Reds’ $12 million options: Brandon Phillips picked up, Francisco Cordero declined

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Cincinnati has exercised its $12 million option on second baseman Brandon Phillips, but made closer Francisco Cordero a free agent by declining his $12 million option.

Cordero will get a $1 million buyout instead and joins an already crowded closer market, although the Reds have repeatedly indicated that they’d like to re-sign him for a lesser salary. Cordero had 37 saves and a nice-looking 2.45 ERA, but also posted by far the worst strikeout rate of his career at age 36.

Phillips is a no-brainer for $12 million, so the bigger question will be whether the Reds make a significant effort to sign him beyond 2012. Phillips is one season away from a big payday as a free agent and the 30-year-old has said he’s not interested in giving Cincinnati a hometown discount.

Braves expected to lose as many as 12 prospects as a result of international signing violations

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UPDATE: Jeff Passan of Yahoo reports that the Braves are expected to lose as many as 12 players as a result of the sanctions, plus they’ll suffer significant restrictions on international signings for the next four years, plus they will lose a draft pick in next year’s draft.

2:46PM: Major League Baseball is expected to announce its sanctions against the Atlanta Braves for their international signing violations as early as this afternoon. Earlier today a handful of reports came out suggesting what at least part of those penalties will entail. Think multiple prospects signed in the last year or two.

Ben Badler of Baseball America reports that shortstop Kevin Maitan, catcher Abrahan Gutierrez, second baseman Yunior Severino and righthander Juan Contreras — the Braves top four international signees of 2016 — will all become restricted free agents, but it is not clear what the restrictions will be. Maitan, it should be noted, was the number one ranked international prospect in all of baseball last year. Severino was the eighth-ranked, Gutierrez the 15th-ranked and Conrearas the 41st-ranked.

In addition to losing prospects, there will likewise be financial penalties and, most likely, future signing restrictions. The severity of these penalties suggest that, whatever the specifics of the violations MLB has found to have been committed by the Braves, they are unprecedented in scope and severity.