In another sign that the Reds’ budget is stretched to the limit, Bronson Arroyo’s recent contract extension calls for some of the money to be made in deferred payments:

A good portion of Bronson Arroyo’s salary for 2011 is deferred.

Arroyo was set to make $13 million under the option that the club picked up.

However, his new 3-year, $35 million contract has deferred money and will pay him to 2021.

But don’t expect the Reds to go on a spending spree with the money saved.

“It helps us maintain what we have,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. “If he hadn’t done that, we’d be way, way over budget.”

The Reds are operating with a payroll right around $80 million.

In other words, the Reds aren’t signing Cliff Lee. Quit being silly.

I still think Walt Jocketty is going to engineer some kind of trade (hopefully for a left fielder) before Opening Day, but I’d be surprised if it happened in the near future.