Cincinnati Reds make three key internal re-signings

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Going into the arbitration season, the Cincinnati Reds sign three of five arbitration eligible players.

The Cincinnati Reds rarely go to arbitration.  In 2016 the Reds went to arbitration against relief pitcher JJ Hoover.  Prior to that the Reds hadn’t gone to arbitration since 2004.

This year the Reds had five arbitration eligible players.  They were Anthony DeSclafani, Scooter Gennett, Billy Hamilton, Michael Lorenzen, and Eugenio Suarez.  The only player that was facing his second go around with the Reds was Hamilton.

Gennett was arbitration eligible last year.  However, he and the Milwaukee Brewers came to an agreement last season before he went to arbitration.  Now he and the Reds appear set to go to arbitration.

Third baseman Eugenio Suarez is arbitration eligible for the first time in his career.  He filed for $4.2-million, but the Reds countered with $3.75-million.  Suarez had his second consecutive solid offensive year at third base in 2017.

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Suarez went from one of the worst defensive third baseman in 2016 to one of the best in 2017.  He also hit 26 home runs and drove in 82 runs.  Those numbers have Suarez projected to bat in the spot directly ahead of National League MVP runner-up Joey Votto.

The signings are even more important for the Cincinnati Reds than those that haven’t yet signed.

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The biggest signing maybe that of center fielder Billy Hamilton.  By signing for $4.6-million Hamilton makes himself more attractive as a trade piece.  The Reds are more likely to move Hamilton now that teams know how much he will cost them in 2018.

Lorenzen is also a big signing.  He will get a shot at the starting rotation in 2018.  Whether he ends up there or in the bullpen, his $1.31-million salary in 2018 is a great deal for a rebuilding Reds roster and a good hitter in a pinch.

The DeSclafani signing is more of a relief than a positive.  

DeSclafani has shown great promise since he arrived from the Miami Marlins in the Mat Latos deal.  With his injury history the Reds wanted to make sure that his salary wasn’t going to be prohibitive in 2018 and beyond.

Next: Interview with potential Reds draft pick Bryan Reyes

The Reds need to do whatever they can to control salary.  Signing players ahead of arbitration and moving those that end up costing too much are the ways to compete for a small market club.  Hopefully, the Reds can sign Gennett and Suarez before the hearings.  Although, right now, that doesn’t look likely.