Youth Stars Picking Up High-Priced Veterans For Cincinnati Reds

By Grant E. Doepel
Youth Stars Picking Up Veteran Slack For Cincinnati Reds
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Despite their slow start to the season, the Cincinnati Reds are loaded with a roster of players many would consider to be “stars” like Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, Mat Latos and Johnny Cueto. Yet of those five players, the only one who has stood out at all has been Cueto. They combine to make $50.32 million on the season, which is nearly 48 percent of the entire Reds’ payroll ($112.378 million).

With a team’s top players requiring nearly half of the team’s payroll, one would assume the production must be high in order to warrant such contracts. Here is how those players’ stat lines look as we approach the All-Star break:

Votto ($12 million): .263, 6 HR, 21 RBI
Bruce ($10.04 million): .225, 7 HR, 27 RBI
Phillips ($11.03 million): .274, 5 HR, 33 RBI
Latos ($7.25 million): 0-0, 3.86 ERA (two games)
Cueto ($10 million): 7-5, 1.86 ERA (16 games)

In comparison, here is how the Reds’ current young offensive leaders stack up with a combined salary of $1.625 million — or 1.49 percent of the entire team’s 2014 payroll:

Todd Frazier ($600,000): .280, 17 HR, 45 RBI
Devin Mesoraco ($525,000): .320, 14 HR, 40 RBI
Billy Hamilton ($500,000): .276, 4 HR, 24 RBI

Comparing the production of the “veteran big three” to that of the “young big three” is quite telling:

Veterans: .244, 18 HR, 81 RBI.
Youth: .287, 35 HR, 109 RBI.

For the Reds, this provides great optimism as well as pause for concern. On the bright side, the players they drafted and groomed in their farm systems have developed into very successful major league players. Yet on the other hand, their big-name offensive players are being paid a great deal of money and producing little in return.

For Votto, Phillips and Bruce, their seasons have been marred with injuries, variables that could easily be affecting their offensive production.

Sitting 7.5 games back of first place in the NL Central, the Reds will need combined efforts of the veterans and young talent in order to make a run at the 2014 playoffs. With Votto and Bruce slowly seeming to turn the corner from their early offensive woes, the Reds must hope the trend continues going forward.

Grant Doepel is a Cincinnati Reds writer for Follow him on Twitter @GrantDoepel, like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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