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

  • beeker

    Brandon has two options: try to be the highest paid 2B in baseball (which he possibly could be if he signs elsewhere next year), or re-sign with the Reds and be a well-paid 2B with a shot to win a couple of WS rings. If he is wise, he’ll take the shot at the rings.
    As a big BP fan, it’s a simple matter that he needs the Reds more than they need him. If he elects to leave, the Reds will have to scab through 2013 with Valdez/Janish/Valaika or bring in another guy until Billy Hamilton is ready to come up. BP is the best option right now, but he isn’t the only option.

  • beeker

    I am more than happy accept Joey Votto into his waning years (who knows, maybe they will be as bad as Paul Konerko’s have been) for the chance to kick the window of opportunity wide open during his peak years. If Walt builds around Joey, there will be plenty to long back on with fond remembrance in those years. Plus the odds are decent that MLB will have forced the NL into the DH by then.

  • JordanLeeBarhorst

    I’ve seen a lot of people (outside of the Reds fanbase) already start to bash this deal. What non-Reds fans don’t understand is that Votto’s game is about much more than power. In fact, I would argue that his power isn’t what makes him a great player. 30 HRs don’t hurt, but it’s not what will make Joey Votto an effective mainstay in Cincinnati for the next 12 years. His ability to get on base, his eye, and his ridiculous tendency to NEVER fly out probably won’t be affected by age. Sure, his power numbers might go down, but I’ll take a .309 average over 29 homers every day. 

  • Steven Engbloom

     @beeker Recent history suggests that free agent second basemen do not fare well in free agency, too. You know the Reds brass is aware of this. They may hold the leverage…

  • Steven Engbloom

     @JordanLeeBarhorst Those outside the fanbase will dislike this deal. One reason is because their team has most likely been bitten by long-term, high dollar contracts where the player did not “perform” up to expectations of the contract.
    No question Votto has a well-rounded game versus the likes of some of the other high-priced talent, maybe even the best overall game at this time. That’s not to say he will be at the same level in 6 years or so and still possess the quality of play he has now. History suggests that he won’t and that is where those that offer their negative view could ultimately be viewed as being correct.
    Risky. Yes. There is a very real possibility the money will not match the production for the whole term of the deal. As I have stated before, all contracts hold a risk regardless of length and dollars.

  • Steven Engbloom

     @beeker Ah…the DH….

  • EE RIPPER

    I was very surprised when I learned of Votto’s massive extension. On the one hand, a player of Votto’s caliber seldom comes around-unless you exclude Josh Hamilton (low blow i know..LOL). On the other , one has to wonder if Cincy can afford such long term commitments. Here in Chicago, we approach the prospect of long term deals in Hazmat suits. I guess the question that begs to be answered, is whether or not loooonnnngggg term contracts are good for the club-and by extension- the fans. How well will the Reds be able to acquire and/or secure other vital pieces i.e. pitching in the coming years with large contracts on the books. I am skeptical, but maybe the Reds have deeper pockets or better pitching development than I realize…

  • EE RIPPER

    Oh and a P.S. is in order..Have Reds’ fans forgotten Junior’s deal…just sayin’