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Poor planning, lack of cash could force Reds to slash payroll

Nov 11, 2009, 1:36 PM EDT

Less than four months ago the Reds traded three players to the Blue Jays for Scott Rolen and the $11.8 million remaining on his contract for 2010, but now Ed Price of Fanhouse reports that they “need to slash payroll” and may be forced to shop high-paid veterans Brandon Phillips, Aaron Harang, and Bronson Arroyo.
Harang and Arroyo are solid starters, but they’re hardly top-of-the-rotation material and Cincinnati would likely have to eat some salary to get either of them off the books. Arroyo is owed $11 million next season and $11 million or a $2 million buyout for 2011. Harang is owed $12.5 million next season and $12.75 million or a $2 million buyout for 2011. Good luck shedding those contracts in this environment.
Phillips would be far easier to trade, because he’s 28 years old, excellent defensively at second base, hit .276/.329/.447 with 20 homers and 25 steals this season, and is owed a more palatable $17.75 million over the next two seasons with a $12 million option or $1 million buyout for 2012. Ironically, general manager Walt Jocketty explained that the extent of the payroll issues may be determined by offseason ticket sales, which will no doubt be hurt by talk of the team having to deal away well-known players.
Getting rid of closer Francisco Cordero and the $25 million that he’s owed over the next two seasons would seemingly be another option to lessen the payroll, but Price notes that the Reds “would prefer to keep” him. Apparently paying $12.5 million per season for a closer who pitches 70 innings is absolutely vital for a team that hasn’t finished above .500 since 2000. Or something.

  1. GimmeSomeSteel - Nov 11, 2009 at 1:47 PM

    We in Cincinnati could see this coming, especially after the Rolen/Encarnacion deal. Money that should have been plowed into the long-depleted minor league system is going for just a few salaries (those in the article plus the last of the idiotic two-year deal they gave Taveras). For all their talk, there’s no real management/ownership commitment to winning here, similar to the last two owners. As long as the sheeple keep showing up and the team makes money, management and ownership will make excuses while pocketing the cash.
    Of the contracts in question, the most likely to be shed is that of Harang, but as you mentioned, the Reds would have to eat a lot of his deal, so the savings would be minimal.

  2. DL3 - Nov 11, 2009 at 3:37 PM

    ownership and management are faced with either winning now or building for the future and Reds fans are tired of “waiting until next year” so I think Castellini and Jocketty are trying their best to do both.
    I say give them a little slack and let them work before you jump off the deep end and say it’s business as usual with “pocketing the money” and if anyone thinks they’ll deal Phillips, you’re outta your gourd. Jocketty knows that putting a winner on the field is how you put butts in the seats and he’ll do what he has to do to keep this young nucleus of talent (Votto, Phillips, Bruce, Stubbs,Dickerson) together as long as he can.
    I was impressed by the way they finished the season and I liked what the younger guys showed against the top teams in the league. if we continue to get solid starting pitching and have that great bullpen, the rest will continue to improve with every at bat.

  3. Tyler - Nov 11, 2009 at 3:38 PM

    Bronson Arroy has posted a plus-5.00 FIP in three straight seasons. He is hardly a “solid” pitcher. If they are looking to shed salary, though, why the heck did they part with such a solid pitching prospect in Zach Stewart to take on Scott Rolen’s salary for 2010?

  4. Old Gator - Nov 12, 2009 at 9:57 AM

    Getting nostalgic for Marge Schott, are we? Maybe if the team auctioned off her private museum of Nazi memorabilia (including that foul little dog) to a select audience – Sarah Palin, Bill Krystol, Dick Cheney, Charles Krauthammer, Michael Steele, Bill O’Reilly, John Boner…er, heh heh, Boehner, and such – you could raise the funds to plow into the team’s Hitler Youth…er, heh heh, minor league system after all. That, and you might have enough left over for a Skyline Chili buffet in the clubhouse before every home game. Five ways!

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