Jocko had a talk-o with the agents for the Reds' front line free agents on Wednesday, and all are to (presumably) varying degrees interested in staying in the Queen City, so says Sheldon. Ryan Ludwick had a $5 mil mutual option that he turned down, and the Reds turned down their half of an $11 mil mutual option with Ryan Madson. Jonathan Broxton and Dioner Navarro are both going to be straight-up free agents.
Jocketty spoke in more detail about the conversations with Ludwick, who wants more than a one-year deal. The Reds would like to keep it to just two years. "He wants more than one year," Jocketty said. "I talked to his agent last night and will talk again with him next week. Hopefully, we'll get something worked out."
If I were a betting man, I would put my chips on whatever square on the table that says both Ludwick and Madson are re-signed. It seems like Ludwick was a big part of this team this year, and he seemed to really enjoy himself, too. There seems to be a lot of common ground there, so I would guess something like two years and $12 mil would have both sides nodding with approval.
As for Madson, well, he kind of owes us. He never did throw a pitch for the Reds, and they still owe him $6.5 mil over the next two seasons in buyouts and deferrals. I bet if Walt narrowed his eyes at him and gave him that look, Madson would see it our way. If he chooses to test the market though, and with Scott Boras as his agent, there is a good chance he will, I could see him matching the injury-rehab show-me contract that Broxton got this past season with the Royals, which was for $3 mil.
As for Broxton, he done good for the Reds down the stretch. But he will likely command a multi-year deal, and there probably is not any room in the bullpen for another contract like that. And with a pitcher like Brandon League getting $22.5 mil, Broxton could very well garner a contract north of $100 mil if the laws of numbers and such are to be believed.
Navarro served as a fine organizational soldier for the Reds, but he's replaceable. He only got 73 PAs with the Reds, and he OPS'd a decent .755, but, I mean, so what. Ryan Hanigan is a lock, and Devin Mesoraco is still, despite a rough season, one of the top young catching prospects in the league. What the Reds need is a catcher who can fill in as a #3 just in case, and has options enough to be shuttled between AAA and the bigs. Navarro isn't that anymore, and Corky Miller is.