Options and the like
This from reader R.G.G.: John, I am trying to understand the logjam on the Reds roster. Some players on signed as Major Leaguers but have options, some with no options, some with minor league contracts. Any chance you could provide a list so I and all your readers could follow along with the Reds thinking as choices start to be made?
Bubba Crosby and Chad Moeller were signed to big league contracts. Guys like Paul Wilson and Kerry Ligtenberg signed minor league deals, basically any non-roster invitee is on a minor league deal.
Here's the option list, direct from a Reds' release: "The following players on the 40-man roster have minor league options remaining: pitchers Matt Belisle, Bill Bray, Jared Burton, Todd Coffey, Rheal Cormier, Jon Coutlangus, Phil Dumatrait, Aaron Harang, Bobby Livingston, Kyle Lohse, Gary Majewski, Calvin Medlock, Eric Milton, Elizardo Ramirez, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Salmon, Brian Shackelford and Mike Stanton; infielders Edwin Encarnacion, Jerry Gil, Alex Gonzalez, Jeff Keppinger and Joey Votto; and outfielders Jeff Conine, Chris Denorfia, Chris Dickerson, Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr., Josh Hamilton and Norris Hopper."
Basically, the Reds can send any of those players to minors without risking losing them. But anyone with five years' service time can refuse the option. Hamilton is a special case because he's a Rule 5 pick. The Reds must keep him on the 25-man roster or offer him back to Tampa Bay for $25,000, half what they paid to pick him.
Update: Thanks to reader Cow Town, who sent in a clarification. We can't publish the comment because it part it was from Baseball America's site. But it pointed that Josh Hamilton can declare free agency if clears waivers and is offered back to the Rays because he's been placed on waivers once.