Originally Posted by muethibp
It's not totally conjecture. There are a lot of known facts that inform what's available to spend. We know, for example, last year's payroll; we have a general sense from ownership that its willing to spend in payroll what it brings in as revenue; we have a general sense of where attendance is likely to be next year; we know the amount of future payroll obligations at this moment. All of that suggests that the Reds would not be material players for other teams' free agents.
The public's sense of what ownership is willing/able to spend has proven, in the past, to be wildly inaccurate.
The public has no idea whether or not ownership would or could afford a major free agent if it became essential for the team's success.
Nobody ever suggested that the Reds could give Votto his contract. And once they did, so many folks said no way they would pay Phillips.
We can fairly surmise that the Reds are not the Yankees. But to say that the Reds are not able to sign a major free agent is conjecture.
Would major free agents want to play with the Reds? Answer is that some probably would, some probably wouldn't, assuming the Reds had an interest.