2011 Reds / 2012 Reds

Why You Don’t Trade Joey Votto

Lately, it seems that every thread about what the Reds should do this off-season works its way around to some “trade Votto” talk. The idea behind this  seems to be that they will be just fine with Yonder at first and that money can be better spent elsewhere. Let’s look at how accurate this idea is.

Joey Votto is putting up a season that, in terms of value, is almost identical to last season. He was worth 7.3 wins last year and is sitting on 6.9 for this year. Given that he’s at peak age, he’s probably a good bet to stay right around there over the next several years. This makes his free market value something in the neighborhood of $30M/year. He will make $9.5M next year and $17M after that. Just to be clear, the Reds figure to pay him $26.5M for about $60M in production. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a good deal.

But what about Yonder?

Certainly, he has looked good in limited time, and he’s been highly touted, but his minor league numbers aren’t in the same ballpark as Votto’s major league numbers. His major league equivalencies, over a season would make him Gaby Sanchez with less of a glove. That is, a league average player. Effectively, you would be losing 5 wins at first base. On the open market, that would cost you some thing north of $20M. Or more than twice what Votto will make next year. Even if you want to assume Alonso will see no drop off from the minors, the best you can hope for is 3 WAR and a 4 win drop from Votto.

But the Reds need pitching.

Over the last two years, Votto’s 14.2 WAR is second only to Bautista among position players. Only Halladay at 14.7 bests him among pitchers. The only other pitchers in the neighborhood are Lee, Verlander, and Sabathia. Good luck getting one of those guys in a trade, especially for the $9.5M trading Votto saves you next year.

What if we can get Bautista?

I still don’t know if you do it. The primary difference between Votto and Bautista is age. Bautista is 3 years older than Votto and, frankly, you have to wonder how long he can keep it up. We all know the story of his rise. Votto just seems like a better bet than Bautista and, in any case, he’s going to make about what Votto does over the next two years.

Conclusion

There are two things people miss that I think lead to the calls to trade Votto: 1. Truly special players don’t come along that often. Is Votto as good as Pujols has been for the last ten years? No, but he’s still on a near Hall of Fame career track. 2. There is tremendous value in getting so many wins from one player. Basically, it’s better to have a single 7 win player than several two and three win players because the 7 win guys are rarely paid as much as the combined salaries of the perfectly average players AND you can almost certainly find someone to play those other positions who provides above-replacement value, meaning you end up ahead of the game overall.

I know it’s tempting to look at Votto and think about what the Reds could get for him, but whatever it is, isn’t likely to help the team as much as hanging on to him.

56 thoughts on “Why You Don’t Trade Joey Votto

  1. Completely agree. I cringe and shake my head in amazement every time I hear someone mention the possibility of trading Votto. It, quite simply, makes no sense.

  2. Free Yonder Alonso…to the Rays. The Reds have already wasted one of Votto’s prime years, why are they going to waste another one now? See the Crew’s plan. We got two years left here (hopefully they can sign him, but let’s face it, they probably can’t). If they screw around next year too, I’m going to be pretty angry. I’m preparing to be pretty angry.

  3. When you consider our biggest need is pitching (and all the risks associated with pitchers), it makes little sense to trade him to fill that need. I would be more inclined to trade Chapman and Grandal for the stud pitcher we need. Heck, it might not take that much. The Cubs traded two of their top 10 prospects (neither one ‘A’ type guys) to get Matt Garza. I believe we can pull off something similar.

  4. @Dave Lowenthal: The Rays have absolutely shown they are willing to deal. And, they are loaded with young pitching talent. I wonder if it would even take Yonder to get Shields…

    • @rayman5000
      : The Rays have absolutely shown they are willing to deal. And, they are loaded with young pitching talent. I wonder if it would even take Yonder to get Shields…

      Really, you have spoken with the Rays GM?

  5. My only thought on Bautista is the length of his contract and the low low dollars–it’s very appealing. From a risk standpoint, it’s a much safer bet than potentially making unwise decisions just to win now.

  6. I agree, that under no circumstances, should Votto be traded this offseason. After next season however, if he’s still not re-signed long term, you have to look at getting something in return for him. Even if he had a high WAR in 2013, it drops down to 0 in 2014 and it would be nice to get something to compensate for that drop, even if 2013 is a struggle without him.

  7. @rayman5000: I’d love to see us get Shields, but I think a positional prospect rich organization like Kansas City is better suited to land the guy.

  8. Your argument makes perfect sense if the Reds plan to not play baseball after 2013. Your post really doesn’t discuss any aspect of this decision beyond that point, and that’s the key factor in whether or not to trade Votto — the post-2013 world.

