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Cincinnati Reds on Mission to Win for Next Two Years
Ludwick, Broxton Signings Show Commitment
by Robb Hoff
December 10, 2012
Cincinnati Reds owner Bob Castellini just wished Merry Christmas to every fan in Reds Country with two signings that will allow the Reds to seriously vie for World Series championships for the next two years.
The two signings will not resound with much volume in a baseball world saturated with the ever-grating, nails-on-the-chalkboard distortion of the big-market economics that absolutely drag down the entire sport of Major League Baseball, but for fans of the Cincinnati Reds, the signing of reliever Jonathan Broxton and cleanup hitting, left-fielder Ryan Ludwick should produce a major sigh of relief.
The Broxton contract is cheap for the first year ($4 million) and enables the Reds to shift Cuban fireballer Aroldis Chapman back where he belongs -- the starting rotation. Should Broxton falter as the team's new closer, the Reds will likely fall back on lefty Sean Marshall and former closer-in-waiting Nick Masset to fill the void rather than return Chapman to the closing role he championed in 2012.
Overshadowed but equally as important is the signing of Ludwick, who is perfectly suited to excel in the cleanup spot at Great American Ballpark. Ludwick most likely bucked the trend of big league ballplayers selling themselves out to the highest bidder in favor of playing for the team he grew up following -- the Cincinnati Reds. It undoubtedly helped his decision that he fits with this team and that the Reds are positioned to build upon last year's success. Of course, two years for $15-million made the decision a whole lot easier anyway.
The importance of these two signings will undoubtedly be neglected by national pundits who slobber at the trough of the big-market teams and may even be overlooked by the Reds own beat writers, but here it is: The Reds have two more years to compete at a high level before the team is thrown under the bus of big-market tire tread.
After the 2014 season, the Reds will be without three of the team's current starting pitchers, two of whom will command such a steep price tag that there will be no chance the Reds can re-sign them given the billion dollar television contracts that are being doled out to big-market teams.
So it will be so long Aroldis Chapman, whose contract with the Reds ends after 2014 with a player option for 2015 at $5-million, which will be well below Chapman's market value. And bye-bye Homer Bailey who will hit the free agent market after the 2014 season.
Current rotation survivor Bronson Arroyo will most likely be gone after the upcoming season when his high-dollar contract officially ends, which would leave the Reds building a 2015 rotation around Mat Latos and Mike Leake with ace Johnny Cueto still under contract for one final year by virtue of a club option for 2015 for $10 million before he hits the open market.
So enjoy the upcoming two years of Reds baseball of the caliber to which Reds Country became accustomed during the era of the Big Red Machine because like the Big Red Machine, the economics of baseball will dismantle this current version of the Reds in just a matter of time.