Despite the acquisitions the Cincinnati Reds have made this offseason the club has been able to maintain payroll flexibility. Additional reinforcements could very well be in the team’s near future.
Earlier this offseason we discussed what a $130 million payroll would look like for the Cincinnati Reds. Taking into account the players who had guaranteed salaries for 2018 and those eligible for arbitration, the club had approximately $30 million to spend this winter to reach that threshold.
To say Dick Williams and Nick Krall have been busy this December is an understatement. In the past two weeks, the Reds have acquired via trade two starting pitchers in Tanner Roark from the Nationals and Alex Wood from the Dodgers. In the same deal with LA, the club attained the services of power-hitting outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp along with catcher/infielder Kyle Farmer.
Adding five Major Leaguers to the payroll would be a tricky proposition. However, the Reds front office pulled a rabbit out of their hat by being able to include pitcher Homer Bailey and his 2018 $23-million salary in the trade with Los Angeles. The Dodgers also sent $7 million in cash to the Reds to complete the deal.
Despite turning over 20% of their major league roster the Cincinnati Reds can still add another $12-13 million to the payroll. That’s taking into consideration if no one off the current roster is moved. The front office still has tremendous leverage to add an impact player. Perhaps another arm to the pitching corps.
Dallas Keuchel remains the top available starting pitcher on the free agent market. If the Reds have any thoughts of signing him, a salary will need to be moved. How likely that would be is anyone’s guess, but the Reds can remain in the Keuchel sweepstakes if they so desire. Fortunately, other options are still available.
With their remaining dollars, the Reds could shift their focus to another pair of left-handed free agent starting pitchers such as Wade Miley and Gio Gonzalez. According to projections at MLB Trade Rumors, Miley looks to receive in the vicinity of $6 million annually, while Gonzalez is predicted to be awarded twice as much.
Miley is an interesting case. Last year he had an excellent, albeit abbreviated, season with the NL Central champion Brewers. Starting 16 games last year, Miley compiled a 5-2 record with an excellent 2.57 ERA. The man in charge for coaxing those numbers was former Milwaukee Brewers and current Cincinnati Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson. A possible reunion could be in the offing.
The Cincinnati Reds front office has already done some power shopping this holiday season and provided manager David Bell with multiple, shiny, new toys to play with. Let’s hope the front office rings in 2019 with a resolution to strengthen the team even more.