“It would be tough for a [top] position player to sign for five years. No matter how fond a person is of the city, players have to maximize the number of years,” says Joey Votto of the Reds, after having once again been insufferably asked about the possibility of him going to the Jays once he hits free agency after the 2013 season– y’know, assuming he doesn’t ink an extension with Cincinnati prior to that, or get traded and extend wherever he lands.

The quote comes from┬áJon Heyman’s latest for CBS Sports, with the explanation that “if the Blue Jays stick to their five-year maximum policy for player contracts, they can forget luring Reds superstar Joey Votto back home to Toronto when he’s a free agent.”

Neither Heyman nor Votto is wrong, it’s just… yeah, we know.

Clearly the Jays aren’t getting any sort of major free agent with the ridiculous self-imposed handcuffing of their inflexible five-year max policy.┬áPaul Beeston has told us that the club held to this principle in previous negotiations– as in, with Jose Bautista– so, unless we want to piss off Jose, we’d better keep our mouths shut.

And while we’re at it, I guess we should all just forget that Bautista was coming off a crazy outlier season, and still had a year of team control left, when he signed his extension, and that going beyond five guaranteed years with him probably wasn’t going to happen, ridiculous self-imposed rule or not.

Of course, to get all that upset about the rule means that you have to believe that it actually exists and wasn’t just the most convenient PR cover the Jays could find to hide behind when fans started going apeshit over their lack of spending this off-season. I tend to think there will come a time to break the ridiculous rule, and they’ll figure out how to explain it away when that happens.

Perhaps even more ridiculous than the rule itself, though, is the constant baiting of Joey Votto with questions about what he’s going to do as a free agent, two whole goddamn seasons from now. He tells Heyman that he’s proud to play for the Reds and that he definitely would like to stay.

What the hell else is he going to say?

Are we seriously in for two more years of this?


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Comments (39)

  1. He’s gonna pull a Dwight Howard on Cincinnati

  2. Yeah, the self imposed restriction for 5 years is ridiculous. I think the Jays best chance at landing Votto is through trade. When the reds realize they cant keep him (hopefully) the Jays will pounce. They definitely have the prospects to get it done.

  3. A couple years ago, Beeston still had a firm policy of not giving pitchers contracts longer than three years. AA convinced him to change it to lock up Romero. I have a feeling this whole “5 year maximum” thing will end the same way, at some point. There’s sort of a precedent for it, at least.

  4. This is just like all of those annoying times when LA sports broadcasters would constantly pester Ricky Romero with questions about when he’ll finally be done with his lousy Jays contract in 2015 and then make the obvious, logical decision to sign with the Dodgers, a real team from his hometown, where he’d be treated like a local-hah, wait, nevermind, that’s never fucking happened.

  5. word is that nobody beats a champions deal in Cincinnati…..


  6. I hope the Reds suck this year. I want them to have a Twins like season.

    Then, come deadline, they deal Votto!

    Yunel (only if Adeiny proves he can hit in AAA) + JP + Marisnick + Hutchinson for Votto

    Or AA could go all Ninja, and get him for something like Lind and Gose and a shit load of scraps.

    • i can live with trade speculation, but can we at least posture a package that would appeal to the reds, who have the top (second best?) catching prospect in baseball.

      • Agreed. If a Votto trade ever happened, it would probably not involve them getting JPA or d’Arnaud unless something terrible happens to Mesoraco beforehand.

    • I just don’t get why the Jays would willingly give up more for Votto than was paid for Adrian Gonzalez (as close a comp as you’ll find). For that matter, he probably isn’t worth more than they got for Halladay.

      If Jays fans are so in love with Votto that they would willingly set a benchmark price for him, I can only hope AA & co never get desperate enough to do it. Prospects are not the only risky assets in town… see Adam Dunn, Vernon Wells, etc.

      • Well, first off Votto is over a year younger than Gonzalez–yes, it matters. Also, in 2 less full seasons–4.027 service time, compared to Gonzalez’s 6.108–Votto is only 5 fWAR behind Gonzalez. With these in mind, it’s reasonable to conclude that Votto will be more productive over the next 6 years than Gonzalez will be from 2010-2016.

        However, I don’t see Cincinnati wanting Yunel since they have this young potential stud in Zach Cozart. If the Jays had a can’t-miss 1B prospect, I could see them matching up, but for the Reds it just doesn’t make much sense in my eyes.

        • Reasonable to note the age difference and the faster start for Votto. But even if you gave him 0.25 WAR (of whatever flavour) per year (the ageing curves suggest that is too much btw) AND assumed that he would make up the 5 fWAR difference over, say, 4 years (another way of saying that he is slightly better than AGon) – that would make him worth roughly 1 B-grade prospect (Sickels grades so a top prospect) more than AGon (using the Wang values that Fangraphs uses to value prospects).

          If other teams really do offer that kind of package for Votto – he is gone by the deadline if Cincy isn’t clearly in it (which they should be). Fastest rebuild ever at those prices. AA dreams of selling those deals, not buying them I think.

          • Good points and look at where Gonzalez played most of those years. OPS+ are very very close for all of those years.

  7. Rules are made to be broken. The trick is to know when to break them. I think that ‘we’ve got a 5-year-rule’ stuff was stupid. If they honestly thought that would shut the fans up. It didn’t.

  8. If he comes in free agency fine, but who knows who will be playing 1B by then… with gose and marisnick, jose might be our 1B in 2 years.

    if it comes by trade, i’d much rather sent a boatload of prospects for a high end pitcher. Our offense is fine, last year it was 6th in runs scored and its much much much improved since then..

    All additions should now be moved to run prevention.

    • I really do hope Jose finishes this contract as a 1B because we have so many outfield options forcing their way onto this team.

      • You’re wasting a good arm if you do, though.

