Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Super for Jay Bruce, Not So Much for the Reds

In case you missed this bit of news, mlbtraderumors (via redreporter) indicates that Jay Bruce will be "Super Two" arbitration-eligible after this season.  He was the last player to qualify for Super Two status, edging out Chase Headley by two days.  What does that mean to the Reds?  Well, it means he will be able to file for arbitration, instead of earning $450K next season.  Bruce will probably finish the season with 3-4 WAR.  At $4.5M per win as the market rate, that's $13.5M-$18M as the market value for his services.  Typically, players get 40% of their market value in their first year of eligibility, 60% in their second, and 80% in the third and final year.  I'm not sure what to assume in the case of a Super Two player, as this will be the first year of four - not three like the typical player.  I'll assume that Bruce ends up getting 20% of his market value, but I'll project him to deliver 4 WAR.  If that's the case, Bruce will likely be awarded something like $4M for the 2011 season.  Unfortunately for the Reds, that's about an additional $3.5M that will not be available for other purposes.

With Harang and Arroyo potentially coming off the books next year, and an abundance of pitching in the high minors, it would seem that this $3.5M won't be a killer.  The bigger question is, will the Reds attempt to strike now and buy out a free-agent year or two.  As redreporter pointed out, it would be a great time to do it.  What would it take though?  Gee, Brett Anderson was a 3.8 WAR player for the A's in 2009, and he was given a 4-year, $12.5M contract with two club option years for an additional $20M just before this season.  Adjust for inflation, and we're looking at something like $13M-$14M to buy out Bruce's remaining arbitration-eligible years, with $20M-$21M getting a couple of years of free agency too.  If the Reds could get Bruce for $35 for the next six years, I'd think they'd jump at that opportunity.  I'll be interested to see what they do.

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