Reds president of baseball operations and general manager Dick Williams indicated today that his club’s “internal plan” is to boost MLB spending in 2019, as Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
“What we’ve said is that we’ve always tried to put as much of (the payroll) on the field as we can,” said Williams. “We now feel like the last couple of years, we’ve taken a lot of our resources and allocated them into the amateur draft, the international market. We hope that can shift back toward Major League payroll.”
While he did not commit to specifics, Williams certainly indicated that the organization is hoping to build off of some recent positive momentum on the field. He said that the club “believe[s] that we’re creating a good core to invest around.”
Though the Reds remain buried in the NL Central, the club has played much better of late. In addition to receiving solid contributions from much of the lineup, the pitching staff has shown some promise after years of struggles.
Among the organization’s building blocks are several players already signed to long-term deals, including star first baseman Joey Votto, third bagger Eugenio Suarez, and catcher Tucker Barnhart. In addition to some major strides from the bullpen, starters Tyler Mahle and Sal Romano have turned in improved results over the last month or so.
It’s interesting to note, of course, that the Reds remain in an obvious selling position at the trade deadline. That said, starter Matt Harvey is perhaps the team’s only truly marketable pending free agent. And the intended future course could counsel against significant moves involving controllable players, even those who aren’t under club control for the long haul. Second baseman Scooter Gennett, outfielder Billy Hamilton, and veteran relievers Raisel Iglesias, Jared Hughes, and David Hernandez are among the names that surely have or will come up in trade chatter. But none of those players will qualify for free agency at season’s end, and most of the rest of the roster comes with even lengthier control.
With half of the 2018 season still yet to be played, of course, the plans could still undergo some change. Williams cautioned that “it’s too early to know for sure” just what course the Reds will chart. He noted that “support we get from the fans” will play a role, perhaps hinting at the fact that attendance is down quite a bit in Cincinnati, as Nightengale explains.
The hope and expectation, though, seems to be that there’ll be added funds available for some additions. What types of players might be targeted will surely also be a function of how things shape up over the coming months, though pitching promises to be a focal point. As things stand, though, Williams foresees a “nice increase” in payroll. The club began the present season at just over $100MM after falling shy of that mark in the prior two campaigns. The team’s Opening Day record, of $115MM and change, came in 2015.