Choo, BHam and Center Field

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Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

You might be led to believe the team will receive a bit of a “windfall” since Joey Votto will be making $7M less in 2014. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Not even close.

Raises due to a few players will easily absorb that $7M , so it’s like you actually don’t have those funds available for use. Actually, you won’t. Salary increases owed to players currently under contract for next season are approximately $20.5M. Offset that with the Votto decrease and your payroll still jumps by almost $13.5M.

For 2014, the Reds have already committed $79.35M toward payroll. That’s only $1.5M below what the entire 2011 Opening Day payroll was. My how times have changed. The “small market” Reds, known for the conservative spending, could have back-to-back seasons with a $100M+ payroll.

Or not. If the brass wants payroll to go below $100M, some deals will need to be made. I sense one already.

The shining light might be the salary number Cot’s Contracts has affixed to Bronson Arroyo: $16.45M. Now you have the slightest of wiggle room of almost $3M, but that figure does not include those under team control and those heading to arbitration (Sam LeCure is one) that will also be garnering a salary increase.

Of course, you wonder if Bronson Arroyo could potentially return for the 2014 season. It could certainly play a role in a Choo re-signing. Keeping Arroyo could mean that Choo would not be back in a Reds uniform. Re-signing Choo could mean that Arroyo would not return.

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