I started work on the handle knob and as suspected, the bearings were completely rusted as the outer traces of the bearings were stuck inside the knob leaving it completely useless and had to be discarded. The spool initially would not budge so I had to soak the inner part of the spool that is connected with to shaft with Selly's Rust Stopper. I knew the bearings were also completely rusted and need to be melted away to release the spool. After a day of soak, I was able to remove the spool and the bearing inside was intact but the bearing sitting on top of the shaft was rusted out and had to be replaced. The exterior has shown corrosion, but they are not too deep, only the paint was affected so it should be ok for some time.
After removing the spool, I was able to remove the rotor. The AR housing has some stains, but it was pretty much intact. But opening it was another story. It took me an hour or so to get the cap out --- using the biggest vice grip that I have. Inside was also filled with salty cake, bits of rust, and hardened grease.
After opening the side plate, that's when I saw the extent of damage on the reel. Saltwater and rust has caked the internals.
And that's what it did. I think this reel is lucky! Every time I take it out, it manages to catch something awesome. Its latest catch, an 8.5kg GT from shore. :-)