Todd Frazier will go to arbitration with the Cincinnati Reds if the two sides don’t sign an extension first. Other non-tender eligibles won’t be so lucky. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports
Today is the day that Major League teams have to decide whether or not to offer contracts to their arbitration-eligible players, and the Cincinnati Reds have nine such decisions to make, according to the list maintained by MLBTradeRumors.com. While several big-name Reds are “safe,” reliever Logan Ondrusek and outfielder Chris Heisey are on the bubble — or worse.
Ondrusek and Heisey represent the Reds’ weakest areas on 2014, and Cincinnati has to figure out if they want to pay for the hope that these guys will turn around dismal performances that helped to doom the team’s bullpen and offensive production.
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Ondrusek dramatically increased his strikeout rate to 9.2 per nine innings in 2014, yet his overall effectiveness plummeted, as he posted a 5.49 ERA and an ERA+ of 66 over 41 innings in 40 appearances. He also allowed more than a third of his inherited runners to score, which is pretty much the antithesis of an effective reliever. As a second-year arbitration player guy, Ondrusek is probably in line for something north of $2 million for 2015, which is too much.
Expect Ondrusek to be non-tendered.
Heisey, meanwhile, has gone from promising as a 25-year-old rookie in 2010 to a miserable .222/.265/.378 with eight home runs in 299 plate appearances in 2014. His in ability to hold onto the left field job over the years was a big reason that the Reds splurged on an aging Ryan Ludwick three years ago. Last season, the two became the face of the Reds’ offensive struggles and led to the clamoring for general manager Walt Jocketty to beef up the lineup and left field.
For those efforts, the third-year-arb-eligible Heisey is expected to make more than $2 million in 2015 through arbitration.
Instead, expect the Reds to non-tender the other half of their 2014 left-field combo, and Heisey will follow Ludwick out the door.