Cincinnati Reds are years away from being players in free agency

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Reds have the cash to chase free agents, but not the reason nor the roster space.

Cincinnati Reds fans want to see the team make a splash in free agency.  Based on last season’s results, the team needs to get better.  Signing a player or two isn’t likely the way.

With the trade of Brandon Phillips last off-season, the Reds free about $10-million for this year’s team.  Some of that money will go to arbitration players, but not all.  That means the Reds have some money to spend on free agents.

The Reds have a trio of free agents in Scott Feldman, Drew Storen, and Zack Cozart.  Their combined salary last season was roughly $10-million.  Cozart isn’t coming back and Storen is out all year with an elbow injury.

This is the last year for Devin Mesoraco’s contract, too.  That’s another $10-million.  $30-million per year can get you nearly any free agent in MLB.

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The Reds also have more money coming from Fox Sports Ohio in the future.  They are a team flush with cash.  This is all assuming that they were near their budget in 2017, which is unlikely.

That presumes that the Reds know where they would want to spend money.  They are loaded with prospects pretty much everywhere.  Even at shortstop, where they are thin at the big league level, is loaded in the minors.

The Cincinnati Reds also have to weigh the cost of losing a prospect if they sign a free agent.

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If the Reds signed a free agent, they would have to option someone off of the forty man roster.  That may not seem like a big deal, but most of their excess players are pitchers.  Releasing a non-pitcher would hurt their depth.

The Reds will face those decisions soon enough.  Rookie Davis looks like he may not make it.  Amir Garrett needs to prove he can stay healthy.

Now, though, isn’t the time to let prospects go.  Homer Bailey wouldn’t still be around if his contract wasn’t so big.  He and Mesoraco, though, are the only dead weight on the forty man roster.

There would also need to be the right players to sign.  The Reds need veterans that either want to re-establish their value or help turn around a 90 loss team.  Not many free agents are attracted by that combination.

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Fans may not like it, but that is the state of Reds right now.  They need to be cautious in this phase of the rebuild.  That is how you return to competition.