Our buddy David Schoenfield over at the SweetSpot blog has this piece about why the Reds should hang on to Joey Votto. I agree with every single word. Especially these words:

Plus, there’s this scenario: If the goal is to trade Votto and hope you get lucky that one of the prospects develops into a star, wouldn’t the Reds just end up facing the same scenario? The odds that you acquire three prospects, each of whom develops into a good player before he starts making big money, is extremely slim. Among other reasons, if those prospects were sure things, they wouldn’t be getting traded.

So if I’m the Reds, I keep Votto. I do what the Brewers did in 2011 with Prince Fielder and the Rays in 2010 with Carl Crawford. Those clubs kept their impending free agents and won division titles. You need stars to win pennants. Joey Votto is the Reds’ star.

Indeed.

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 28 Comments

  1. Yup. Not much to add. This is pretty close to what I said in a post here a while back. It would be foolish to trade Votto right now unless the Reds were just knocked over by an offer from another team.

  2. Amen.

  3. 100% agree.

  4. They need to lock him up for longer then.
    The window is too narrow and they’re too far away in terms of pitching and other holes in the offense, if they don’t extend his contract.

  5. @Jason Linden: An exception would be a trade like one for Bautista. I’m not in favor of such a deal, mind you, but that deal isn’t Votto for prospects.

    • @Jason Linden: An exception would be a trade like one for Bautista.I’m not in favor of such a deal, mind you, but that deal isn’t Votto for prospects.

      Exactly, any deal moving Votto that doesn’t bring back a player whose proven value can be mentioned in the same breath as Joey’s with that player also fitting an identified Reds need is a salary dump no matter how it is pitched and spun.

  6. @Myles: They can’t lock him up for longer. He won’t sign.

    And I don’t think what you say is really the case (re: too far away). They simply need to supplement around him by trading other valuable young pieces to get players that can help within his narrow window—just like the Brewers did. Meanwhile, they need to be building from within for Votto’s likely eventual departure. This is how the Rays handle things.

    If the Reds were able to make the Shields for Alonso/Grandal deal, things would look a lot different. Shields would make a huge difference on this team.

  7. Perhaps one of the keys to retaining Joey Votto beyond his current contract is winning.

  8. Whichever path the front office chooses, just simply commit to it. Go get Shields. Go get Reyes. Go get CJ Wilson. Go Get Cespedes (sp?). Just show some initiative and excite the fan base. The only way to get money out of a business is to put money into it to be more successful. I’m so tired of hearing them say we want to win now, but sign Renteria and Fred Lewis and expect that to put them over the top.

    And now, all we hear is Josh Willingham would be a good Left Field option. What can he give that Chris Heisey cant given a full season without being jerked out of the lineup every other day.

    The Brewers went for it. They got 2 front of the rotation pitchers and it almost paid off. Just please quit insulting the fan base by doing nothing. If the front office wants to hold on Votto then great. Go get him protection in the 4 hole. Find an adequate leadoff hitter. Go trade for an ace. If they are willing to dish out 12 mil a year to a friggin closer and and a 13 mil extension to Arroyo, they CAN get another superstar.

    Just pick a path and stick to it. Quit half assing both options and be decisive.

    (Had to vent a little, but this team is so close to being good it is frustrating to see the front office be indecisive. But everyone on here already knew that.)

  9. Sorry, but I disagree folks. The Reds are not as close to contending as you may think. The problem starts and stops with the rotation. Aside from Cueto and Leake, there isn’t a whole lot to like.

    Whenever the rotation comes up, I read a lot of people writing phrases like “bounce back” or “return to form” or “finally figures it out” etc. To me, that spells trouble. That’s what we have in Arroyo, Wood, Volquez and Bailey. I do think you get a fifth starter out of those four, but nothing else.

    The rotation needs a Cueto type or better and a solid no. 3. They need to be pitchers who are under control for the next four years like Gio Gonzalez, Tommy Hanson, and the like.

    I’m not going to come up with crazy trade scenarios based upon pure conjecture, but the only way you are going to get a young staff ace is to trade a Votto. You don’t get a young staff ace trading Alonso with Grandal and whatever other junk you try to throw in because we fans over value our own prospects like Sappelt, Heisey, etc.

    I’d trade Votto. I’d trade Phillips. I’d trade Chapman. Those are the three guys that could bring back the young pitching we need. When you go for broke, you often just end up broke.

    • Whenever the rotation comes up, I read a lot of people writing phrases like “bounce back” or “return to form” or “finally figures it out” etc. To me, that spells trouble. That’s what we have in Arroyo, Wood, Volquez and Bailey. The rotation needs a Cueto type or better and a solid no. 3. They need to be pitchers who are under control for the next four years like Gio Gonzalez, Tommy Hanson, and the like..I’d trade Votto. I’d trade Phillips. I’d trade Chapman. Those are the three guys that could bring back the young pitching we need. When you go for broke, you often just end up broke.

      I agree with most of this, but I think Chapman can pretty easily be that young #3 under control for a long time, so I don’t see why you would think about trading him. And he could be the Cueto type or better.

  10. I have no issue with trading Votto, problem is Reds won’t do it for 1 reason. PR nightmare and no way the Reds move him or Phillips or any “big” name player, just won’t happen.

  11. Who came up with the idea of trading Votto for prospects? That makes no sense. We have him for two more years. If the Marlins can possibly sign Pujols, can’t we extend Votto. If he doesn’t want to stay here, then trade him in 2013 for established players. In the meantime, let’s use the money from Cordero and the well stocked farm system to get a #1 starting pitcher and a righthanded cleanup hitter in front of Votto. The Reds just can’t afford to stand still.

