Going Forward in Arbitration. It’s Gonna Be Pricey!


The list of Reds players that are arbitration eligible isn’t long, but it will be costly. The key word is eligible. There are others that can be offered arbitration. A list of Reds players eligible and their 2010 salary (estimated: salary figures courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts):

Bill Bray – not available
Jay Bruce – $440,000
Jared Burton – $810,000
Johnny Cueto – $445,000
Edinson Volquez – $445,000
Joey Votto – $550,000

Obviously, Votto is in line for a the heftiest of raises following his 2010 MVP selection. According to Biz of Baseball, Votto “could land north of $7 million next season.” That would account for almost 65% of the money the Reds “saved” by not bringing back Aaron Harang who was due to make $11 million.

There have been numerous stories about Votto and the Reds supposedly negotiating a long term deal. Votto put that out on the table yesterday.

"“We haven’t had any talks. How open am I to that? I don’t know. You’d have to see the figures and talk about the years. Because we haven’t have any conversations about it. It wouldn’t be fair to comment on it. I’m not trying to dodge the question. But I’ve got nothing. That’s OK right now. . . I don’t want to be peppered with contract stuff all offseason.”"

Still, if the Reds elect arbitration, they could end up “losers” in the cash column. A long term deal (say, through 2014, Votto’s first year of free agency) could save them some dough. Really, it’s a “win-win” situation…unless Votto goes back-to-back and the Reds did not make that long term deal. Then the money will really flow to Votto’s wallet.

Next would be NL Clinching home run hitting Jay Bruce. Again, there’s talk of a possible long term deal. Bruce was granted Super Two status, thus permitting him to hit the arbitration wagon a year early. For just one year, a bit of coin will be involved here, too. If a longer deal could be reached, the Reds could save a bit of that “extra money”.

Cueto and Volquez are both intersting looks.

Volquez is still recovering a bit from Tommy John surgery. When he’s on, he’s unhittable. When he’s not, he’ll surrender 5 runs in 2+ innings. His first season with the Reds (and an All-Star) resulted in a fourth place finish in Rookie of the Year…a spot ahead of Jay Bruce. Despite his inconsistency since this past season, cracking seven figures is well within reach for Edinson. Being 28-22 with a 4.36 ERA for a career isn’t that shabby.

Same for Cueto. Overlook that dubious seven game suspension here. In his three season in Cincy, Cueto has made 30 or more starts each year. He’s also topped 170 innings. Neither his career record (32-32) or ERA (4.27) won’t blow you away, but he was without doubt the Reds #2 behind Bronson Arroyo last year. Yes, another pitcher due for a major raise.

Bray could be in for more cash, too. He’s also recovering from Tommy John surgery. When he was first brought up Louisville last season, I’m not sure Bray was ready. He was wild and inconsistent to say the least. As the foot issues with Arthur Rhodes escalated, Dusty Baker relied more on Bray and he pitched well. He proved he can get both the righties and lefties out…a valuable commidity in the bullpen.

Burton brings an interesting scenario here. He spent almost all of last season in Louisville and hurled his butt off. He went 3-2 with a 2.61 ERA for the Bats and hitters were only .204 against him. Righties didn’t fare as well only going .174. With the likes of bullpen guys Logan Ondrusek and Jordan Smith on the 40-man, keep an eye if he’s offered arbitration. I would imagine so, but would he get $810,000?

Decisions will be made on those the Reds are contemplating offering arbitration to. They only have a few more hours to make their offers.