Unless some major roster moves are in the works for the 2013 season, the Cincinnati Reds are going to have very little money to work with in the offseason.
Following the multi-year extensions given to both Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati will have an exorbitant amount of money committed to a small roster heading into the offseason. As of this day, Cincinnati only has 11 players under contract for 2013.
The amount: $71.1 million.
The payroll can easily jump to $75.6 million for 12 players if Cincinnati picks up the mutual option for Ryan Ludwick. After he's put up solid numbers across the board, Ludwick's option is becoming a legitimate possibility for 2013.
The arbitration-eligible players for Cincinnati are numerous, and include the likes of Mat Latos, Drew Stubbs, Homer Bailey and Mike Leake. All together, Cincinnati has nine players up for arbitration.
Bailey is making $2.4 million, and after a substantial improvement from previous seasons he could be in for a multi-million dollar payday in arbitration. Cincinnati would be lucky to make it out with a $4 million salary for Bailey in 2013.
Stubbs, Latos and Leake are all making near the minimum this season, and are due for several million in arbitration. It's not implausible to estimate the costs of arbitration being around $15 million for Cincinnati with so many players eligible.
With the likes of Scott Rolen and Miguel Cairo hitting free agency, it could open up room for a guy like Wilson Valdez to make the roster as an arbitration-eligible player—meaning his salary would likely go up from under a million dollars in 2013.
After a bit of number crunching, a reasonable estimate would put the 2013 payroll as already above the 2012 payroll of almost $88 million, with only 20 or fewer players on the roster.
That leaves little room to re-sign new acquisition Jonathan Broxton to an extension or to draw in free agents this offseason.
Unless Cincinnati can find a way to shed some large contracts, there will be a small chance Walt Jocketty could put together a roster as good as the Reds have now in 2013 without a substantial payroll increase.
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