    Not only has Jose Bautista been as productive as Joey Votto the past two years, but he is signed to a reasonable contract through 2015 at $14 million/year — more than a $15 million value each year at close to his current production.

    That is the same “good deal” you correctly ascribe to Votto’s current Reds contract, only Bautista’s is for four years instead of two. I guess that makes it twice as good.

    Bautista is 30 years old, only three years older than Votto. He is a solid fielder both in the OF and 3B. He is a right-handed bat who could hit between Jay Bruce and Yonder Alonso. The “Votto window” is two years, the “Bautista window” would be four or five.

    I’ll admit there are a tiny number of players (maybe just one) who combine such outstanding production with an affordable longer-term contract. The original post is right that the Reds should be looking for a single super-star player to replace Votto’s value, not a combination of above-average ones.

    Trading Votto now, not at the end of 2012 or at the 2013 trade deadline, makes it a lot more likely we will receive comparable value in return.

    The argument for trading Joey Votto has almost nothing to do with Yonder Alonso, except that Alonso’s availability means you probably shouldn’t trade Votto for a 1B.

    I wish the Reds could afford $25 million/year contracts for players like Joey Votto. I really enjoy watching him play and would love to have him stay here his entire career.

    But the sad reality is, Joey Votto will be playing somewhere else after 2013 and I sincerely hope the Reds are planning to field a team beyond then.🙂

    • Bautista is 30 years old, only three years older than Votto.

      Nobody should ever say, “only three years older” when discussing an professional athlete.

      (VERY) extreme example:
      Bret Boone at age 32: .331 .372 .578
      Bret Boone at age 35: .251 .317 .423
      Bret Boone at age 36: .221 .290 .350

  9. Not convinced he won’t be signed. This team has gotten creative with contracts in the past (Griffey, Arroyo). This ownership group is serious about winning. If they feel that he’s the key to doing so, they’ll find a way to make it work. Deferred money or something like that.

  10. When you guys see the contract that Prince Fielder signs this off season, you’ll realize the Reds won’t be players for re-signing Votto.

    • @Steve Mancuso:

      When you guys see the contract that Prince Fielder signs this off season, you’ll realize the Reds won’t be players for re-signing Votto.

      I’d assume he’d get about 8 years, 25 million per. The Reds could work out something to meet that by deferring cash. Bob has already been quoted saying “Joey will be here for a long time.” I’m thinking he knows a bit about what his value will be.

      I guess the question is, why can’t they pay him? Who else, other than the rotation is going to make up for the remaining 70 million? Bruce and Cueto are the only ones signed for significant money beyond 2013. It’s not like anyone else is performing at a level which would dictate a large contract. They key is that young and productive options keep coming. That’s still a question mark. How good are the young guys? Frazier, Francisco, Hamilton. You simply don’t know, so you have to find a way to keep this guy. Who else is setting themself up for big money on this roster? Maybe Leake. Not Bailey. Not Volquez. I assume Phillips won’t remain.

  11. @Steve Mancuso: I agree with the thinking that Votto will probably not be here after 2013…but I just don’t think it makes sense to deal him before then. I’d (from a fan’s perspective) much rather go “all in” for those 2 years (ala Brewers) than scratch and claw for 2nd place in the Central year after year. I don’t know about you, but I could deal with another 6 or 7 years of mediocre if they win a World Series in the next 2.

  12. We also need a GM first. The season ends on Wednesday and Jocketty still isn’t signed beyond this year? Perhaps he’s going to entertain other offers.

  13. @rayman5000: But if the Reds could trade Votto for a player who is as valuable as Votto (Bautista), you’re not really sacrificing the “all in” aspect.

    Even if the Reds could somehow find a way to afford Votto at $25 million/year, shouldn’t they prefer a player of roughly similar value for $15 million/year instead? That gives the club $10 million each year to add other players.

  14. @Steve Mancuso: The logic behind finding a “player of roughly similar value” for less money is sound. However, I guess my assertion is that Bautista (or almost any other player) isn’t as valuable as Votto is right now (or will be over the next 2 years).

  15. I deal Votto tomorrow if the right deal is there. If I could add an arm for the rotation and say a LF with some pop.

    • I deal Votto tomorrow if the right deal is there. If I could add an arm for the rotation and say a LF with some pop.

      Why do people say this sort of thing? Sure…we would all do that. The point of the current thread is that there may not be a REALISTIC deal out there which would make the trade worth it.

      • Why do people say this sort of thing? Sure…we would all do that. The point of the current thread is that there may not be a REALISTIC deal out there which would make the trade worth it.

        I don’t believe there will be much of a deal this offseason or ever, as teams know he will hit the FA market, so why not just wait, that is why I would be willing to take a little less over what we would end up with in the form of draft picks.

