Word out of Cincinnati is that former St. Louis Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty has agreed to a contract extension to remain with the Reds.
That's something of a surprise because of two reasons: 1) There was a lot of speculation that he's go to the Arizona Diamondbacks to be reunited with Tony La Russa and 2) The Reds club he built over the past several years is up against its payroll ceiling and four of the team's five starting pitchers are in line for big raises at the end of the season, potentially causing some painful decisions to be made.
According to Ken Rosethal, the Reds are expected to have to trade at least one of their starters -- Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Mike Leake and Alfredo Simon -- this off season to stay on budget.
Homer Bailey signed a six-year contract that started this season and will pay him $105 million over the next six years. Cueto could be a free agent after this season. But he has a $10 million option that Cincinnati seems sure to pick up. Based on this season, in which he's fighting for the Cy Young Award, and his option, he seems like a good candidate for a deal where the option year is torn up and he gets a multi-year pact instead.
The Reds are more likely to get value for one of their other starters who is arbitration eligible for 2015.
Latos seems in line for a huge raise at the end of a two-year deal that pays him $7.25 this season. Although he missed the first two months of the season because of an injury, he has a 2.99 ERA pitching in a hitters park. Leake (9-11, 3.65) also seems due a big raise from his $5.925 salary in 2014. Simon (12-8, 3.35) makes $1.5 million this year.
The Reds have a $114 million payroll in 2014 and are already committed to $80 million in 2015. If they pick up Cueto's option, that's $90 million committed to just 13 players.