's, but he topped 200 innings for the first time, posted his first sub-4.00 ERA, and finished his season with a run of dominance that included a no-hitter.  Given the 26-year-old's shoulder issues prior to this year, the Reds may want to be cautious about an extension.  Leake has shown himself to be a credible back-end starter.  Perhaps the Reds hoped for more upon drafting him eighth overall in 2009, but he's still a good deal his first time through arbitration.

In the bullpen, the Reds have Bray, Ondrusek, and Simon up for arbitration.  Bray missed most of the season with injuries, and could be a non-tender candidate.  On the other hand, his raise wouldn't be much, and his injuries were not arm-related.  Ondrusek's control problems continued this year, and he was left off the Reds' playoff roster in favor of J.J. Hoover.  Ondrusek could be cut loose, more out of concern for a roster spot than his salary.  Simon, claimed off waivers from the Orioles in April, increased his groundball rate and had a solid year, so he's safe.

On the position player side, Stubbs' offense continued to plummet.  He could be trade bait this winter, but it seems more likely the Reds will wait until Billy Hamilton is ready for the Majors.  I expect Stubbs to be tendered a contract, though it's not a total lock.  Heisey seems secure in his oft-used fourth outfielder role.  Valdez is headed for a non-tender after posting a .463 OPS this year.

If Latos, Bailey, Leake, Stubbs, Bray, Heisey, Ondrusek, and Simon are retained, the Reds are looking at $20MM for eight arbitration eligible players.  As I've mentioned, however, some of those eight are borderline non-tender candidates.

Matt Swartz's arbitration projections are available exclusively at MLB Trade Rumors.  To read more about his projection model, check out this series of posts.


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