The portion of the roster that could see the biggest change is within the pitching staff. There could be a good-bye or two and with that there’s always a new face or two as well.
What will be interesting is how Reds GM Walt Jocketty will approach the crucial decisions he has to make in regards to the pitchers, especially with the starting staff. No easy task considering all the young arms the Reds hold. And the rest of baseball knows that the Reds are loaded wit these young guns. That could help on down the line with a couple of decisions.
Aaron Harang – I believe the tearful reaction Harang had after the Reds final regular season game said it all. He sees the writing on the wall. I really do feel for Harang. When the Reds were bad, Harang was one the of the constants in that you knew you could give him the ball and receive no complaint. He is immersed in the Cincinnati scene. Contract status: Reds hold an option for 2011 or could buyout for $2M. The buyout is imminent.
Bronson Arroyo – Arroyo is in a bit different situation. Arroyo set a career high in wins with 17 this past season. He was asked to restructure his contract during the season and he declined. Call it selfish if you wish, but I don’t blame him. He agreed to the same while in Boston and he was soon traded to Cincy. He knows the business side of things in the league. Contract status: Same as Harang. A buyout could also spell the end of Arroyo’s days in Cincy.
Arthur Rhodes – Sir Arthur was selected to his first All-Star Game this season. He was a key cog in the Reds bullpen in 2010 and is recognized as one of baseball’s better relievers that isn’t a closer. Contract status: Free agent. Rhodes made about $2M last season. I can see Walt offering a similar deal to keep him in Cincinnati.
Mike Lincoln – Lincoln suffered a strained his right latissimus dorsi (broadest muscle of the back) and was placed on the 60-day DL at the beginning of June. Contract status: Free agent. With the bevvy of young arms in the minors and losing two years due to injury, seeing Lincoln in a Reds uniform again in unlikely.
Russ Springer – Springer was one of “Walt’s Boys” that was brought in to help the bullpen. It didn’t ever materialize as Springer was placed on the DL almost as soon as he was called up from Louisville. Contract status: Free agent. Not likely to return.
Jared Burton – Burton is intriguing. He can be a vital part of the Reds bullpen and has proven to be reliable. The question will be if the Reds feel the 29 year old can be a more important piece of the puzzle that, say, Jordan Smith or Logan Ondrusek. Contract status: Arbitration eligible. I can see the Reds saying good-bye to Burton if they decide to go the way of youth.
Bill Bray – Being a lefty will serve Bray well. At times last season, Bray was ineffective. But when he was effective, he was completely unhittable. Contract status: Arbitration eligible. He will likely be back, but the contract issue remains the issue here. Could go to arbitration, may not and a one-year deal could be done.
Jose Arredondo – Arredondo missed 2010 recovering from Tommy John surgery. In 2008, the former Angels hurler mystified AL opponents. He could be a huge part of the Reds pen if he’s near the status he was in ’08. I only list Arredondo because of his 2010 absence.
The remainder of the Reds staff is ineligible for arbitration or free agency or currently under contract. So here’s what other pitchers we have on the 40-man roster:
Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Travis Wood, Homer Bailey, Mike Leake, Aroldis Chapman, Sam LeCure, Matt Maloney, Logan Ondrusek, Jordan Smith, Daniel Ray Herrera, Carlos Fisher, Phillippe Valiquette, Francisco Cordero and Nick Masset.
Uncle Walt has more than one move to consider here. Way more. This off-season will be a busy one…and a difficult one.