MLB Trade Rumors has been pretty good at figuring out the arbitration numbers over the last few years for teams and players. Teams, and agents, also have their own projection systems for the arbitration system and how it tends to play out. The Reds have up to eight players that could head to arbitration this winter.

The safe options for the Reds to head to arbitration with are Trevor Bauer, Anthony DeSclafani, Michael Lorenzen, and Curt Casali. There are questions as to whether Cincinnati will go to arbitration with the remaining players. They could non-tender them contracts and allow them to become free agents. That group includes Kevin Gausman, Derek Dietrich, Jose Peraza, and Matt Bowman.

The sticking around group

There are some raises coming for this group, as there should be. MLB Trade Rumors projects a combined $29,700,000 for this group. Let’s take a look at the data:

Player Pos 2019 Salary 2020 Projection
Trevor Bauer RHP $13,000,000 $18,600,000 $5,600,000
Anthony DeSclafani RHP $2,125,000 $5,200,000 $3,075,000
Michael Lorenzen RHP $1,950,000 $4,200,000 $2,250,000
Curt Casali C $950,000 $1,700,000 $750,000

The difference column is the raise in salary, not necessarily the raise in the Reds payroll. That only applies for Trevor Bauer, who was acquired for only the final two months, so his salary from 2019 wasn’t paid entirely by Cincinnati.

The potential non-tender group

This group is projected for raises, too, and if all were brought back and got their salaries that MLB Trade Rumors has for them they would make a combined $18,200,000. Here’s the break down:

Player Pos 2019 Salary 2020 Projection Difference
Kevin Gausman RHP $9,350,000 $10,600,000 $1,250,000
Derek Dietrich 2B $2,000,000 $3,100,000 $1,100,000
Jose Peraza SS/2B $2,775,000 $3,600,000 $825,000
Matt Bowman RHP $557,500 $900,000 $342,500

With a sub-$1,000,000 number for Matt Bowman, he may be safe. The raise isn’t much, he’s had big league success over the years, and he can provide some depth. The others are tougher to make sense of. Both Peraza and Dietrich struggled to perform for large parts of the year. Gausman performed with the Reds, but that’s a hefty salary for a player they would project to be using out of the bullpen.

What does this mean to the payroll?

There are a few things to play with here. First would be, do the Reds pick up the option on Freddy Galvis or do they pay him $1M for the buyout? From a bookkeeping standpoint, that’s a difference of $4,000,000 (it’s a $4.5M difference for his salary, but we then would just assume the league minimum salary of $575,000-ish would be taken on to replace his roster spot).

With the Reds picking up the Galvis option, and keeping around every player up for arbitration the team would have a payroll of $118M without. If the Reds don’t pick up the Galvis option, but keep everyone else around, the team would have a payroll of $114M without any other moves.

But neither of those scenarios are likely. The odds can’t be great that the team brings back everyone that’s heading to arbitration. Assuming that my “they’ll keep them” group is correct, then the Reds could have a payroll set as low as $96M when they begin to look at free agency or offseason trades. That would be if they didn’t bring back Galvis, Gausman, Dietrich, Peraza, or Bowman.

The Reds have said payroll is going to be higher than the $130M that it was in 2019. They haven’t said just how much higher, though. If the team brings back Peraza and Bowman from the “maybe” group, that would only push the payroll to $99.75M. That still would leave the team with a whole lot of money to spend in free agency. Even a modest uptick in payroll of just $10M would give them $40M to spend in free agency for 2020. If they pushed things further, just keep adding on.

36 Responses

  1. Big Ed

    I think they will non-tender Peraza and Dietrich, keep one of Iglesias or Galvis, and sign Gausman to an extension. Blandino is better than Peraza at a much lower price.

    My theory on Gausman is that they love his arm, but need a bit of time to harness it, either as a starter or a late-inning reliever. Gausman has way, way too much arm talent to release or non-tender, given that the extra expense of figuring out his future isn’t all that much.

    • Doug Gray

      I guess my thing with Gausman is this: If they approach him for an extension he knows they aren’t tending him a contract. And if that’s the case, why not test free agency? Just looking at it from his perspective, unless the Reds are really going to overpay him in an extension, I wouldn’t extend before looking at free agency. But that’s just me.

      • Indy Red Man

        Peraza is horrible. If Blandino can count to 3 then he’s better then Peraza.

  2. Ghettotrout1

    I would do the last option and wave bye bye to Dietrich, Peraza, Gausman and Galvis. Blandino is comparable if not better than Peraza at way cheaper price and then you add in VanMeter he is better than Dietrich and cheaper.

