Cincinnati Reds avoid arbitration and make four players more tradable in the process

The Cincinnati Reds signed all four arbitration eligible players to one-year contracts ahead of filing numbers.

The Cincinnati Reds signed Tony Cingrani, Zack Cozart, Billy Hamilton, and Blake Wood to contracts before the arbitration filing deadline. All four signed one-year deals, essentially ending Cozart’s tenure with the Reds as he is a free agent at the end of the year.  The other three may all be back next year.

Cingrani, who signed for a reported $1.825, is the least likely to get traded.  He likely wouldn’t get too much more as a free agent, so the deal only makes him slightly more tradable.  His inability to get his pitches under control make him a marginal piece for a playoff contender.

Cozart’s contract, on the other hand, makes him a great mid-season trade candidate.  He is making money like a non-elite starting shortstop.  If a team needs a replacement starter or a defensive back-up middle infielder, half of his $5.325 contract for half of a season is good math for a playoff contender.  Then the Reds could move Jose Peraza or the power based offense of third baseman Eugenio Suarez to shortstop.

Hamilton’s contract maintains his attractiveness to the same teams that have repeatedly contacted the Reds over the past few seasons.  Making $2.625 as the best defensive center fielder in the National League is a steal.  Since he steals so many bases for the Reds though, they have little reason to trade him.

The deal the Cincinnati Reds signed with Blake Wood makes him a great piece to move anytime they want.

If you believe GM Dick Williams, kudos to assistant GM Nick Krall and director of baseball operations Eric Lee for working on this deal.  They took a player that may have reached salary equilibrium, as Cingrani did, and made him a moveable asset.  Some people will argue that you shouldn’t move Wood, but at that salary they can’t afford to keep him.

Wood is a year by year relief pitcher signed, now, to a very reasonable contract.  That means that every year he is great or mediocre depending on his health.  At less than $2-million, though, any team with room in their bullpen would be glad to add him.

The Reds are what they hope to be the last season of their rebuild, but they are still rebuilding for now.  With the signing of Drew Storen to close, the Reds don’t need both Jumbo Diaz and Wood.  One mid-inning right-hander will suffice.  Where does Wood fit now?

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The Reds have turned Wood into a viable asset.  They need to treat him as such.  There is no reason to hold onto the right handed veteran any more.

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