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Aurilia to Return, etc.

From the Enquirer:

O'Brien said the Reds continue to negotiate with Rich Aurilia.

"Both sides would like it resolved sooner than later," O'Brien said.

It must be resolved by Jan. 9.

There's simply no point in bringing back Rich Aurilia.  He's not going to be happy unless he plays everyday, and he's not going to play every day on a team that already has Ryan Freel and "proven vet" Tony Womack.  It's very conceivable that Aurilia would receive even less playing time in 2006 than he did in 2005 when he complained.  DanO is just flushing money if he resigns Rich, there's absolutely no point.

Why do the Reds hate William Bergolla so much anyway?

In other news, the Reds seem to have a bunch of extra money that they don't know what to do with:

When the Reds traded Sean Casey, thus slicing $6.1 million from the 2006 payroll, they fully intended to put that money toward signing Matt Morris.

But when Morris left them standing at the free-agency altar, the Reds had no one to step in.

Morris was the only high-profile free-agent starter the Reds targeted. It's hard to argue with that logic. He was the best bang for the buck.

The Reds basically have made three transactions since the Casey trade.

They signed utilityman Ryan Freel to a two-year, $3 million contract.

They signed catcher Jason LaRue to a two-year, $9.1 million contract.

And they signed left-handed relief pitcher Chris Hammond to an $800,000, one-year deal.

By my calculations, that leaves all or almost all of the Casey/Morris money in the 2006 budget. Remember, LaRue and Freel probably would have gotten more had they gone to arbitration.

By my calculations, if Opening Day were tomorrow, the Reds' payroll would come in at a little less than $57 million.

On Opening Day last season, it was $61.8 million. That counted Eric Milton at $5.3 million, but with his signing bonus, he made $8.5 million. So the actual payroll was closer to $65 million.

The Reds have maintained all along that the 2006 payroll would be at about the same level as last season's.

So do the Reds have $5 million to $8 million to play with?

Fay's numbers all seem to work, and it's pretty damn tough for Dan O'Brien to say that the money isn't there when he's already offered it to Matt Morris.  

Give the extra cash to Adam Dunn and call it a day DanO.  Using it anywhere else will probably just result in further damage to the franchise because O'Brien is absolutely terrible at evaluating talent.