  16. @dn4192: Not quite…and I’m certain you understood that. The point…as I’m guessing everyone else understood it…was that they have a small payroll, have a history of trading away more expensive players in favor of their own young guys, and have a significant amount of depth in pitching. Do the math…

  17. The one thing that I take issue with is your line about Alonso:

    “but his minor league numbers aren’t in the same ballpark as Votto’s major league numbers. His major league equivalencies, over a season would make him Gaby Sanchez with less of a glove.”

    Fact is that Votto’s minor league numbers were not in the same ballpark as his major league ones, making HIM Gaby Votto. We know he’s turned out better than expected, perhaps due to his hard work and the way that he studies the game. I’ve been impressed with what I’ve heard from Alonso. Seems like a stand-up guy who is willing to put in the hard work to do what it takes to make himself a better player and help the team. I’m not ready to write him off as league average. Let’s see what happens next year…

  18. The only time I trade him is mid season 2013 if the Reds are out of contention and Votto has shown no indication of wanting to come back.

  19. In Redsland:
    2012: Let Cordero go and use that money for a #1 starting pitcher. And the last year of Dusty Baker at the helm.
    2013: If Votto shows no interest in staying with the Reds, deal him in a blockbuster trade. And also have a new manager.

  20. @dn4192: That’s the problem to me…willing to take a little less. Why not simply hold on to him, and go for it all these next 2 years (and if 2013 goes like this year, look to trade at the deadline)? Seems to be working out well for the Brewers this year. Now, they’ll certainly be down during the next few years (I would think)…but I would gladly trade that for a chance to win it all.

    • @rayman5000
      : That’s the problem to me…willing to take a little less. Why not simply hold on to him, and go for it all these next 2 years (and if 2013 goes like this year, look to trade at the deadline)? Seems to be working out well for the Brewers this year. Now, they’ll certainly be down during the next few years (I would think)…but I would gladly trade that for a chance to win it all.

      Why can’t you trade him and still go for it?

  21. @Steve Mancuso: You’ve left out that with Bautista they’d be facing exactly the same problem in 2015 that they face with Votto in 2013. OK, maybe slightly better, as he’s older. (I use the word “better” rather loosely here.)

    In any case, you get two more years with Bautista, but you also get more risk that he won’t put up the production. So it’s a tradeoff. But if the Reds really can’t pay Votto (or Bautista, for that matter, when his contract is up), then you have a permanent problem, unless you think it’s possible to continually make a Votto for Bautista type of deal every 2 years (and really, if they could make that deal, it’s really kind of a special case/Canadian thing). Therefore, it’s not unreasonable to try to win the World Series while you have Votto, and then, essentially, take the hit in 2014.

  22. As I said yesterday, if they are in for Phillips, I doubt that Votto is going anywhere either unless it would be a Bautista type coming back in return; and as soon as he arrived there would be folks saying they can’t really afford the $14M for him and pointing out what he might bring if they turned right around and traded him. Frugality is not a virtue by default.

    The reality is that teams can afford whomever the the ownership decides to dig deep and pay for. That is more true than ever for the Reds who now have a consolidated ownership instead of that crazy “general partner share” arrangement where a person could have held a substantial majority of the team but still be held hostage by the other partners in issues involving capital valuation.

    Also, tomorrow never comes; so don’t spend too much time or effort trying to figure what is going to be beyond next year or the year after at the longest.

    Go all in and deal with 2013 and beyond when they get here.

  23. Wow, you guys really took of with this, that’s great (I can’t respond to comments from work). The only thing I would add to what everyone has to say (and this is largely a response to Steve) is that Votto is vital if the Reds DO want to win over the next several years. He’s a tremendous value and trading him for almost anyone other than Bautista says you are shifting in to rebuilding mode. And I just am not convinced Bautista will keep this up indefinitely. His career is too odd and he scares me. That’s purely a personal opinion, but I’d never trade Votto for Bautista.

  24. @dn4192:
    Why can’t you trade him and still go for it?

    Because top five players in the game don’t come around that often; and, the chances of actually winning it all are almost certainly better with one of them one your side than without.

    It was no coincidence that the BRM had all those Hall of Famers. Or, that the 1990 team had one who will be HOF (Larkin), one who might be HOF (O’Neill) and two more who likely would have been very seriously looked at for the Hall had their health not failed them (Davis, Rijo)

    • @OhioJim
      :Why can’t you trade him and still go for it? Because top five players in the game don’t come around that often; and, the chances of actually winning it all are almost certainly better with one of them one your side than without. It was no coincidence that the BRM had all those Hall of Famers. Or, that the 1990 team had one who will be HOF (Larkin), one who might be HOF (O’Neill) and two more who likely would have been very seriously looked at for the Hall had their health not failed them (Davis, Rijo)

      But when you know he won’t be here long term, I would rather deal him, get some major league talent over draft picks.

