March 29, 2012; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (4) throws to second during a spring training game against the Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

Reds Announce Votto Extension

August 19, 2011; Pittsburgh,PA, USA: Votto in the on-deck circle against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 1st inning at PNC Park. (Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE)

It’s historical. The biggest contract the Cincinnati Reds have ever offered. Joey Votto will be a Red…for a long freakin’ time. Twelve years. The ten years of the newly announced extension plus the two already on the books for the deal completed last January.

Yes, Reds fans, Joey Votto is in the fold for what will most likely be the rest of his MLB career.

If you watched the news conference, you were not taken aback by the manner in which Votto handle himself. Humble, unassuming, showing a quick wit. All things that make him so darned likable. Not to mention the stories of his work ethic and how he strives to always become a better player.

Joey Votto is the face of the Cincinnati Reds.

I know that in time people will view this contract as bad. There have been many such a deal, most not for as long of a term until this off-season, that have gone awry. But Votto addressed that. He wasn’t prompted. He wasn’t nudged. He did it on his own accord. He promised he will try his best. While those words may seem hollow to some (and they shouldn’t), that’s all we should ask for from him.

Too many times the hub-bub about dollars impairs our vision. The Reds had to make this move in order to be relevant. And that’s a sad statement to make. The downside to being a small-market team has all the outside forces believing that the Good Guys are nothing more than potential fodder on down the line. If you believe that, it is a misconception.

I’ve addressed this before. Name the last big name free agent to bolt Cincinnati?

But there are other misconceptions.

One, owner Bob Castellini and GM Walt Jocketty put to rest (and seemingly took the air out of those in attendance) any notion of the Reds being strapped and unable to re-sign Brandon Phillips. They are working on it. That’s all I needed to hear. As long as I know something’s happening. I do not need to know all the details. As long as Walt. Mr. C, BP and his agent are all in the loop, I’m fine. If it gets done, it gets done. If not, so be it. I’m sure there are others that don’t feel that way. The business of baseball can be rewarding…yet harsh.

The second is one that the Reds found the means to “ante up” while the Cardinals and Brewers couldn’t. That’s a false sense.

March 24, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Braun before his at bat against the Chicago White Sox at the Maryvale Baseball Park. (James Guillory-US PRESSWIRE)

The Brewers did…with Ryan Braun. He’s in the middle of a 8 year deal that will see him earn $45 million. After the 2015 season, an extension until 2020 season (mutual option for 2021) that will see him earn an additional $105 million kicks into play. That’s $150 million.

The Brewers recently extended nice deals to Rickie Weeks (4 years, $38.5 million) and Corey Hart (3 years, $26 million). Let’s not forget the off-season deal for Aramis Ramirez (3 years, $36 million). Maybe not on the level of what Albert, Prince and Joey got, but still a fair amount of paper to dole out. Even without Fielder, the Brewers will Opening Day payroll of $94.3 million is more than $10 million over last year’s OD payroll of $83.5 million.

And the Brewers have other matters in which they must address: Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum. Both will be free agents. And John Axford enters his arbitration years.

For St. Louis, sure, they lost Pujols. That might actually be a blessing in disguise. They have one of the better farm systems to develop young talent. Minor League Ball has the Cards owing the 5th best farm system. Baseball America has them 10th. Bsseball Prospectus, 3rd. They now have the funds to use tose toward future stars. And they have some in Shelby Miller and Kolten Wong just to name a couple.

But they did invest some funds during the winter. They brought in Carlos Beltran. Re-signed Lance Berkman and Rafael Furcal. The downside there is the age. The upside is that none of those three deals last more than two years.

But the bigger deal went to Yadier Molina: 5 years, $75 million. That is on top of his current deal which runs out after this season.

And think about this for a minute. Without Pujols for the upcoming season, the Cards payroll will stay steady from $109 million on OD 2011 to $108 million OD this year. With Berkman ($12 million), Jake Westbrook ($8.5 million) and Kyle Lohse ($12.2 million) all coming off the books after this season, St. Louis can go out and snag a good, younger player. maybe even a couple. That’s $32+ million.

No question that we Reds fans should cherish this day. In essence, the Reds have locked up Votto for life. No Reds fan can honestly state he knew this would happen.

Well, not one that we would consider somewhat normal.

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Tags: Baseball Brandon Phillips Cincinnati Reds Joey Votto Milwaukee Brewers MLB Ryan Braun St Louis Cardinals Yadier Molina

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