  3. JRZ59\

    I will bet big time that they keep Peraza.

    • Earmbrister

      Whether or not the Reds have Peraza on the bench will not determine whether the Reds space-time continuim is shredded.

      Peraza being the last man on their bench is the least of their worries.

  4. SteveLV

    I don’t see how they keep Gausman unless they are pretty much handing him the 5th spot in the rotation. I assume that would be Johnson’s call, and while I hope that’s not the decision, where Johnson goes, I’m willing to follow. I doubt that’s the decision, though.

    I hope they bring back J Iglesias while finding a way to allow him to come off the bench.
    There are a lot of potential moving parts between second and short. Do they bring in a starting shortstop? Does Senzel move to 2nd or stay in center? What do they really think about Van Meter?
    I assume Dietrich is gone regardless, but Peraza and Galvis decisions are probably dependent on the those higher priority open items. Keep them if you have to, but try not to have to.

  5. Ed

    Yikes. Bauer for nearly 20 million dollars seems nuts to me. It would have been really cool to see someone like Gerrit Cole, Strasburg, even Wheeler as a Red.

    I seriously think Girardi will end up in Chicago or with the Mets, and snatch up Cole. Cole is much more of a playoff caliber pitcher anyhow. If we look at Kershaw and his constant playoff implosion, I really feel that’s what Bauer has been establishing for himself. Im such a naysayer haha

  6. Ed

    While I’m ranting- Looking at some of the players contributing big in the playoffs, there’s actually a significant number of them who are over 30. Maybe it’s because the reds hold on to players past their prime, or acquire names after their peak when they aren’t able to contribute- but I reject the idea I see here often, that over-30 players aren’t worth adding to the roster. If the last year showed us anything, it’s that this Reds team lacked a rudder, lacked confidence, and players like JVM and many others could benefit from a few seasoned vets. The Nats must have like 6 starters on the field over the age of 30. I think it’s also important to develop a strong farm system, but people worried about signing someone who is entering year 30- should be more worried about starting a bunch of kids without anyone on the roster to deliver on the field AND instill a winning attitude and some MLB coping skills.

  7. Ed

    Yeah- I can’t even imagine listening to another year of Bell’s dull postgame commentary. Much less his poor management decisions

    • Earmbrister

      Didn’t they vette how interesting Bell’s post game commentary would be? Come to think of it, Belicheck was dull early in his coaching career too …

      Clint Hurdle is way more engaging.

    • Ed

      Heheh- my original post wasn’t really clear- obviously the quality of the post-game show itself isn’t important! I just mean watching Bell sorta slumped there, I don’t get any sense that he has the gumption to change his approach and win some of those 1 run games, for example- he looks resigned to his fate, incapable of motivating and lighting a fire under the ball club… then he sinks the ship even further starting JVM and Peraza in left-field, when they clearly struggle out there…. or turning to Hernandez some 30 times.

    • Ed

      Earmbrister- no need for ball busting man. Scroll on by if you disagree. Post-game interviews are an opportunity for Bell to process the game in real time, maybe show a little bit of growth and ownership of decisions that make for bad baseball. The players can speak to their short-comings and offer insight into what went wrong. Bell just says some variation of “this one got away from us.” 32. Times. One run. Bad management.

    • earmbrister

      Ed, my apologies. I’m up against a deadline and a bit sleep deprived, so if my snark was on full blast I’m sorry. My view is that too many people are being critical of Bell, with a 6 month sample size to go on. The same people (not saying you) that complain about the manager writing the catcher in indelible ink in the 8 spot, those people scream the most when Barnhardt is moved up to the 5 spot when he’s swinging the bat well. There was an article posted here some time ago that enumerated that the difference between an optimal lineup and a random lineup amounted to something like 3 wins over the course of a 162 game season. So if Bell wants to dork around with the lineup when the Reds are clearly out of the playoff race, good for him. If it keeps his players engaged when they might otherwise check out, then it’s a plus. If he learns something from the experiment, all the better.

      The Dusty Baker haters don’t have his very “in the box” thinking to bash anymore. They should be happy with a FO and manager who are open to new approaches, if only to tinker for tinkering’s sake. With Bell going into his second season, and with the Reds presumably being more competitive next year, I’d assume that certain things like unconventional lineups will be less frequent, while other unconventional approaches (say the use of Lorenzen in the OF) may be utilized more, as Bell gets more comfortable in his role.

