On my online chat today, I got a lot of questions about who the Reds might go after in free agency. It’s too early to say specifically, but you can be pretty certain they aren’t going to be big players.
Why? The almighty dollar.
The Reds have at least $74 million in 2013 salary commitments set aside for twelve players and another nine guys eligible for arbitration. Cincinnati could decide to non-tender one or two arbitration eligible guys -- Bill Bray and Wilson Valdez are the most likely candidates -- but that would still leave the team with roughly $85 million on the books before making any free agent acquisitions, just $2 million shy of their total payroll for 2012.
An $8 million raise for Joey Votto, as well as new arbitration deals for Mat Latos and Homer Bailey, are a big reason the club will lack financial flexibility this winter. Fay posits that the amount of money locked up in payroll will no doubt prevent the club from being active on the free agent market, but that does not rule them out of making a big trade for the right price.