UPDATE: Joey Votto and the Reds have agreed to a ten-year contract extension worth $225 million, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
That sound you hear is the sound of 35 million hearts breaking across Canada. MLB Trade Rumors reports the Cincinnati Reds and all-world first baseman Joey Votto are nearing a long-term contract extension. The terms are not known at this time but MLBTR founder Tim Dierkes and Ben Nicholson-Smith suggest the deal could exceed $200 million in total value.
Wow. (Update: Votto confirms the deal but notes it isn’t quite done. Good night, sweet prince.)
Joey Votto previously signed away his arbitration years to the Reds ahead of last season, inking a three-year, $38 million dollar deal, paying him $11.5 million this season and $19 million for 2013. The 2010 MVP was set to hit free agency at age 30, where a massive deal awaited him.
Considering the huge sums awarded to Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, Votto and his agent were surely licking their chops. As Nicholson-Smith notes on MLBTR, the recent tsunami of cash that washed former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt only gave the first baseman a little more leverage.
There was much written about the Reds future plans – if the team loaded up this past off-season in an attempt to make a World Series run before losing their best player to free agency. The Reds, playing in one of the smallest markets in baseball, couldn’t possibly commit the kind of cash a player like Votto commands, could they?
If the MLBTR report is correct and Votto remains in Cincinnati for the long haul, expect to hear about how great a deal this is “for baseball.” Like the Joe Mauer deal that every pundit and columnists fell over themselves to praise, this is a good deal for Joey Votto and a great commitment by the Reds to a homegrown talent. That is it.
The other, unavoidable, angle to this story involves the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays and their gaping crevice at first base seemed like an ideal landing place for Votto, had he opted to leave the Natty. The hometown stud returns to the nest as the emergent collection of cheap talent rises to meet the level of their competition. But it does not appear to be the case.
The Reds cleared out their farm system to acquire pitchers Mat Latos and Sean Marshall, signaling a renewed commitment to winning right now. With Votto in place for what we assume is a minimum of 8 more years, the Reds and their young core are ready to take on the Cardinals and Brewers, both now and in the future.
Joey Votto is one of the game’s very best players and will be paid as such for the rest of his career. If that career begins and ends in Cincinnati, good for them. Players like Votto don’t come along too often, if you can lock him up in a deal that makes sense for both the player and your business, go nuts.