The 2019 Reds payroll will be the team’s highest ever, owner Bob Castellini tells Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer. We already knew that the Reds planned on spending more next season, though Castellini’s comments suggest a fairly notable increase over this season’s $101.34MM Opening Day payroll. The team’s previous payroll high was $115.3MM on Opening Day 2015, and that total jumped to over $118MM by the end of that season. However, Castellini also referenced increased organizational spending, which suggest he may not be referring exclusively to player payroll. Regardless, Cincinnati will be shopping for multiple arms this winter, as Castellini notes that “We know we have to bolster the whole pitching situation. Are we talking about one starter or two? Two bullpen guys, three bullpen guys?”
More from Cincinnati and the NL Central….
- MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently took note of the fairly substantial drop in attendance seen at the Great American Ball Park this year, while Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that 2018 marked the Reds’ slowest year at the turnstiles since 1984. Elsewhere around town, however, Cincinnati’s minor league soccer team FC Cincinnati is busy setting attendance records as they prepare to make the jump to the MLS in 2019, according to Sharon Coolidge and Patrick Brennan of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Losing the attendance battle to a minor league soccer team might be discouraging, but it’s also a clear indication for the Reds that a hunger exists in the city to support a winner.
- The Cardinals are hoping to get their middle infield combo of Kolten Wong and Paul DeJong healthy this offseason with a little R&R. Wong will avoid surgery on a balky left knee that led to some hamstring soreness later in the year, as per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. DeJong successful underwent surgery last week to remove a plate that from his left hand that was inserted to aid the healing process after he broke it in May. He’ll be in a cast for a few weeks, but should be healthy enough for offseason workouts before too long. DeJong struggled to regain his power stroke after returning in July, though that isn’t an uncommon short-term issue for players recovering from a broken hand. St. Louis hopes to get this tandem healthy, as they’re both signed to fairly modest long-term deals. Wong is signed for two more seasons with a $12.5MM option for 2021, while DeJong signed an extension in March.
- In Cubs news, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat took an early look at the questions Theo Epstein and company need to address this offseason. The Cubs fell from first in runs scored to eighth in the second half, but exactly where in the lineup they’ll look to upgrade is as of yet unclear. Perhaps the easiest way to improve the offense is to get Kris Bryant’s shoulder back in good form, as the former NL MVP was in and out of the lineup for much of the second half with shoulder soreness. For now, the plan is to avoid surgery and hope that a longer offseason than usual helps the healing process.