Reds payroll likely to be down slightly from last season

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After signing Ryan Ludwick last week the Reds more or less have their roster set, with John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer speculating that the one last move they might make is adding a veteran utility man like Ryan Theriot.

Fay crunched the numbers to find that Cincinnati’s current payroll will be around $76 million even if they lose both pending arbitration cases, which is slightly down from last season’s $80 million mark.

Their most expensive pickup of the offseason is Ryan Madson on a one-year, $8.5 million deal and no one else added this winter is on the books for more than $3.1 million (Sean Marshall).

Last year’s team went just 79-83 on that $80 million payroll, while the 2010 team won the division at 91-71 with a payroll around $72 million.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.