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Reds Offer Guzman Arbitration

The Cincinnati Reds offered salary arbitration to pitcher Juan Guzman on Tuesday, but formally cut ties with Greg Vaughn.

The Reds declined to offer arbitration to Vaughn, who is a free agent after hitting 45 homers last season. The Reds couldn't afford his asking price and traded for Colorado's Dante Bichette in October to replace him.

Cincinnati also declined to offer arbitration to pitchers Steve Avery and Mark Wohlers, who are coming off injuries that required operations.

The Reds don't think they can afford to keep Guzman, who was acquired in a trade with Baltimore on July 31 and was one of their most dependable starters down the stretch. He went 6-3 with a 3.03 ERA in 12 starts for Cincinnati.

By offering Guzman arbitration, the Reds guaranteed themselves compensatory picks in next June's draft if he signs with another club. If Guzman accepts arbitration and gets a bigger salary than the Reds can afford, he could be traded, general manager Jim Bowden said.

"We felt Guzman could be arbitrated at a reasonable number," Bowden said. "If not, with a one-year contract he would be a very tradable player."

The Reds considered offering Vaughn arbitration so they would be in line for extra draft picks, but feared he might take the club up on the offer.

"We felt that with the numbers he's had the last two years and the contributions he's made to winning teams, it would allow him an eight-figure arbitration award," Bowden said. "We didn't feel we could afford that. We felt there was too much risk to offer him arbitration because he might accept."

Avery went 6-7 with a 5.16 ERA before his season ended with shoulder surgery in August to repair a torn rotator cuff.

Wohlers, the former Atlanta Braves closer, spent most of the season on the disabled list with an anxiety disorder and later with a torn ligament in the right elbow that required reconstructive surgery.

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