Well, that’s it folks. Yes, technically, the Reds have been off for a good few weeks, though, thankfully, for less than 22 other teams in MLB. But with the Giants completing the sweep of the Tigers, there’s not much in the way of MLB action for five long months.
There are two more WBC qualifiers, featuring Hall of Famer Barry Larkin as the manager of the Brazilian squad, who will play in Panama City in November. But, after that, it’s just ludicrous hot stove rumors until February.
It sounds like things will be particularly boring for the Reds this offseason. John Fay thinks the Reds are unlikely to do much in free agency this year, which is logical. MLB Contracts lists the Reds’ 2013 obligations as being just over $74 million. Our total 2012 payroll was $87 million, so when you add a hefty handful of Arbitration candidates to the mix (Bailey, Valdez, Bray, Stubbs, Leake, Latos, Heisey, Ondrusek, and Simon – though we might non-tender a few of those guys) there’s not a lot of room for new signings.
Also, after last offseason, while our farm season still looks decent, it’s definitely depleted, and another big trade could leave it pretty empty indeed. Still, we’re in pretty desperate need for outfield assistance. With Ryan Ludwick turning down his $5 million option (understandably), we have a gap in left field, that once again needs to be filled. The Reds and I would both like to see Ludwick return, but I’m not confident the Reds can still afford Luddy. If we can, it’ll probably eat up the entirety of our remaining budget, though, that’s probably fine, given that our pitching and infield are all probably fine. Finding some kind of upgrade in centerfield would be excellent, but I’m not sure we’ll have the money or prospects to get that done.
I’d also love for us to look at Ryu Hyun Jin, who will be posted from the KBO. I mean, the Reds definitely don’t have the money for the posting fee and a contract with a Boras client. Also, there’s probably no inclination to go after comparatively expensive untried foreign league pitchers, which is probably a really good idea, but still.
On the other hand, we were all pretty set for a boring off-season last year, too, and look what Jocketty did then!