GM says Reds’ payroll will rise in 2012, but don’t expect big free agent signings

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General manager Walt Jocketty said earlier this week that the Reds will exercise their $12 million option on Brandon Phillips for next season and today he revealed that the team’s payroll will rise from the current $80 million mark.

“Our preliminary projections are that we’ll bump it up a little,” Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “We’re still working on the end number. But it will be more than it was this year.”

Fay speculates that the “bump” will be to around $85 million, which is why Jocketty replied “probably not” when asked about potentially pursuing big-name free agents. All but 12 teams have a payroll above $85 million this season.

If the Reds pick up their options on Phillips and closer Francisco Cordero that would put them at $68 million in commitments before factoring in arbitration raises and minimum-salaried players, so unless they cut Cordero loose Jocketty will be bargain shopping.

John Axford has a small break in his fibula

Associated Press
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Dodgers reliever John Axford was deemed “unavailable” before last night’s game against the Giants. After the game it was revealed that he will miss up to three weeks due to a break in the tip of his fibula he suffered when he was hit by a comebacker on Sunday. It’s being characterized as a “crack.”

As if the Dodgers need more injuries and/or maladies, especially to their beleaguered bullpen.

Axford was acquired by L.A. at the trade deadline and, with Kenley Jansen out indefinitely, it was thought that he could get some opportunities to close. Now that’s out the window at least into September, it seems.