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Reds avoid arbitration with four

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The Cincinnati Reds have avoided arbitration with four players to leave just two players unsigned.

On Thursday the Reds signed outfielder Chris Heisey and then inked pitchers Mike Leake, Sam LeCure, and Alfredo Simon on Friday. Only Homer Bailey and Aroldis Chapman remain arbitration eligible.

Heisey was signed to a one-year $1.76 million to give him a $350,000 raise. Last season he played in 87 games and hit .237 with nine homers and 23 RBI. He is a career .254 hitter in 424 career games, all with Cincinnati. Heisey did miss time last season with a hamstring injury.

Leake earned the biggest raise getting bumped up from $3 million to nearly $6 million. Last year he set a career high in wins (14), innings pitched (192.1) and strikeouts (122) while posting a career low in ERA (3.37). Leake is a lifetime 42-29 in four seasons with the Reds with a 3.99 ERA in 114 games including 109 starts. He also is one of the best hitting pitchers in the league with 57 career hits including two homers and ten RBI.

Simon broke across the million dollar line signing a one-year $1.5 million deal up from his $890,000 salary last season. He was a pivotal part of the Reds bullpen appearing in a career high 63 games while posting a 2.87 ERA, 63 strikeouts, and a 6-4 record in 87.2 innings. Simon has been rejuvenated since coming to Cincinnati as he went from a career 8-12 with a 5.18 ERA in Baltimore to a 9-6 record with a 2.78 ERA in two seasons with the Reds.

LeCure was the only one to get a multi-year deal as he will go from $510,000 to $3.05 million over two years. With injuries in the bullpen, LeCure was called upon for a career high 63 appearances. He posted a career low 2.66 ERA and had 66 strikeouts with a 2-1 record and notched his first save. Last year he allowed just three of the 27 runners he inherited to score.

That leaves Bailey and Chapman left to sign. Chapman is asking for $5.4 million while GM Walt Jocketty and the Reds offered $4.6 million. That gap is nothing compared to the nearly $3 million between the Reds $8.7 million offer to Bailey and the $11.6 million the pitcher is asking for. In the past two season Chapman has posted 76 saves while Bailey tossed his second no-hitter with the Reds joining Johnny Vander Meer and Jim Maloney as the only pitchers in team history to do so.

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