Before you cast your vote for “Lack of LaRue” in the Red Hot Mama poll that you'll notice in the right sidebar, you might be interested in this tidbit. When Jason LaRue was traded to the Royals for a PTBNL, several people lauded the move for freeing up salary. LaRue made $5.45 million, they said, and dumping that obligation would more than pay for the first year of Alex Gonzalez's 3-year, $14 million contract.
However, this was based on initial reports that the Reds hadn't sent any cash to Kansas City. Later clarification indicated that there was cash involved, but didn't specify the amount. But in his Reds Insider column in the Cincinnati Enquirer this morning, John Fay reveals that the Reds are sending $3 million along with LaRue.
But for the sake of argument, let's say the Reds' payroll will be $70 million. The club already has $49.225 million committed to 11 players: Ken Griffey Jr. ($12.5 million), Adam Dunn ($10.5 million), Eric Milton ($9 million), Bronson Arroyo ($3.8 million), Gonzalez ($3.5 million), Rheal Cormier ($2.25 million), Stanton ($2 million), Ryan Freel ($1.7 million), Scott Hatteberg ($1.65 million), Javier Valentin ($1.325 million) and Juan Castro ($1 million).
Add the $3 million the Reds are paying toward the salary of the departed LaRue, and you're at $52.225 million.
Suddenly, shipping our long-time catcher to the breadbasket isn't doing such a great job at freeing up payroll. Saving less than $2.5 million? That will barely cover Rheal Cormier next season, let alone Gonzalez. Not to mention the dearth of John Deere hats we're going to suffer from now.