Analysis: Reds still have $20-$25 million to spend on new players (updated)

We now have reports of the Reds final tender decisions plus new signings for IF Mike Moustakas and OF Travis Jankowski. That means we can derive another baseline roster using players currently under team control. From estimates of their salaries, we can figure out a rough approximation of how much they have left to spend on new players. Let’s start by breaking down the players based on their contract tier:

Players Under Contract

These eight players have guaranteed contracts for 2020:

  • Joey Votto – $25 million
  • Mike Moustakas – $16 million
  • Sonny Gray – $10.2 million
  • Eugenio Suarez – $9.5 million
  • Raisel Iglesias – $9 million
  • Freddy Galvis – $5.5 million
  • Tucker Barnhart – $3.9 million
  • Travis Jankowski – $1.1 million

This category adds up to $80.2 million.

Update: Moustakas has a backloaded contract. He’ll earn $12 million in 2020. That means this category adds up to $76.2 million.

Players Headed to Arbitration

These five players qualify for arbitration, with projected salary:

  • Trevor Bauer – $18 million
  • Anthony DeSclafani – $4.5 million
  • Michael Lorenzen – $3.5 million
  • Curt Casali – $1.2 million
  • Matt Bowman – $900,000

This category adds up to $28.1 million.

Players Pre-Arbitration

These players have no salary rights and will play for at or near league minimum:

  • Nick Senzel
  • Jesse Winker
  • Aristides Aquino
  • Luis Castillo
  • Tyler Mahle
  • Amir Garrett
  • Robert Stephenson
  • Phil Ervin
  • Josh VanMeter
  • Alex Blandino
  • Cody Reed
  • Lucas Sims
  • Jose De Leon

That’s 13 players for roughly $7.4 million (league minimum salary is $563,000).

Baseline Roster By Position

  • C – Barnhart, Casali
  • IF – Votto, Moustakas, Galvis, Suarez
  • OF – Winker, Senzel, Aquino
  • Bench – Ervin, Jankowski, VanMeter, Blandino
  • SP – Castillo, Gray, Bauer, DeSclafani, Mahle
  • RP – Iglesias, Lorenzen, Garrett, Stephenson, Bowman, Reed, Sims, De Leon

Bottom Line

For this baseline roster of 26 players, 13 pitchers and 13 position players, total payroll would be $115.7 million.

Update: With Moustakas making $12 million in 2020, the number is $111.7 million.

The Reds have made a few important payroll decisions already. They non-tendered Kevin Gausman and Jose Peraza who were projected to earn roughly $14 million between them. They picked up Freddy Galvis’ option and reportedly signed Mike Moustakas for a combined $21.5 million. (Update: $17.5 million)

To figure out how  much the Reds have left to spend, we need an estimate for their payroll budget. Only the front office knows the number or range that ownership has given them. The Reds 2019 Opening Day payroll was approximately $127 million. That represented a $25 million increase over 2018 payroll and a $37 million increase over 2016.

Dick Williams has indicated the increase will continue. If the payroll budget is between $135-140 million (and I think this is conservative) that means the Reds still have $20-$25 million left to spend to upgrade.

Update: The Reds still have $24-29 million to spend.

Looking at that baseline roster, where would you spend the extra money?

Steve Mancuso

Steve Mancuso is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up during the Big Red Machine era. He’s been writing about the Reds for more than ten years. Steve’s fondest memories about the Reds include attending a couple 1975 World Series games, being at Homer Bailey’s second no-hitter and going nuts for Jay Bruce at Clinchmas. Steve was also at all three games of the 2012 NLDS, but it’s too soon to talk about that.

3 Responses

  1. ScottyA says:

    I would not spend it all (if that is all) on Zack Wheeler 21 ish x 5 years as is the rumor.

    Some arbitration eligible trade candidates I like with projected salary: Not sure who is available.
    Joc Pederson (8.5m)
    Corey Seager (7.1m)
    Mark Canha (4.9m)
    Omar Narvaez (2.9m)
    Ross Stripling (2.3m)

    I could see Castellanos not getting a long term deal he and boras want and settling for a Yasmani Grandal type deal 1 year with mutual option at 17m.

    So just for fun:

    Castellanos (17m)
    Trade for Seager and Stripling (9.4m) – giving up Mahle (.6m) & large prospect load.
    Trade Galvis for whatever can save on 5.5m
    Sign Wilmer Flores 3m
    Trade for Omar Narvaez – 2.9m

    SS – Seager
    RF – Castellanos
    2B – Moustakas
    #5 SP: Stripling
    1B Backup & replace Votto against LHP often: Flores
    C – Trade for Narvaez

    1. Seager – SS
    2. Castellanos – RF
    3. Votto – 1B
    4. Suarez – 3B
    5. Moustakas – 2B
    6. Senzel – CF
    7. Narvaez – C
    8. Winker/Ervin – LF
    9. Pitcher

    Time for a Central Division Championship!

  2. Eric T Stauffer says:

    Narvaez had already been traded do that is off the table. Trade Galvis, DeSclafani and Naughton to Boston for Price and cash to buy down Price’s contract to 19 million per. Trade Mahle, India and Gutierrez for Seager and Santana. Dodgers are wanting to unload Seager, we can get something extra that is young.

  3. Eric T Stauffer says:

    One other thing. It is time to start deciding who the young core is and start locking some up.