  12. @David: The problem with that is you’re giving up more than ten wins by trading those players. So, unless you get more than ten wins back, you end up with a worse club overall.

    As for your thoughts on the rotation. I actually think Wood is totally serviceable as a #4 and Bailey/Arroyo/Volquez work as #5s.

    Challenge trades (here’s my big league player for yours) don’t really happen much. It tends to be established players traded for prospects.

    • @David: The problem with that is you’re giving up more than ten wins by trading those players. So, unless you get more than ten wins back, you end up with a worse club overall.

      here’s the problem with that math (focusing on phillips and votto). together they put up 12.9 WAR, which is a lot, but the guys projected to replace them (alonso and frazier) were on pace to put up 8.3.

      so if that’s how they performed, you’d only need to replace 4.6 wins. then you have to consider what pitchers you’d be replacing. if it was arroyo and volquez, they had -1.7 WAR, so really you’d only need to replace 2.9 wins with who you got back, if you were trying to break even.

      what that means is if you could get a james shields and an edwin jackson type in return (8.7 WAR) you’d probably be improving the club by about 5 wins overall. that’s why you trade from a strength to fill a weakness.

  13. Looks like the dodgers are going to give Matt Kemp a 8 year 160 million dollar deal. With Prince and Albert still yet to be signed I think the chances of the Reds keeping Votto after his present deal ends is becoming less and less and in my view will push them to dealing votto instead of losing him to FA.

    • I have no issue with trading Votto, problem is Reds won’t do it for 1 reason.PR nightmare and no way the Reds move him or Phillips or any “big” name player, just won’t happen.

      Looks like the dodgers are going to give Matt Kemp a 8 year 160 million dollar deal. With Prince and Albert still yet to be signed I think the chances of the Reds keeping Votto after his present deal ends is becoming less and less and in my view will push them to dealing votto instead of losing him to FA.

      So which is it? Did the Kemp deal suddenly blow ther PR nightmare out of the water?

  14. what i keep coming back to over and over is the arroyo contract. that really is the type of contract that can kill a mid-market club.

    he was the worst starter in baseball last year and he’s way too old to hope that he’s going to ever be good again. he may be better than he was, but he’ll never be good again.

    when the free agent pitchers start signing this offseason, think about how different the reds would look next year if instead of arroyo throwing every 5 days, they had gone shopping with $13mil.

    • what i keep coming back to over and over is the arroyo contract. that really is the type of contract that can kill a mid-market club. he was the worst starter in baseball last year and he’s way too old to hope that he’s going to ever be good again. he may be better than he was, but he’ll never be good again. when the free agent pitchers start signing this offseason, think about how different the reds would look next year if instead of arroyo throwing every 5 days, they had gone shopping with $13mil.

      I guess it comes down to what you consider good and value Bronson at. For me if he can still eat around 200+ innings and come in with an ERA around 4ish then I am happy and feel he is worth it.

  15. @dn4192: i’d be great with that too, i just think there’s as good a chance of that happening as there is of drew stubbs hitting 35 HR. could it happen? yes. would it be great? yes. will it? no.

    look at his WAR totals since he’s come to the reds. 5.8, 3.4, 1.7, 2.2, 2.1, -.5

    those are his age 29-34 seasons. basically, at 35 and 36, we need him to turn into his 30 year old self again to earn what we’re paying him.

  16. If he was a fireball strike out pitcher I would probably be concerned, but as we have seen with other pitchers of his style, they can pitch and pitch effectivly as they get older over fireball pitchers.

  17. @al: I don’t buy that, overall, though. We’re talking about really small samples for Alonso and Frazier. I’ve gone on record saying that I think Alonso figures to be a bit above average (2.5-3WAR). I think Frazier also figures to be about average (2 WAR) if you give him a full season.

    You’re also assuming Arroyo and Volquez are both in the rotation and both perform as poorly as they did last year. I don’t think either of those is a safe bet. If you asked me right now, I would say Arroyo is the only one in the rotation unless Volquez really shows them something. I’d also bet on Arroyo being worth something. Maybe a win over the course of the season (given his illness, I think it’s foolish to assume he won’t bounce back some).

    So right now, I’m giving you maybe 5 wins on Alonso and Frazier and I’m saying Arroyo/Volquez = 1 WAR. Now, all of a sudden, you need 7.9 WAR to break even.

    It’s also worth noting that the teams with pitching to trade, probably aren’t trading for Votto. The Rays, for instance, are looking for very low cost players, and Votto and Phillips don’t fit that profile nearly as well as Alonso/Grandal/Leake/Wood.

    I still say, at the end of the day, it is much more common to trade several very young player/highly regard prospects for one or two big names. Than to trade one big name for another.

  18. @David:

    If you trade Votto and Phillips, what would be the point of having a pitching staff?

  19. @al: Chapman may have the talent, but if he’s not pitching more than 110-150 innings over the next four years, then he really isn’t a No. 3 is he?

  20. Times, they are a’changing.

    The Reds were so bad for so long that we got into the whole prospect-dreaming trap. It was the only thing that gave us hope during those dark days (I shutter to remember). But now is the time to be bold. Keep Votto, keep your prospects and KIDNAP a pitcher! That’s how I stand.

  21. @Matt WI:

    It’s going to be a PR nightmare to deal Votto, which is why in the end I don’t see the Reds doing it, but the Kemp deal also now basically means you are looking at 20+ million per year for Votto and with the contract Phillips is going to get from the Reds I just don’t see how it will be done and we will lose Votto to FA.

  22. @David: he should be able to pitch 140, 170, 200, 200+ over the next 4 years, so i think he can be what we need out of a 3rd starter.

  23. Perhaps my kidnapping statement was a bit insensitive with recent events. My bad everyone.

Comments are closed.

About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

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