Mattheus among 3 Reds not tendered deals

Chapman, Cozart, Hoover receive contract offers prior to deadline

Mattheus among 3 Reds not tendered deals

CINCINNATI -- Ahead of tonight's deadline, the Reds did not tender 2016 contracts to three players in right-handed relievers Ryan Mattheus and Pedro Villarreal and outfielder Ryan LaMarre.

It's possible that all three players could be re-signed to Minor League contracts, but no deals were imminent. The moves left the Reds' 40-man roster at 35.

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Three arbitration-eligible players -- closer Aroldis Chapman, setup man J.J. Hoover and shortstop Zack Cozart -- were tendered offers, as expected.

Mattheus, 32, was claimed off waivers from the Angels on May 13 and posted a 4.09 ERA in 55 innings over 57 appearances. He retired 39 of his 57 first batters faced and stranded 13 of his 19 inherited runners.

Villarreal, who turns 28 on Dec. 9, split the 2015 season between Cincinnati and Triple-A Louisville. In 29 big league games, often as a long or middle reliever, he had a 3.42 ERA while stranding 13 of 18 inherited runners.

LaMarre, 27, spent most of the season at Louisville, but he made his Major League debut this year and appeared in 21 games with five starts. He was 2-for-25 (.080) in his big league at-bats.

Chapman, who is third-year arbitration-eligible, is widely expected to be traded this winter. Hoover is eligible for the first time while Cozart is second-year eligible.

MLBTradeRumors.com projected that Chapman could receive $12.9 million in arbitration after he earned $8.05 million last season. Cozart, who did not play after June 10 following the tears of both knee ligaments and season-ending surgery, is projected to see his salary rise from $2.35 million to $2.9 million. Hoover, who earned $535,000 in 2015, could see his pay jump to $1.1 million, according to the website.

Teams had until 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday to tender 2016 contracts to all of their unsigned players. Any player non-tendered is effectively released and becomes a free agent able to sign with any of the 30 Major League clubs.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.