So the Reds are gonna slash payroll on us again?

Yesterday’s news brought the pleasant surprise that the Cincinnati Reds are again looking to slash payroll. And you know that we’re not going to be happy about this. Why? Because we remember when Bob Castellini took the role of the village idiot and declared that ‘the losing stops NOW!’

Lagging attendance figures are to blame for the Reds’ financial cutbacks. Price and Fletcher noted that attendance at the Great American Ballpark dropped by more than 15 percent from 2008 to 2009. General manager Walt Jocketty was quoted in the piece as saying, “We’re going to probably have less to spend this year than we have in the past…It just depends on how [ticket] sales go this offseason.”

If Cincinnati does make a deal, the likeliest candidates to be moved are second baseman Brandon Phillips (owed just under $7MM in 2010), and pitchers Aaron Harang ($12.5MM) and Bronson Arroyo ($12.25MM). Phillips, with his .452 slugging percentage over the last four seasons, is the most attractive candidate to other clubs given his power from the second base position and reasonable contract. Harang and Arroyo are both coming off decent years themselves, but Price and Fletcher speculate that their bigger contract numbers would require the Reds to absorb a chunk of their salaries if traded.

One star player who looks to be staying in Cincinnati is closer Francisco Cordero, who Price and Fletcher say the club “would prefer to keep” despite the $25MM he’s owed through 2011. A very intriguing trade chip could be young slugger Joey Votto, if the Reds wanted to make room for star prospect Yonder Alonso at first base. Another team could be convinced to take on a bad contract if it meant getting Votto, who isn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2013 season.

I wouldn’t trade Votto. There’s no guaruntee that Alonso is going to be the complete hitter that Votto is. I wouldn’t keep Cordero. Why would you prefer to keep him? You can find someone to do that job just as well in our own bullpen for a tenth of the price. There’s a lot of teams around the league who would sniff out Cordero if they knew he was available.

We’re going to rip the Reds all offseason on this. You want ticket sales? Spend some money up front and create some excitement instead of trotting out the same old shit for once.