CINCINNATI -- Another annual offseason deadline for Major League clubs is coming Friday. By 8 p.m. ET, teams must tender contract offers to unsigned players under control.If a player -- usually eligible for a pay raise in salary arbitration -- is non-tendered at the deadline, he becomes a free agent.
CINCINNATI -- Another annual offseason deadline for Major League clubs is coming Friday. By 8 p.m. ET, teams must tender contract offers to unsigned players under control.
If a player -- usually eligible for a pay raise in salary arbitration -- is non-tendered at the deadline, he becomes a free agent. There are six Reds eligible for arbitration in second baseman Scooter Gennett (third year), center fielder Billy Hamilton (third year), starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani (second year), reliever Michael Lorenzen (second year), backup catcher Curt Casali (first year) and shortstop Jose Peraza (first year).
Cincinnati appears unlikely to non-tender any of its arbitration-eligible players, but Casali would be one to watch. He earned the minimum with the Rays and Reds last season, but the Reds could potentially work out a deal with him ahead of the non-tender date.
However, the Reds also claimed another veteran backup catcher in Juan Graterol from the Angels earlier this offseason.
Casali, 30, arrived to the Reds from Tampa Bay in a trade for cash on May 31. Backing up Tucker Barnhart, Casali did a nice job while batting .293/.355/.450 with four home runs and 16 RBIs in 52 games -- including 32 starts behind the plate. He also was a positive presence in the clubhouse and worked well with pitchers, namely DeSclafani and Matt Harvey.
The club already assigned Casali a new number for 2019, switching from 38 to 12, perhaps another small sign that he is likely to stick around.
• A non-tender candidate from every team
As for the other five arbitration-eligible players on the Reds, all currently appear to be in the team's plans for next season. The club and Gennett began exploring a multiyear contract in July, but there have been no new developments. Both Gennett and Hamilton are a year from free agency.
Non-tenders aren't restricted to those eligible for arbitration. The Reds could elect not to offer a contract to any of their controllable players on the 40-man roster with less than three years of service time.
The non-tender deadline also means another wave of free agents from other clubs hits the open market and could include bargain pickups for teams like the Reds. It's how they signed reliever Jared Hughes nearly a year ago to a two-year, $4.5 million contract after he was non-tendered by the Brewers. Hughes had a sensational 2018 with a 1.94 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in a club-leading 72 games.
Cincinnati's roster stands at 39 players after Triple-A Louisville reliever Jimmy Herget was added ahead of last Friday's deadline to protect players eligible for the Rule 5 Draft.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.