Today marked the deadline for MLB's arbitration-eligible players and their respective teams to file their contract proposals, and the Cincinnati Reds appear to be nearing an agreement with at least one such member of their roster, according to MLB Network's Jon Heyman.
Jj hoover filed at 1.4M, reds at 1.225M— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 15, 2016
A difference of just $175,000 is a drop in the bucket in the $9 billion business of baseball, which leads me to believe that a deal with J.J. Hoover - who's in his first year of arbitration eligibility - shouldn't be too far away. Hoover, 28, went 8-2 with a 2.94 ERA in 64.1 innings for the Reds in 2015, a bounce-back season after what was at times a disaster of a 2014. His 1.16 WHIP was back in line with his 2012 and 2013 numbers, though he did see a precipitous drop in his K/9 and K/BB in 2015, which both he and the Reds will surely hope is just a blip. Just for reference, former Reds setup-man Sam LeCure made $1.2 million in his first year of arb-eligibility after a similar career path - though that was as part of a 2-year contract agreement - and MLB Trade Rumors had Hoover estimated at $1.1 million.
With the departure of Aroldis Chapman, it's likely that Hoover will be given the first crack at the team's closer role in 2016.
As for Zack Cozart - the other arb-eligible member of the Reds 40 man roster - the numbers have yet to leak out. MLB Trade Rumors had Cozart pegged to land a $2.9 million deal in this, his second arb-eligible season, which would stand as just a slight raise over the $2.3 million he earned in 2015. Cozart, though, is coming off a serious knee injury that curtailed his 2015 season, and that coupled with both his age (30) and the middle infield depth in the Reds system means that his negotiations will be a bit more complex.
We'll relay more details as they emerge, of course.
Update: Zack Cozart has signed a 1-year deal, avoiding arbitration. Reds won't confirm specific numbers yet, but ESPN is reporting that it's a $2.9M deal.