Cincinnati Reds: Payroll will increase, but what about wins?

MILWAUKEE, WI - JUNE 14: Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds cap and glove in the dugout before the game between the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on June 14, 2014 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - JUNE 14: Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds cap and glove in the dugout before the game between the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on June 14, 2014 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Reds owner Bob Castellini has vowed to increase the team’s payroll going into the 2019 season. Will the team’s win total increase as well?

Being a big spender doesn’t always guarantee success, but it doesn’t hurt. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati Reds owner Bob Castellini is ready to open his checkbook during the upcoming offseason.

Castellini is quoted as saying the Reds will have the highest payroll they’ve ever had under his ownership. That would put Cincinnati’s payroll north of $115 million. The Reds’ payroll in 2015 was $115 million.

But will that be enough to bring more fans to Great American Ball Park and put more W’s in the win column? Maybe. Spending alone does not guarantee victories. But smart spending this offseason could go a long way towards putting 2018 in the rearview mirror and focusing on the future.

Conventional wisdom would have you believe that the teams with the highest payrolls in Major League Baseball would be the most successful. That’snot necessarily the case this season. Only four teams (Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Houston Astros) made the playoffs with a Top 10 in Opening Day payroll.

The Oakland Athletics, who secured the second Wild Card spot in the American League, had the lowest Opening Day payroll in all of Major League Baseball at $62.65 million. The Cincinnati Reds payroll in 2018 was $101.72 million.

Two teams with a lower payroll than the Reds made the postseason in 2018. The Milwaukee Brewers ($90.83 million) and the Atlanta Braves ($83.31 million). The Pittsburgh Pirates ($84.59 million), Tampa Bay Rays ($69.61 million), the Athletics, and the Braves all spent less than $100 million and had winning records this season.

So, what would an additional $15-plus million get the Reds this offseason? It’s likely to secure them two middle-of-the-order starting pitchers. Sorry Reds fans, while it’s nice to dream about Cincinnati pursuing the likes of Dallas Keuchel and Patrick Corbin, either one of those players will command more than what the team is willing to spend.

But, there are several starting pitchers available that will not be nearly as expensive and still allow the Reds to fill some holes in their starting rotation. Cincinnati could chase players the likes Wade Miley. Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill, or Tyson Ross. As we said earlier, sometimes it’s not how much you spend, it’s how smart you are with your spending.

This could also be a two-year process to help repair the starting rotation. Don’t forget that Homer Bailey‘s $23-million contract comes off the books after next season. The Cincinnati Reds would likely have even more money to spend on free agents during next year’s offseason.

There's no better choice than Joe Girardi. Next

Several teams, every year, demonstrate that it doesn’t take a bloated payroll to win. However, if nothing else, Bob Castellini’s commitment to increase the payroll this offseason should show fans of the Cincinnati Reds that he’s serious about trying to turn this thing around.