Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A quick look at how much money the Reds may have to work with in 2014

It seems like the same story every year as it pertains to the offseason for the Reds. Cincinnati would love to enter the sweepstakes on the many big name free agents available, however, the club claims financial resources are limited, and must resort to watching the likes of the Yankees, Dodgers, and Red Sox, among others, compete with each other for the top unsigned talent.

This year is obviously no different for the Redlegs, who are coming off for their third postseason appearance in four seasons, and face the tall task of assembling another playoff contender for 2014, with little to no cash to work with.

Coming off a 2013 campaign which saw the Reds payroll exceed $100 million for the first time in franchise history, the Reds already have a total of $76 million committed to just 11 players next year, including a combined $43 million due to Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, and Johnny Cueto alone. That is a lot of dough for a traditionally small market team such as the Reds to owe to such few players.

Nonetheless, the situation is what it is, and general manager Walt Jocketty faces the unenviable challenge of trying to replace the voids left behind by free agents Bronson Arroyo and Shin-Soo Choo, in the high probability that neither return to the Queen City in '14.

With that being said, here are the player salaries that the Reds are already on the hook for next season:

Joey Votto - $12M
Brandon Phillips - $11M
Jay Bruce - $10M
Johnny Cueto - $10M
Aroldis Chapman - $3M
Jonathan Broxton - $7M
Sean Marshall - $5.5M
Ryan Ludwick - $8.5M
Mat Latos - $7.25M
Jack Hannahan - $1M
Logan Ondrusek - $1.35

For those keeping score at home, the Reds essentially owe Broxton, Marshall, and Ludwick, who combined to appear in less than half of Cincinnati's games in 2013, an astounding $21 million next year. Ouch. Of course, if each of them stays healthy, it could go a long way in justifying the cost.

Additionally, the Reds also have seven players who are arbitration eligible this winter, including Ryan Hanigan, Homer Bailey, Alfredo Simon, Mike Leake, Chris Heisey, and Xavier Paul, which Baseball Reference estimates will cost the club $23M to re-sign. That brings the estimated total payroll to $99 million, folks.

But wait, we are forgetting some players that could play key roles in next year's squad. Zack Cozart, Devin Mesoraco, Todd Frazier, J.J. Hoover, Tony Cingrani, Derrick Robinson, and Billy Hamilton are among other players set to receive modest increases in salary, as well. Baseball Reference estimates the cost of filling out the 25-man roster with these guys at around $3.5 million, which brings the total estimated payroll to $103.1 million.

And this figure is without even factoring in the small chance that Choo could join the fold. So, as you can see, the Reds have very little flexibility when it comes to money, which is why we shouldn't be surprised if Jocketty pulls an unexpected trade or two this offseason (perhaps involving Phillips) to help free up some extra cash. Remember, he has surprised us before.

1 comment:

Lane Sizemore said...

Why would Uncle Walty even consider trading away DatDude to save a few paltry million $ while seriously down grading the teams already enemic offense and also downgrading the defense up the middle significantly? Makes more sense to me to just stand pat with what you have letting choo-choo & bron-bron walk which your numbers show with raises due would increase the payroll by what 3.5 - 4 mil for 2014? Let hamilton roam in center with heisey spot starting and every little thing is gonna be alright : )