CINCINNATI --- Reds Spring Training opens in just over 22 days, but the roster you see when camp starts on Feb. 14 should look just like the one you see now. The Reds have hit the maximum they want to spend on the 2009 team payroll and aren't looking to make any more acquisitions. "I just don't foresee us doing anything right now," general manager Walt Jocketty said on Thursday as he prepared to leave on the Reds Winter Caravan. "I want to see what we have going into camp."
That means a couple of offseason items on the shopping list will likely remain unchecked, namely a run producer to man left field. "We're trying to strengthen our bench, but right now we're at the limit, payroll-wise," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "It's a tough market out there right now." All winter, Jocketty indicated that the nation's slumping economy would likely affect baseball spending league-wide. And while economics certainly appear to have curtailed the Reds' efforts somewhat, the team looks like it will end up close to the $74 million payroll it opened with in 2008. The club isn't revealing the exact payroll figure. "It's what it was last year," Jocketty said. "In fact, it might be a little bit more." After signing free agents Willy Taveras, Arthur Rhodes, Mike Lincoln and Jerry Hairston Jr., and acquiring Ramon Hernandez in a trade, the Reds have $58.375 million committed to 10 players for the upcoming season. Francisco Cordero will be the highest earner at $12 million, followed by Aaron Harang ($11 million), Bronson Arroyo ($9.5 million), Hernandez ($8 million, with the Orioles picking up about $2 million), Alex Gonzalez ($5.375 million), Brandon Phillips ($4.75 million), Taveras ($2.25 million), Hairston ($2 million), Rhodes (estimated $2 million) and Lincoln ($1.5 million). Cincinnati also has two arbitration cases pending with Edwin Encarnacion and David Weathers. Encarnacion wants $3.7 million, while the Reds countered with a $2.55 million offer. Weathers is seeking $4.6 million and the Reds offered $3 million. If free-agent outfielder Jonny Gomes makes the club after signing a Minor League contract this week, he will earn a $600,000 base salary. The remainder of the roster is expected to earn in the $400,000 range.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.