John Fay confirmed yesterday that the Reds' payroll will increase next year. This is presumably due in large part to a roughly 7% increase in attendance, which the Biz Courier estimated raised about $4M in additional revenue. How much additional cash the team will actually add to salaries isn't known:
"Our preliminary projections are that we'll bump it up a little," Jocketty said. "We're still working on the end number. But it will be more than it was this year."
The Reds payroll for this season was $80.8 million, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts, up from $76.1 million the year before. A similar bump would put the Reds in $85 million range.
Fay concludes that the Reds have $43.6M in salary commitments for 2012, before any arbitration, tendering of contracts and options are picked up. After the Reds pick up Phillips' option, which they've signaled they intend to do, it'll be $55.6M.
Last year's $80.8M payroll figure is based on Cot's Contracts tally of MLB salaries and pro-rated bonues. So we have to compare apples to apples in order to estimate how much the Reds might have to spend next year using the $80.8M as a baseline. Votto gets $1.5M of his signing bonus in 2012, so for practical purposes his salary is $11M.
If the Reds increase payroll by a little less than $5M, to $85M, I think they have a relatively decent chunk of change to spend - even if they're paying Phillips $12M. Unless I'm missing something, they could be working with up to $15M. Despite raises to Votto, Bruce, Cueto and a (possibly) minor one to BP, none of the arb-eligible players will get huge raises. Last year, Votto, Bruce, Cueto and Volquez were all eligible. This year it's Bailey, Bray, Volquez, Masset, Burton, Janish and Arredondo. A few of those players are at risk of getting roughly flat salaries or being non-tendered.
The team should also have a sizable contingent of league-minimum players on-board. That includes Drew Stubbs. Zach Cozart, Devin Mesoraco and Chris Heisey and may also include Juan Francisco, Dave Sappelt and Todd Frazier.
So if a little more than a fourth of the roster might be making around league-minimum. Another third is making $5.4M (Cueto's '12 salary) or less and the outliers are Arroyo ($7M), Rolen ($8.17, with pro-rated bonus), Votto ($11M, with p-r bonus) and Phillips ($12M, if no re-work on contract).
I think the Reds could be at around $70M with just the one bullpen spot (closer) to fill.
That's my best preliminary stab at how much the Reds would be paying out, in MLB salaries and pro-rated bonuses, if they picked up Phillips' option and kept everything else in-house. A decline and re-sign with Cordero could push it to $75-76M.
I don't think it's a stretch to say the Reds could have around $10M, at least, to spend this offseason if payroll makes a similar to jump as it did between '10 and '11. But I'll re-visit this with better number and an itemized list during the offseason, especially after things are worked out (or not) with BP and Cordero.