  25. Yo definitely don’t trade an MVP caliber player unless you can get an Edinson Volquez in return. 🙂

  26. I agree with Linden 100 percent. Votto’s work eithic and performance merit keeping him as he is very much Big Red Machine / Hall of Fame material. Too many folks want to trade someone like Votto for minor league prospects. Remember minor league prospects are unproven. We have already seen Jocketty “hold on to his minor league prizes” (so, he thinks) through least winter and through this season while never plugging up the holes on this team and thus we are religated to figuring out next year. If Jocketty had gotten off his “rear” and acted like a GM we could be in the wild card hunt right now. He did absolutely nothing to improve this team. If this were grade school, he would merit a grade of “F” for his perfromance.:D

  27. @Tom Diesman: Ouch.

    I am also of the camp that Votto is not on the market except to the Jays and Jose Bautista. Even then, if we throw in something else b/c of his favorable contract, I think we are the losers on that trade.

    A power hitting righty in GABP has become an endangered species for this team.

  28. Jason, you make a good arguement about Alonso possibly not being able to replicate Votto’s major league numbers due to his minor league stats… what about a comparison of Votto’s minor leagaue numbers vs. Alonso’s? Wouldn’t that be more apples to apples?

  29. @zblakey: Not necessarily. Votto was the exception to the rule. He’s a special player and I don’t think anyone really saw this coming. Assuming the Reds had another exception to the rule coming through the minors would be a mistake. Or, more clearly, it makes more sense to compare Alonso to what all players do when moving from the minors to the majors than to compare him to one player (Votto) who happened to buck the trend.

  30. @dn4192: The thing is we don’t KNOW that. A lot of people have made assumptions while ignoring the man with the enormous wallet who has said Votto will be here for a long time. Bruce, who is supposedly rather close with Votto, has also said Votto doesn’t want to leave.

    In the end, though, the fact is that if you want to win, you do not trade potential Hall of Famers in their primes.

    • @Jason Linden
      : The thing is we don’t KNOW that. A lot of people have made assumptions while ignoring the man with the enormous wallet who has said Votto will be here for a long time. Bruce, who is supposedly rather close with Votto, has also said Votto doesn’t want to leave.In the end, though, the fact is that if you want to win, you do not trade potential Hall of Famers in their primes.

      to me if Votto wanted to be here long term the deal would be done already and at the latest will be done after both Fielder and Albert are signed. If we start next year with Votto still not signed…he is not going to be here long term.

  31. @Jason Linden: Even with that, Votto’s minor league numbers are more impressive than Alonso’s. They didn’t project to superstar, true.

  32. I’m on record as saying the Reds shouldn’t trade a Hall of Famer with an excellent contract in his prime. If Votto goes free agent after 2013, then he goes free agent. So what? The Reds will get a draft pick or whatever the CBA then provides, plus they will then have the $25mm/year that they don’t pay Votto, to use for other players. It is incorrect that they would get “nothing” if he leaves; they get the money that they don’t have to pay him.

    And you simply cannot overstate the public relations disaster trading him would be. I usually think that the PR angle is nonsense, but it wouldn’t be here. Good luck explaining projected VORP in 2014-2016 to 11-year-old boys with Joey Votto posters on their walls.

    If you could get Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp and the Dodgers’ 5 best prospects, with the Dodgers paying half their salaries, OK, but there isn’t a deal out there like that.

  33. I am fine with either keeping him and trying to win now or dealing him and getting as many prospects as possible. What I’m afraid (can envision Walt and Bob doing) of is them keeping Votto, not doing anything to improve the team for the next 2 years, and then losing Votto for nothing.

    If they are truly committed to winning then go for it. If not, then sell high. Just please choose one.

  34. Some other things you should consider before deluding yourselves that Alonso can easily replace Votto:

    —-It is very rare these days that you ever see a star-for-star trade. Looking at a trade of Votto for Bautista, it’s barely a break-even trade for the Blue Jays and it does even less for the Reds. The Blue Jays remain a small market team in a division with two teams that will perpetually outspend them (Red Sox and Yankees) and a third team that is just plain better at player development (Rays). The most the Blue Jays would get out of this is another 7 games ahead of the Orioles. In order for the trade to really benefit the Blue Jays, they would likely ask for one or two Major League ready prospects, for wich they will offer a veteran reliever or bench player.
    And what will the Reds get? Bautista, an older player who has only very suddenly become a power-hitting phenom. His play level will taper off well before Votto’s ever does.
    The Reds have not developed a player of Votto’s caliber in decades. There have been some very good players come up in the last 25 years, of course. Reggie Sanders is probably the best of the very good. But there has only been one Hall-of-Fame player: Barry Larkin. Joey Votto has the best chance (barring disaster {go to nearest forest and knock on evry bit of wood you can find}) of any other player to be the next Hall-of-Famer since Larkin.

