Cincinnati Reds: Who is eligible for arbitration for the first time?

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 02: Amir Garrett #50 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on during a game. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 02: Amir Garrett #50 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on during a game. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The Reds have eight players who are first-year arbitration eligible.

Salary arbitration is a tricky nut to crack in the baseball world. Not every fans understands how it works, it’s oftentimes not known when a player becomes eligible, and what’s all this I’m hearing about non-tendering certain players? Well, we’re here to help you out as the Cincinnati Reds offseason is beginning a bit sooner than we’d all hoped.

According to, players who have three or more years of Major League service but less than six years of Major League service become eligible for salary arbitration if they do not already have a contract for the next season.

The arbitration process can be ugly, which is why teams and players work so hard before the deadline to get a deal worked out. Again, per, if the club and player have not agreed on a salary by the January 15th deadline, the club and player must exchange salary figures for the upcoming season. After the figures are exchanged, a hearing is scheduled in February.

The Cincinnati Reds have a total of 14 players slated for arbitration this winter and eight of them are going to arbitration for the first time. This is the first opportunity for some of the team’s younger players to get a pay raise.

If the Reds are of the mindset that they’re better off without some of those players eligible for arbitration, there is the December 2nd non-tender deadline. A few players may not make it to arbitration and could be non-tendered. To tender a player is to agree to offer them a contract for the upcoming season.

Recently, we’ve seen the Cincinnati Reds utilize this option with a few prominent players. During the winter of 2018, Billy Hamilton was non-tendered and eventually ended up in Kansas City. Last offseason, the Reds non-tendered José Peraza, who latched on with the Boston Red Sox last winter.

Heading into arbitration for the first time this offseason will be pitchers Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle and Amir Garrett. All three were prominent pieces on last year’s team and both Castillo and Mahle figure to part of next year’s starting rotation. Garrett was the most effective left-hander out of the bullpen and will certainly be back as well.

Jesse Winker will be arbitration eligible for the first time in his career. The left-handed slugger had a breakout season of sorts, but cooled off as the season came to a close. What Winker’s role will be next season may depend on the contract status of Nick Castellanos, but rest assured that Winker will be part of the 2021 Cincinnati Reds.

Kyle Farmer, the team’s do-everything utility player will be due a raise over the offseason, and the Reds front office is sure to grant it to him. It’s not every day that your backup shortstop can also suit up behind the plate. Look for Farmer to be back in 2021.

The remaining three players’ futures might not be so rosy. Robert Stephenson, Jesse Biddle and Matt Davidson will enter arbitration for the first time this winter and it’s questionable if any of those three will be back with the Cincinnati Reds next season.

Next. 3 Reds who won't be back in 2021

Michael Lorenzen and Archie Bradley will be entering their final year of arbitration eligibility, and could be in line for possible contact extensions. The Cincinnati Reds have yet to fill the vacancy in the front office left by former President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams, so the future of the team is a bit hazy at the moment. Hopefully that spot is filled in the coming weeks.