The Reds are next in our arbitration eligibles series…
- First time: Joey Votto, Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Jay Bruce, Bill Bray
- Second time: Jared Burton, Corky Miller, Laynce Nix
- Third time: Jonny Gomes
Votto will reach arbitration with a .314/.401/.557 career line in 456 games, including 268 runs, 90 home runs, 298 RBIs, 28 steals, a second-place Rookie of the Year finish, an All-Star appearance, and probably an MVP award. He'll have no problem making $7MM or more, and he doesn't know if he'd be interested in a long-term deal.
Rotation members Volquez and Cueto will certainly be tendered contracts too. John Danks' first-time arbitration salary of $3.45MM could be a target, though Cueto has the superior platform year among the two Reds pitchers.
Bruce isn't going anywhere either. MLBTR broke the news in June that he will be the Super Two with the least amount of service time this offseason, at two years and 125 days. Carlos Quentin's $3.2MM might be his goal.
Bray is worth tendering. He had Tommy John surgery in May of '09, limiting his career numbers. He was pretty good in 28.3 big league innings this year in his return. Burton would be slightly more expensive, coming from an $810K salary. Dealing with asthma and lack of strength this year, Burton spent most of the season at Triple A. I could see this one going either way depending on how the Reds feel about his health. His raise would be minimal.
Miller, who was outrighted in July but had his contract purchased in September, will likely be non-tendered for the flexibility. Nix was outrighted in November of last year and re-signed to a minor league deal. He was better this year, but was limited by an August ankle injury. I lean toward the Reds non-tendering him and attempting to re-sign him to a minor league deal again.
The Reds non-tendered Gomes last year coming off a .267/.338/.541 season, re-signing him in February. He performed worse on a rate basis with more playing time this year, but managed to knock in 86 runs. Gomes' current contract with the Reds has a $1.75MM club option for 2011 with a $500K buyout. I'm not sure if they'll find the $1.25MM net price to their liking, but according to Cot's Baseball Contracts the Reds have to release Gomes if they decline his option. Perhaps that means he's not technically arbitration eligible.
If the Reds let all of their free agents leave and also cut Gomes, Miller, and Nix, I estimate they'd have around $60MM committed. That'd mean $16MM to work with if payroll is held steady, and perhaps more given this year's attendance jump and playoff revenue.