      I’m more than content to give Bell ample time (say a few seasons) to show his worth. The Reds gone in a new direction, let’s see where it takes us.

  8. Great Redlegs Fan

    Agreed with Doug’s take, but I’d keep Bowman instead of Casali, FO shall look for offensive upgrades and catcher is a must.

  9. MichaelA

    I’m assuming you think Bell was the Reds issue last year? The only real additions to the 90+ loss team he inherited were Puig and A. Wood. Puig was very Puig this season. Had moments that he looked fantastic but mostly meh. Likely the reason the Dodgers were okay with trading him. Wood was hurt basically all year. Not Bell’s fault. Bell was given a cast of DFA’s and non-tenders and yet managed a few more wins and were possible contender until August.

    The Phillies already had a good young core that they then went out and added Harper, Realmuto, Segura etc. to. There is a big difference between those 3 and Puig, Galvis, Dietrich and J. Iggy.

    If the Reds add real hitters to go along with the pitching and then they struggle, maybe you have something. Until they have the players to realistically compete the verdict on Bell will be incomplete.

    • Scott C

      I agree Michael A. It’s hard to win a race driving a Civic against Ferraris.

    • docmike

      I honestly don’t see how anyone can look at the roster Bell was managing with and blame him for the team’s struggles. Don’t tell me he should be fired because of the team’s record, that’s only part of the story. Players matter. I look at the Reds roster and I don’t see any of the other 29 managers doing any better with that group than Bell did.

      If a team underachieves relative to the talent level, then blame the manager. That’s nowhere near the case in Cincinnati. Get him enough talent to win the division, then you can blame him if it all blows up.

    • Lars Benders

      “The only real additions to the 90+ loss team he inherited were Puig and A. Wood.”

      What about Gray and Roark? Were they not real additions? And Iglesias, Dietrich? Not to mention the slew of players that joined after opening day (Senzel, Bauer, VanMeter, Aquino, Galvis….).

      Completely different team than 2018.

    • Ed

      I’m with Pete. The season has been riddled with absurd managerial decisions and a chronic inability to adjust to win these close games. Plus, randomly sticking players wherever there’s a hole, even after they have proven themselves incapable of properly fielding that particular spot. Yeah the players were lackluster, but they were also not well managed.

    • centerfield

      It is hard to add anything to what Pete is saying and I agree with him 100% The only thing I would add is that Bell doesn’t know how to manage people. It isn’t just the analytics, double switches and L/R matchups, he simply fails to enable players to perform to the best of their abilities.

    • Mike

      I am with Pete all the way here. All those double switches in the early innings, all the quick hooks with the starting pitchers. You could see the disgust on their faces when pulled. The crazy lineups. The not allowing of the young players to play. To me it looks like the players are all playing for their own numbers, not the team wins. I have been a reds fan since 1961. My opinion, only Heffner and Miley were worse….

    • Earmbrister

      Pete, you’re right. The years are ticking. Bell was was manager for six months: we’ve given him more than enough time. Joe Maddon would’ve definitely gotten us another two wins this season which would’ve won us, err never mind.

      I’m a numbers guy, and I am 59 years old. A recent story here on this blog showed that the Reds had one of the highest number of front office analysts in all of baseball. But yeah, try to sell that nepotism BS anyway.

      The Reds have gone in an entirely new direction as a team. However, I can understand why you’d want to blow it all up. The Reds, after all, had an absolute MURDERER’S ROW of a lineup and a BP only matched by the NYYs. They should’ve won 100 games, or maybe 75. How dare Bell tinker with the lineup and cost us a chance at 75 wins.

    • Rich H

      Minor league winning percentages mean literally nothing. Nothing at all. Bringing them up is pointless.

    • Indy Red Man

      Ok so Bell wasn’t winning 90 with this cast, but who forced him to use Hernandez 20x in a month? Who forced him to bat Tucker or Iggy 5th? Idiotic.

    • earmbrister

      Indy, I’m glad we can agree that Bell (or anyone) wasn’t going to win 90 games with this cast.