    —-Often, trades create an entirely different kind of game that almost mirrors that on the field. Teams in a trade are just as likely to want to try to “win” the trade. For example, the Rangers have essentially won the Hamilton-for-Volquez and Herrera trade: Volquez has diminished, Herrera has been passed along to two other teams, but Hamilton is still starring for the Rangers.
    Supposing the idea of star-for-prospects is the rule, Alonso would be packaged with other players in order for the Reds to get the top-shelf pitcher they need. Suppose then that the Reds put Alonso, Francisco and Wood up for grabs. What do you think they would get from the Yankees (for example)?
    In our dreams, Phil Hughes.
    In reality, AJ Burnett.
    Sounds bad. But you never know, maybe Burnett would do better in the NL, like he did with the Marlins.
    Meanwhile, given a full season, Alonso might turn out to be merely average. He hits alright, but his fielding and running are merely adequate. In other words, he’s a DH. If you are a DH and are merely average, you will not have a terribly long or noteworthy career.
    This is just a round about way of saying trading Alonso now is a better risk over all because they would be trading only the possibilities of what Alonso (and any other prospect in the deal) could potentially be in exchange for an established player whose benefits and disadvantages are already known.

  35. Pingback: Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Votto, Young, Buehrle | Forex News

  36. Hi, i am from Toronto, and i would just like to say, a Jose Bautista for Joey Votto trade would not happen in Toronto. Toronto, would be very interested to acquire Joey Votto, for obvious reasons, top 5 first baseman in all of baseball and from Toronto, so if we were to inquire it would definetly be for Propects. Lind (can play LF). but more realistically it would include players like Henderson Alverz (stud pitcher), Kyle Drabek, Travis Sinder or Eric Thames, and a couple other younger but high level ceiling prospects. It would never be Jose for Joey. Secondly, Toronto is not a small market team what so ever, so that wrong, and lastly why the hell would you guys wanna get rid of Votto, add more to help him, would make more sense,

  37. 1) Joey Votto is a great player, but he’s a great player at the one position most easily capable of producing offense in the majors and there are enough questions surrounding defensive WAR that you can’t even say for certain he’s a plus defender, we all agree that he looks good over there, but if you tell me that you have the statistic to prove it, I’ll call b.s. every time. So looking at purely his offensive profile and saying I’m a GM of a small market team, I’d rather acquire a guy like Elvis Andrus for SS and a guy like Chase Headley for 3B, and pay them a combined total of $20MM a year on long-term deals with Alonso at 1B, than keep running out 30-something players well past their expiration, like Renteria and Rolens, in hopes that the 25% chance of making the post-season turns into a World Series title.

    2) You can’t trade Alonso and other prospects for the players needed to compete in 2012 without stripping the cupboard bare and even then it might not be enough to get the level of talent it takes to win it all. Most important you can’t get stars or proven above-average regulars because they cost too much, so you’d have to acquire young talent and hope it matures in the next two years. So you are really assuming that you’ll win in 2013 if you keep Votto, which means stripping the farm system AND not getting anything for Votto. Does anyone really want to bed money on a sub-.500 team making the jump to World Series Champs? The goal is a championship, not to make the playoffs and if you want we can go look how many sub-.500 teams made the jump to World Series Champions since 1977 (expansion era) and I bet the list is short, real short, so let’s realize that we’re talking about keeping Votto in Cincinnati because he’s fun to watch, not because the title is within reach.

    3) Assuming that Alonso stays and plays LF, you are subtracting 1.5-2 WAR from his offense because he’s a butcher in LF and anyone thinking about the hot corner for Yonder is dreaming, it would be like sticking grandma out there with an oven mitt. Now you have to subtract the ill-effects of Alonso’s ‘D’ in LF from the WAR of Votto. Essentially, if Alonso is a 3 WAR player at 1B, he’s a 1.5 WAR player in LF (being generous). If Votto wasn’t around, Alonso would be worth 1.5 WAR more due to positioning, so Alonso in LF makes Votto a 5.5 WAR player because you have to consider roster construction, that’s the whole point of this right?

