How much would the baseline roster cost? Let’s break it into the three categories of players.
Players Under Contract Joey Votto ($25m), Mike Moustakas ($16m), Eugenio Suarez ($11.3m), Sonny Gray ($10.7m), Shogo Akiyama ($8m), Justin Wilson ($2.3m).
Those six players have guaranteed contracts that add to $73.3 million. The only way the Reds can avoid paying these salaries is through a trade(s). In an ideal world, the Reds would offload Shogo Akiyama and either Mike Moustakas or Eugenio Suarez. But the Reds would have to pay a huge percentage of those salaries or exchange them for another team’s dead weight.
Pre-Arbitration Players Vlad Gutierrez, Hunter Greene, Art Warren, Tony Santillan, Dauri Moreta, Cionel Perez, Reiver Sanmartin, Tyler Stephenson, Mark Kolozsvary, Jonathan India, Jose Barrero, Aristides Aquino.
Those 12 players will earn league minimum salaries, a specific dollar figure that will be established by the new CBA. League minimum was $570,500 in 2021. It’s possible that number will get boosted quite a bit, as the union tries to push more money in the direction of more players. Players who have earned league minimum for more than one year often get small raises. For this exercise, let’s assume it’s $600K. The Reds baseline roster of 12 players in this category will cost $7.2 million.
That leaves eight players on our baseline roster who are eligible for arbitration. We wrote
in May that the club should try to negotiate extension agreements with several of these players. As far as we know, that hasn’t happened.
Here are estimates from the folks at MLB Trade Rumors who have a long-standing model for predicting arbitration amounts:
Luis Castillo (ARB2) - $7.6m
Jesse Winker (ARB2) - $6.8m
Tyler Mahle (ARB2) - $5.6m
Tyler Naquin (ARB3) - $3.6m
Kyle Farmer (ARB2) - $2.2m
Luis Cessa (ARB2) - $1.6m
Lucas Sims (ARB1) - $1.2m
Nick Senzel (ARB1) - $1.1m
That adds up to just under $30 million. Salaries for players with a right to arbitration often won’t be known for sure until February 2022, after negotiations and hearings are finished.
Adding up the three categories, the estimated baseline payroll for an in-house roster is about $110 million.