      So you ask, who forced Bell to pitch Hernandez 20 times in a month? No one, cause it NEVER HAPPENED. Now, I can understand that it may have seemed that Hernandez must have pitched 20 times in a month, cause come mid summer we were all cringing when he came into a game. However, the high point in usage was April when he appeared 15 times. Of course, Hernandez had a stellar 2018, so leaning on him early in the season would make sense. And to utilize some metric available on a game long basis, DH had an ERA of 2.53 as late as April 25th. Monthly usage went from 15x in April, 12x in May, 10x in June, 6x in July, and 4x in August. It would have been reasonable to peg DH as the Reds third best reliever coming into the season, so leaning on him in April would make sense. He was released on August 11th, only to be signed by the cellar dweller NYYs on August 14th. I guess Bell should’ve been utilizing all of the other quality bullpen arms that he was previously ignoring.

      As for lineup construction, gimme a break. You want to complain about late season lineups when the Reds were no longer in playoff contention? As I commented above, the same people that complain about the manager writing the catcher in indelible ink in the 8 spot, those people scream the most when Barnhardt is moved up to the 5 spot when he’s swinging the bat well. There was an article posted here some time ago that enumerated that the difference between an optimal lineup and a random lineup amounted to something like 3 wins over the course of a 162 game season. So if Bell wants to dork around with the lineup when the Reds are clearly out of the playoff race, good for him. If it keeps his players engaged when they might otherwise check out, then it’s a plus. If he learns something from the experiment, all the better.

      When all is said and done, David Bell has forgotten more baseball than you or I could ever hope to know. I’m not going to judge the man on his first six months, managing a less than stellar group of players. I like the fact that we are being challenged via the manager and the FO doing things much differently than what we’ve become accustomed to in the past.

  10. jbonireland

    Wow a lot to digest. Bauer at 18 mil will be a waste, however it will only be for one year. To me Galvis is an overpay. Give me Iglesias if he will stay at two or three years. Gausman no thanks at that salary and I wouldn’t want him as my fifth starter. Deitrich is a definite no on retaining. Peraza vs. Blandino is a wash except of the money so I would probably Blandino at a lower salary but have no problem as a backup. Van Meter would probably be equal to or a little better than either. Bowman I definitely would keep at that salary. Actually I would see if I could lock him up on a two yer deal.

    As far as catcher is concerned, I would keep Casali, he hits well enough and I just don’t get the man love for Grandal. I definitely would not want any part of three years at 60 million. By the end of the year I expect Tyler Stephenson to be catching for the Reds.

  11. Optimist

    Wow is Bowman cheap, didn’t realize that. Why wouldn’t he fill the Hughes/Hernandez payroll role going forward – see if he’d extend for 2/3 years at $2-3m/yr. Looking at his performance the past few years, it seems the only issue is health. Otherwise he’s a great last-guy-in-the-pen type.

    • Cguy

      I agree about Bowman. With Hughes gone, Reds need a ground ball reliever in the pen. Plus Bowman has an option for next year.Since Garrett, Stephenson, Romano, & Sims are out of options, Matt is a bargain @under a million$. I wouldn’t offer him a multi-year deal though, several of Alaniz, Kuhnel, Hendrix, Powers, Herget, & Mella might earn active roster spots next season. I’d make my best offer to J. Iglesias before I had to pick up Galvis’ option. I don’t see the need for both.

  12. Doug Gray

    It actually sounds like the owner, not the GM, was the one who wanted to replace Kapler. The GM sounded as if he was fighting to keep him around.

  13. Tolan28

    Peraza is a perfect example of what’s wrong with Reds management (field and FO). They’ve given almost 1900 plate appearances to a guy that plays below average defense with no power and 75 walks. Repeating this is the definition of insanity.

  14. MBS

    I know it sounds like a lot of money to spend, but it’s not my money, so here it goes.

    Resign: Galvis to be the starting SS, and
    Drop: Casali, GausmanPeraza, Dietrich, and Bowman
    Sign: S. Marte, Y. Grandal, and closer W. Smith

    CF Marte, 1B Votto, 3B Suarez, RF Aquino, C Grandal, LF Winker, 2B Senzel, SS Galvis
    SU Farmer, U VanMeter, OF O’Grady, C Barnhart 2Way Lorenzen

    1 Castillo 2 Gray 3 Bauer 4 DeSclafani 5 Mahle
    HL Smith, HL Iglesias, HL Garrett, HL Lorenzen
    ML Stephenson, ML Reed, LL Sims, LL Naughton

  15. greenmtred

    GM’s may see firing managers as highly critical to molifying fans. “See? We’ve done something…”

  16. Roger Garrett

    Money to keep the non tender group needs to be used elsewhere.Bowman because of price and experience would be the only one I would consider.The rest because of price and or performance need to go.More then likely DD and Peraza will return because well that’s just what the Reds do.