    4) Votto will be a Red for 0, 1, or 3+ years. He will NOT reach free agency as a Red in 2013. If he’s a Red in 2013, the return at the deadline or the compensation draft picks will be a crapshoot at best. If the Reds wait until after this offseason Votto’s value goes down substantially. Think of it like a GM from another team. You can pay a 29 year old Votto $17MM for one season, trade 3-4 of your top prospects, and watch him walk after 2013 or you can sign Josh Hamilton or Matt Kemp for equal or less than a Votto extension. You get the same superstar talent as Votto with Hamilton or Kemp without giving up a handful of prospects. So why would any GM offer much of anything for 1 year of an elite player getting paid close to his true value? Look at what San Diego got for Adrian Gonzalez: a player similar to Alonso, a pontential #3 SP, a utility infielder, and a 4th OF or at best league average CF. That was with Gonzalez making over $10MM less for the final season of his existing contract. Before he was going to bring them the top 4 or 5 players in the Red Sox farm system for 2 seasons of A-Gon making peanuts. They got 2 of those 4-5 players the following year when the trade was actually made for 1 year of A-Gon making peanuts. Also realize that after this offseason, two teams looking for an answer at 1B will have a long term solution in place, so that’s two less bidders a year from now.

    5) I agree that Votto is a generational player, but elite players are easier to acquire through trade than through draft. It’s easier to judge the abilities of minor leaguers in AA or AAA and MLB players still in their pre-arbitration years, than it is to project high school and college players. That being said, let’s look at potential return that the Reds could get for Votto. I’ll use Texas as an example. They could probably get: Nelson Cruz (3-4 WAR RH power hitter for LF), Elvis Andrus (4.2 WAR in ’11 – #2 hitter w/ 50+ SB potential), Martin Perez (potential 5 WAR – LH #1 starter potential), Julio Borbon (3-4 WAR CF/leadoff hitter w/ 50+ SB potential). Then you offer Drew Stubbs to someone for a box of baseballs to make space for Borbon, and you trade Juan Francisco, Todd Frazier, and a couple fringy bullpen arms to S.D. for Headley (he’d probably hit 15-20 HRs in comfy G.A. Ballpark to go with his 40+ 2B). Keep Rolen around to platoon with Yonder against tough lefties, to back-up Headley, and to pinch hit. That’s a far better OVERALL team than one with Rolen/Frazier at 3B, Stubbs in CF, Heisey/Alonso in LF, and Votto at 1B.

    6) Votto is going to sign with the Blue Jays as a free agent, I would bet almost everything on it. He’s going to want to be close to his mom since his dad died a couple years ago and he grew up a Blue Jay fan. Not only that, the Blue Jays need more fans at the park and Canadian players make that happen. Banking on an extension is crazy speculation which will just lead to disappointment. Even if Votto doesn’t end up in Toronto, he won’t stay in Cincinnati. Look at the problem that the Cardinals are having with trying to keep Pujols, that’s with a $110-120MM payroll on the horizon and 3.3MM fans every year. Cincinnati would be lucky to pull in that number of fans in a three year stretch. The money isn’t there for an extension. It’s just not.

    7) For the people pointing to the Brewers, they may or may not get their championship, but they won’t be competing again for 5-10 years because they traded all of their good prospects and even some of their bad ones to field their current team and their team was better than the 2011 Reds before they added Greinke and Marcum. They have Mat Gamel waiting to take over 1B (not sure he’ll do much), so they shouldn’t step back too much (in theory) with the loss of Fielder, however the Reds won’t have that player in two years because Alonso will be 4 short years from arbitration, which means two more years of Yonder and then trading away two of his control years for more young talent. It’s how small market teams have to work. They can only keep the stars that are willing to take a discount. Votto isn’t going to take a discount and Phillips is gone after 2012 because he’s not getting a $12-14MM a year extension. It’s not going to happen. He’s just keeping the keystone corner hot for Billy Hamilton or some free agent signee. As for the Brewers, they’re going to probably trade a large portion of their roster after this season to rebuild the system. I would bank on Greinke, Marcum, and Hart being traded with Weeks a possibility. That’s like in two years trading Bruce, Volquez, Cueto, and maybe Phillips if he signed for a 3-4 year extension. Are you willing to strip the team down after 2013 and watch a pile of crap for 5-10 years while they rebuild a farm system and then the roster? It takes on average 4-6 years to rebuild, but if you are willing to trade Votto, competing in 2012 and winning it all in 2013 or 2014 is very possible.

    My hypothetical trade lineup:

    Borbon CF (L)
    Andrus SS (R)
    Headley 3B (L)
    Phillips 2B (R)
    Bruce RF (L)
    Cruz LF (R)
    Alonso 1B (L)
    Mesoraco C (R)

    Cueto RH
    Perez LH
    Leake RH
    Bailey RH
    Volquez RH

    This is an 85 win team next year and a 90+ win team going forward and with the strong latin presence, it wouldn’t surprise me if they could sign Cruz to a long term deal including his last two seasons of arb. and two years of free agency. Probably something south of $35MM. Gives the Reds a lot of time to rebuild the farm system and after next year Hamilton can replace Phillips at 2B or maybe Cozart can hang in their for half a season.