        • For sure his arm will play in RF forever. But it’s only really a waste if the guy replacing him is not a defensive upgrade. I think Marisnick (assuming Gose or Rasmus in CF) might be good enough to justify it.

        • but he’s only moving because other players are forcing their way onto the team. emphasis forcing.

        • He’s already a not-good defender in RF. Just move him to 1B, platoon Lind and EE, and play Snider in RF. Solves everything.

  9. I don’t even fucking want Votto anymore because of all this crap

    • “I want Votto!”

      *someone else talks about wanting Votto*

      “Fuck it, I don’t want Votto anymore!”

      Makes sense.

  10. When McCown & co were hounding AA about Fielder in the winter, he mentioned the 5 year rule but suggested it wasn’t hard and fast. He suggested if the AAV was a little lower, one could give an additional year or two.

    If it ever happens that AA goes above 5 years, I think this would be the rationaliztion. That it makes more sense, for example, to offer 7/161 than 5/130.

  11. I see the bigger issue being that young outfielders with range are going to push Jose into the infield, and with Lawrie holding down 3B, 1B seems like the logical spot for JoBau. I can’t imagine JoBau declining so badly defensively that DH is the only remaining spot for him.
    So, what, then, if JoBau is at 1B with an occasional outfield start in 2 years, and we have a trio of young hotshots in the OF? Is Votto still worth grabbing on the basis of his Canuck-i-ness and his bat alone?

  12. oh. What DC said.

    • Blair keeps saying that Joey Votto won’t come to the Blue Jays as a free agent. Apparently, Votto wouldn’t like the attention he would get in his native city.

      While I think that AA could convince ownership to extend the 5 year cap, the bigger issue is Jose Bautista. I am sure Jose would love to have Votto hit behind him in the lineup, but how would he feel knowing that he’s paid a pittance in comparison?

      The Jays would need to look at restructuring Bautista’s deal if he produces another monster year.

      • The idea of Bautista being upset at somebody making more money than him is ridiculous. If he wanted more money, then he could have held out until he hit FA after 2011 rather than signing before that season. He took the $65 million because of how much risk was involved in waiting — it’s not like the Jays robbed him or something. Both parties took on considerable risk, but Bautista mitigated his risk greatly by signing after his monster breakout season rather than waiting to see if he fell back to earth (or got hurt) the following year.

        He’s not an idiot; I’m sure he understands the economics of the situation. He was a 29-year-old journeyman with one year of team control left, and only one good season on his resume. Votto will be a 29-year-old MVP with (probably) SIX all-star caliber seasons under his belt. There’s an enormous difference.

        • Look at it this way — if you bought a $3 lottery ticket, and then that ticket ended up winning you $1 million, would you go back to the variety store and paying the difference because it ended up earning you way more than you would’ve reasonably expected? Or do you quit your job and enjoy your winnings because that’s the entire point of buying a lottery ticket?

          • To add to this, JoeyBats has said before the best player in the game is Albert Pujols because he’s been an elite player for a long time. If Jose can (rightly) grasp this concept, I’m sure he can understand why he is not on a $200 million contract and that it might take that kind of commitment to sign someone like Joey Votto.

          • Don’t understand the whole lottery ticket analogy.

        • Regarding Votto, Blair and Brunt suggested the Bautista factor last week during a radio show. And they have better access to Bautista than I do. Blair also said that Votto coming to Toronto is not realistic (according to his fucking reasoning).

          All that I am saying is that it would take a huge deal to get Votto to sign with the Blue Jays. Something in the neighbourhood of 7 years/$180-200M might not even be enough. The Bautista deal is a joke in comparison.

          No question, Votto’s body of work exceeds Bautista’s (to date), But with another 2 seasons to go before Votto is eligible to be a free agent, who knows what could happen.

          You will note that I prefaced my comment with the following statement, if Bautista has another monster year (ie: MVP calibre).

          Players have egos and pride. And Bautista is no fool. For a ball player from the DR, he’s very smart about money matters, thanks in large to his middle upper class upbringing.

          Would I like to see Votto? Fuck yeah. But it might cost more than what us stupid fans realize, both in terms of dollars to Votto and the probable ripple effect to its other superstar, Jose Bautista.

          • Listening to Jeff Blair, are you? That explains a lot. It’s pretty much his job to be full of shit on the radio and come up with talking points to fill air time.

            Even if Bautista gets pissed off about a perfectly reasonable contract that he signed (and I see no reason to think that will happen), the Jays aren’t going to just restructure it to get it more in line with the contracts of other elite players. It’s a total non-story.

  13. How about thinking about Votto as a free agent in 18+ months. First, signing Votto at age 30 gives us only a few prime years followed by the possibility of declining years. Second, we may have more important needs to fill when the time comes around. Third, there’s a small chance everything comes together for it to happen so it’s a waste of time to talk much about it.

  14. I believe the 5 year rule is smart by the Jays. We may be the only team in baseball that does not have one bad contract on the books right now. We can’t build a sustainable farm system and have the money to pay all our needs at the major league level if one guy is taking up a large chunk of dough while on decline. You can count on one hand those major leaguers that sustain a top level for 5+ years. However, there’s no limit to the number of players who aren’t worth it. Brad Penny, Mo Vaughn, Johan Santana, Vernon Wells, Alex Rios, Barry Zito, Dice K, etc. Bottom line is human nature is tough to beat. If you get a fat contract all guaranteed, you no longer HAVE to perform. That’s dangerous. No player, Votto included is worth more than 5 years.

  15. Make sure we sign Votto after 2013, because as we’ve seen the last few years, only one top-flight first-baseman becomes a free agent every 10 years. Fuck sakes.

  16. The winner is Votto’s agent. They can use Toronto as a leverage to get the most from the Reds.

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