Cincinnati has continued its streak of nine consecutive years of avoiding arbitration after the Reds signed Homer Bailey on Saturday.
With the signing of Bailey, the Reds negotiated contracts with all seven players who were up for arbitration this season. This helped Major League Baseball have its first season without any arbitration cases in the 39 years since the process began.
Now that the Reds have secured all of their talent manager Dusty Baker has all the pieces to help the Reds repeat as National League Central champions. Baker's biggest decision now becomes how to most effectively use Mike Leake. Cincinnati signed Leake to a one-year, $3.06 million deal, but the Reds announced after the end of last season plans to move Aroldis Chapman from the bullpen to the starting rotation leaving Leake the odd man out.
There is still a possibility that he will crack the rotation if the Reds use a six man rotation or Chapman falters in his new role. As it stands now the rotation will consist of Bailey, Chapman, Bronson Arroyo, Mat Latos, and Johnny Cueto.
The bullpen is also a stockpile of arms and leaves more decisions for Baker and pitching coach Bryan Price to make. Jonathan Broxton is penciled in as the closer for next season, but may be forced into a set-up role if Chapman returns. Also in the bullpen will be lefty specialist Sean Marshall and Logan Ondrusek. Then there is the rest which includes Sam LeCure, Jose Arredondo, Alfredo Simon and J.J. Hoover, who all saw time in the Reds bullpen last season. Nick Masset is trying to come back from a shoulder injury and Cincinnati signed Manny Parra from Milwaukee to crowd the bullpen.
The offense is set for the time being as Cincinnati looks to stay healthy at the corner infield positions. The infield will consist of first baseman Joey Votto, second baseman Brandon Phillips, shortstop Zack Cozart, and third baseman Todd Frazier. Catching a majority of the time will be Ryan Hanigan, while Ryan Ludwick will patrol left and Jay Bruce in right.
The newest addition to the team is center fielder Shin-Shoo Choo who came over from Cleveland in a trade for former Reds' center fielder Drew Stubbs. Choo is more comfortable in right field, but with Bruce already establishing a role, Choo will take on the task of patrolling center. Choo also provides a bat in the leadoff spot as he is a career .289 hitter and has career .381 on base percentage.
The bench returns familiar faces in Chris Heisey, Devin Mesoraco, and Xavier Paul. Jason Donald and Jack Hannahan who also came over from Cleveland look to find new roles with the Reds while veterans Miguel Olivo and Caesar Izturis look to turn a spring invite into a roster spot.
The competition begins on Feb. 22 when the Reds play their first spring game against the Cleveland Indians.