By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer
SARASOTA, Fla. - All those trades in July and August allowed the Reds to turn a profit of about $2.5 million last year, sources say.
That's significant because, according to the sources, the club had lost $27 million over the 2000, '01 and '02 seasons.
It also explains why general manager Dan O'Brien has not been mandated to trade players to trim the player payroll, which figures to come in at about $46 million.
Reds chief operating officer John Allen has declined to discuss the team's finances. O'Brien is adhering to a preset budget.
Former GM Jim Bowden often would go over budget at this time of year and assure ownership he would get it in line by year's end.
The Reds broke camp last year with a player payroll in the $59 million range. But the club made it known that it was trying to trade Scott Sullivan ($2.8 million) and Gabe White ($3.3 million) to get the budget in line.
With the majority of teams trying to trim their payroll, Bowden was not able to move Sullivan or White.
They finally were traded after Bowden was fired. Aaron Boone ($3.7 million), Scott Williamson ($1.6 million), Kelly Stinnett ($1.3 million) and Jose Guillen ($500,000) also were traded, and Felix Heredia ($600,000) was released.
Those transactions jettisoned $13.8 million in salary. But because the season was two-thirds over when the trades happened, the actual savings in salary was about $4.6 million.
There was cash in the Boone and Williamson deals to further help the Reds' bottom line.
The Reds made the moves after it became clear the team was not going to meet its attendance projection of 2.8 million. The club drew 2,355,259 for the first year in Great American Ball Park.
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