    I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT see a way that the Reds win a championship in the next two years with or without Votto and if they do it’s in year 2013 with a Votto trade taking place. A side note: Nobody is taking Cordero’s contract and whatever they save on his contract in 2013 won’t matter because it will go to arb. cases and pay raises for long term deals. If you want to see a championship you are going to have to come to terms with the fact that Votto doesn’t make this a championship team and getting 4-5 pieces for him makes a lot more sense. They might even be able to convince Texas to add David Murphy to the deal for a low level bullpen arm or two. He’d make a great 4th outfielder and could really push Borbon and Cruz. He’s also pretty good friends with Bruce and might make things easier on the other star hitter for the Reds when a Votto deal happens. If the Reds wanted to keep Votto and make a run at a championship, they shouldn’t have given the $12MM a year extension to a soft tossing RH in a hitters ballpark. All they’ve done with Jocketty there is create more problems, not less. He’s a master at draining farm systems and currently they have 1/3 of their payroll tied up in Aroyo and Cordero. So good luck trying to keep up with the Cardinals and Pirates because they are both going to get face-lifts and I wouldn’t put it past the Cubs or the Brewers to get into the conversation as well. The Reds as they stand are the 3rd or 4th best team in the NL Central going into 2012 and they have ZERO $$$$ to spend on getting better.

  38. @MikeC: How do you figure that the Brewers don’t agree with point seven? Please tell me your inside source that says they believe they can keep winning year after year and that has stated they won’t blow up the team to rebuild their farm. WHAT PROOF do you have besides conjecture. I stated mine was conjecture by the tone of my writing. You can’t dispute conjecture with more conjecture, all you can do is say you disagree.

    Did I ever say they didn’t have solid pitching? What about the Mariners and their awesome rotation that was buried almost 20 games under .500 and they were one of the best staffs in baseball. What about the Giants who have one of the top two (Phillies being the other) rotations in baseball, where will they be in October? So what if the Brewers have “solid pitching.” Gallardo is no better than Cueto, Marcum is equal to Leake, Wolf and Bailey are pretty comprable in terms of efficiency, and Narveson is similar to Arroyo. If Volquez comes back 100% from the injury next year (takes two full seasons to bounce completely back from T.J. surgery), than he’s comprable to Greinke. At the end of the day, it’s not just about the pitching staff, you also have to account for what the other teams look like. If you tell me that the Brewers offense is equal to the Phillies offense without Fielder, than I’m going to ask you to explain with stats, quotes, and links. Simply put the Brewers have nobody in their system with the upside of Domonic Brown to slap in the lineup and he’s a clear upgrade over Ibanez next year. While the Brewers will be taking a step back from Fielder to Gamel. Not to meantion that if they do sign Fielder, they’ll have to trade some of their pitching because they’ll be over $100MM on their payroll. It’s just not realistic in any way, shape, or form to believe the Brewers are anythin more than an 80-85 win teams that would need a hold lot to break their way to sneak into the playoffs and at best their a wildcard team going forward for the better part of this decade.

    As for the Reds, they have Francisco, Frazier (starting 3B next year unless a trade takes place), Mesoraco (starting C next year), Grandal, Hamilton (future 2B replacement for Phillips) and a whole bunch of projectible talent with not a lot of results in the stat column. Most of their top picks are already on the team and Leake looks like a #3 or #4 starter, Stubbs is close to getting the boot, Grandal and Alonso are both blocked, and that’s 4 of the last 1st round picks for the team, there’s no top talent on the horizon to save the Reds and put them over the top midseason. Whatever they get this offseason is going to have to be enough to get them through the whole season if they aim to compete in 2012 and there’s just not enough there to have much hope that they can do it. Especially when they’re paying Arroyo, Cordero, Phillips, Rolen, and Votto over 60% of the payroll with less than $35MM to be shared among 20 other guys on the active roster and 15 guys on the expanded roster and that’s AFTER they bump up the payroll. Where are you getting the money to improve the rotation? Where are you getting the money to fill in the wholes at CF, SS, and 3B? EVEN IF YOU THINK Heisey could be the answer in LF, you still have two spots in the rotation to fill, three spots in the lineup, or you aren’t even lookin at an 85 win team next year, let alone making the playoffs. I doubt very seriously that the Reds can magically get other teams to eat their bad contracts. One option might be taking on another bad contract just to save a few dollars… For instance trading Arroyo for Figins, even though Figgins looks horrible, he’d create some extra wiggle room and allow the Reds to improve the rotation. Possibly they could move Cordero and eat part of his salary, but the easiest move is to write off 2012 as a lost cause, trade Votto and Phillips in their prime for some nice pieces and rebuild on the fly. Doing it this way would cut the rebuild time in half and make it 2-3 years for a championship caliber team. You can debate me all you want to, but my knowledge comes from a lot of reading people, smarter than you or I, talk about rebuilding and long term projection. I wouldn’t even trade for Votto now as a rival GM unless I got a window to negotiate an extension because the talent that would go to the Reds could be franchise crippling for Votto’s new team if he walks in two years. So keeping that in mind, why wouldn’t you want a great return like that?

