How Hernandez affects payroll?

The re-signing of catcher Ramon Hernandez for $3 million next season on Monday certainly sent a conflicting signal from the Reds.

Reports last week said that club was reducing payroll, which triggered speculation that a salary dump was near and that Brandon Phillips would be the most marketable player for a trade.

“All of that stuff was speculation by a number of different writers,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. “They see that our attendance is down and so that must mean our payroll will go down. We were grouped in with clubs that are reducing payroll but we’re not in that position and hopefully won’t be.”

Jocketty denied attempts are being made to trade Phillips. He also said that the club isn’t necessarily slashing the payroll that was at $73 million in 2009.

“We really don’t know yet,” Jocketty said. “The final budget won’t be done until December and then we’ll have a better idea once season tickets sales come in. It may have to come down some but it’s too early to say. I have to approach that way but if it’s not [that way], we’ll have a nice surplus.”

With Hernandez now signed, it seems less logical [or popular with fans] that the Reds would turn around and trade key members of the roster like Phillips or Bronson Arroyo. But man are things getting tight. I count nine players making a combined $64.75 million in 2010.

They are:

Francisco Cordero – $12M
Aaron Harang – $12.5M
Scott Rolen – $11M
Bronson Arroyo – $11M
Brandon Phillips – $6.75M
Willy Taveras – $4M
Hernandez – $3M
Mike Lincoln – $2.5M
Arthur Rhodes – $2M

As for Hernandez, Jocketty had this to say:

“He was a priority for us this winter,” Jocketty said on Monday. “He’s familiar with the club and our pitching staff. We’re confident his knee has recovered. He and [Ryan] Hanigan, we feel, is a good tandem catching wise.”

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I would dump Cordero, Harang and Rolen from the payroll and let the young guys play — even if we have to pay some of the salary of these guys. If you make the decision to have a mediorce payroll, you are going to have a mediorce team. If that’s the case, then let some of the younger players see what they can do. At least the young players play with passion and heart. Cordero has been mostly reliable, but never makes it easy (see his ratio of 1-2-3 ninth innings). He could be replaced at a lower price. Send Harang to the Dodgers for some single-A prospect and Rolen to the American league for the same. Replace Harang with Justin D. (from the A’s, free agent) and Rolen with Francisco. We will have rough stretches because of the young players, but at least we know what we are doing. Either that or pay for a big hitter in left field and try to contend now. Middle of the road doesn’t inspire.

Move Cordero, Harang, Tavaras, Lincoln in any sort of package you can get and start over in their respective positions……
Move Massett into Cordero’s spot;
Find a 5th starter to replace Harang (Arroyo, Cueto, Bailey, Maloney, Owings, Travis Wood, possible non-tendered player?);
Gomes, Stubbs, Bruce in the outfield, and just about any decent non-tendered free agent reliever could replace Lincoln with the salary he is making.
I am sure for the $31 million those 4 are scheduled to make this year you can improve this team with a No.4 hitter, and the offensive and defensive shortstop they need.

Move Phillips to SS and pick up Uggla for $5-6 million a year?

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