On the payroll
The Reds don't tell you what their player payroll will be. At least, they haven't since the year they moved into Great American Ball Park. They upped it from $45 million to about $60 million that year.
I've stopped asking. But I keep guessing. My guess is they'll be around $75 million for 2008. When you take Eric Milton's $8.5 million off the books, they would seem to have a lot of money to play with going into the free agency season. Not so.
Consider: The club owes its 13 players under contract for next year $59.72 million – Adam Dunn ($13 million), Ken Griffey Jr. ($12.5 million), Aaron Harang ($6.75 million), Bronson Arroyo ($6.5 million), Alex Gonzalez ($4.62 million), Ryan Freel ($3 million), Mike Stanton ($3 million), David Weathers ($2.75 million), David Ross ($2.5 million), Scott Hatteberg ($1.85 million), Javier Valentin ($1.53 million) Juan Castro ($975,000) and Todd Coffey $925,000).
Three players – Brandon Phillips, Matt Belisle and Jorge Cantu – are eligible for arbitration. They’re going to push the payroll to $65 million or more.
The rest of the roster will be made up of guys making around the big league minimum of $380,000. But that will push the payroll to close to last year’s level of $68.9 million.
So I wouldn't expect the Reds to be able to bid for any top-tier free agents -- unless my guess is wrong and the payroll going to be considerably more than $75 million.