  39. that would need a hold lot to break their way to sneak into the playoffs and at best their a wildcard team = that would need a whole lot to break their way to sneak into the playoffs and at best they’re a wildcard team

  40. @Baseball101:

    My comment was not based upon conjecture. It was based upon the Brewers GM statements in the article that I had a link to in my comment.

  41. To reply to your comment (I’ve been out of the country for a couple weeks)… Here’s the all important quote from Melvin the GM of the Brewers “The window can still be open. The thing is, how far is it open?” That doesn’t sound very confident at all… Sounds like a GM trying to sell hope to his fans. The reality is that losing 5 WAR from Fielder walking and getting at best a couple 1st rounders is not going to rebuild their desimated farm system. In addition, the door is open just means they can contend… I said that, but I said that contending would be an 80-85 win team and searching for a wild card. Also he even questions for how long, and why? Because his closer is 29, his 2B is 29, his star LF has 3-4 more great seasons before decline starts, his RF is getting paid market value to be a 3 WAR player, and their CF is a guy who can’t hit and a guy with no plate discipline with an artificially high OBP due to HBPs, any regression at all in either his average and/or his HBP total and Nyjer Morgan is a .320 OBP at best. That’s not a star and his defense is marginal, without his speed (and he’s getting old too, so that’s soon to regress some), his routes and catching ability still only make him average at defense NOW. Third base is a hole, SS is a problem, and Lucroy could take a step forward or a step back, he’s no sure thing. Any veteran they get will be a .100-.200 OPS drop from the average Fielder season if they don’t bring him back. On top of that, 3 of their starters won’t be back after 2012 and another one wouldn’t be a rotation candidate for almost any other playoff caliber team (Navelson). I’ll also point out that the suporting cast in Milwaukee is still better than the supporting cast for Votto, so the falloff could be even greater for the Reds in two years and they still aren’t even close to the Brewers 2009 or 2010 team in terms of talent. With Theo Epstein all but on his way to Chicago, the Pirates rebuilding the right way, and St. Louis loaded with top tier talent, there is a lot of ground for the Reds to make up with an $85MM payroll and about $5MM to spend this offseason. You can paint whatever picture you want but if the Reds don’t win with Votto and they don’t trade him, I guarantee they don’t win another World Series until 2020 or later. I PROMISE YOU, that is a very realistic perdiction. If the Reds don’t add a .900 OPS player this offseason, there’s no reason to bring back Votto, even if the rest of the guys play to their potential.

    One thing to remember is that the GM isn’t going to say his team won’t compete for anything more than a wildcard for the next 8 years, it would bother the players, the fans, and probably piss off Selig that he’s openly admitting that he’s pulling a Marlins one and done playoff run. Quote Doug Melvin all you want, but I think what I’ve said and what he said clearly illustrates that the team is due to regress and that he’s going to milk this playoff run for all the future fan support when he keeps deploying 80-85 win teams “in the hope of competing.” Be honest with yourself, are you hoping the Reds win a championship with a bunch of #2 and back end starters along with a couple .800 OPS players surrounding Votto in the middle of the order, or do you actually believe it’s possible? You currently have the 7th best rotation (Phillies, Giants, Braves, D-Backs, Cardinals, Padres, and maybe Milwaukee are all better) in the league, at best. You currently have the 5th best lineup (Cardinals, Phillies, Rockies, and depending on their offseasons Marlins, Dodgers, D-Backs, and Braves could all figure to be better), at best. Those are best case scenarios. That’s a #3 or #4 playoff team at best and won’t get you to the World Series let alone the NLCS in all likelihood. Short of dumping payroll and signing Reyes for SS and trading for a Chase Headley type at 3B, or a major breakout for one of the farm hands, I can’t see the Reds becoming a real WS contender, sure they might sneak back into the playoffs, but 2010 was as much luck as it was anything else. Don’t let what they did in 2010 fool you into believing that they can replicate that season, a lot went right then and probably you won’t have the current guys playing to that level again at the same time, some guys are going to have McGehee seasons and like I said, you don’t have the MOTO to overcome that.

Comments are closed.