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.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bray Up, LeCure Down, and Thursday's Starter

The Reds called up Bill Bray, sending Sam LeCure back to Louisville after his rough start on Saturday.  Dusty Baker gave the impression that this was a temporary move.  According to reds.com
"We don't need his [LeCure's] spot for three or four more days, and we've got the Phillies coming in with all these lefties, so it's not a bad idea to have three lefties in the 'pen out there," Baker said. "When his spot comes up, then we'll see what our next move is. Sometimes when you're trying to win the pennant, you have to make these temporary auxiliary moves."
It is obvious that some kind of move will need to be made when a fifth starter is needed again, and if I am correct, that should happen on Thursday in Chicago against the Cubs.  I think there's a rule that says LeCure can't be called up again until he's been on the Louisville roster for ten days, unless he's replacing someone going on the DL.  With all the other talented options, this was probably it for LeCure.

That being the case, someone else will be getting that start.  Travis Wood has been pitching very well down at Louisville, and the Reds radio guys (Jim Kelch and Jeff Brantley, I think) seemed to suggest that they expected Wood to be the next guy to get the call.  He's due to pitch in Louisville on Thursday, so that seems to be the most likely scenario.  With Homer Bailey yet to throw rehab, I doubt he'd be in the discussion.

The wild card, I think, is Edinson Volquez.  He's looked really good in his rehab starts so far, and seems to be in line for a return to the rotation soon.  He's scheduled to pitch on Tuesday for the Bats.  With LeCure having a short outing on Saturday, it's not out of the question that LeCure could take that Tuesday start and free Volquez up for the Thursday start against the Cubs.  I'm not sure that the Reds would break Volquez's routine this soon though to make that happen. 

Wood is probably the most likely starter.  Regardless, it's pretty safe to say the move to send LeCure down is more permanent than Baker is letting on.