The Big Question


With the news today that Reds first baseman and 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto agreeing to a three-year, $38 million deal brings about the most obvious of questions. Why only three years?

Much will be said about this very issue over the next couple of days. I’m sure of that. Some opinions have already been unearthed.

In assessing the deal on the surface, it’s a win for the Votto camp, numbers-wise. It’s also a win for Votto’s camp lengthwise.

How’s that? All it does is cover Votto’s remaining arbitration eligible years. Should Votto elect to do so, he still holds that free agency card he can play after these three years.

But the three years buys some time for both sides. It provides both Votto and the Reds time to assess the complete situation without any perceived short-term time constraints. Three years guarantees no arbitration. Arbitration can get extremely ugly. The team will say you not worth what you think you’re worth. The ugliness can grow from there and resentment can settle in. Now, there will be no pitting one against the other.

Also, I believe Votto came out ahead in the pocket. The record for an arbitration was $10 million held by Ryan Howard. While I don’t think Votto would have gotten that this go around, he might have either next year or the last year of arbitration. Overall, Votto got more money going this route. I’m guessing at least an extra $7 million more. That may be a bit conservative, too.

But I found something while looking into a future column that struck me as peculiar. A peculiar take on this whole thing.

Michael Chung on Bleacher Report states something that may have never been considered. Keep this in mind. Chung’s post was made previous to the Votto deal being reported. Still, I don’t think it should be taken any different.

Chung is of the opinion that the main reason Votto hadn’t inked a long-term deal is because of his popularity and how he does not seek the limelight. He likes the private life. But Chung does ask this:

"Is this the underlying reason why Joey Votto has not signed a long-term deal yet? One thing for certain, he is not happy with all the attention. Cincinnatians would be wise to begin giving Votto his personal space. Once he feels comfortable, maybe he will sign long term. Of course, multi-millions of dollars could also help."

We all know that Votto is an extremely private person. I can honestly say that if I saw Votto walking down the street, I wouldn’t stop him. I do respect athletes, celebs (local or international) and their privacy. I’ve had opportunities and passed them by out of respect. Just the way I was raised, I suppose.

But one point on this. No matter where Votto ends up after these three years, he will be a man in demand. He very well won’t be able to hide as much as he once could regardless of surroundings.