Lots and lots and lots of news out of Redsland today. We’re going to have some interesting posts for you over the next several days, especially once we hear the particulars of the Votto deal.

Maybe I’m crazy, but I feel like everything we’ve heard from the Reds over the last few days signals a change in direction that we can all be very happy with. Consider the following items:

1. Juan Francisco is traded, seemingly upgrading Todd Frazier to Rolen’s caddy and heir-apparent.

2. The Reds decide to carry only 11 pitchers.

3. Aroldis Chapman will start the season in the bullpen, but even Baker’s comments indicate that this is a temporary measure while Bray gets ready.

4. Joey Votto has a long term contract extension almost complete.

The Reds were always too high on Francisco, but this year, they seemed finally willing to acknowledge that he doesn’t have a place on the team. Frazier will get his at bats and there is now a much smaller risk that third turns into a disaster position for the Reds.

In recent years, the 12th pitcher has almost never been used. However, there have been a number of times when they could have used another man off the bench.

The organization also seems to fully realize that Chapman’s future should be as a starter. This is the only item of the four where there might be some debate, but given Baker’s quotes about Chapman starting and the recent bullpen damage, I am going to choose to believe them and predict that Chapman will start games for the Reds at some point this year.

And then there’s Votto. This contract, however it is structured, indicates that the Reds want more than a two year window. The Reds now have Votto, Cueto, Bruce, Leake, Marshall, Cozart, Mesoraco, and Latos under control until at least 2015. That’s a pretty solid core right there even if the two rookies don’t perform.

I have been following the Reds my entire life and I haven’t been this happy with the organization since I was kid. We’ll see if they continue to make the right decisions, but I find myself very optimistic.

18 Responses

  1. PeterNincompoop

    Votto has to be one of the lower risk, high reward superstar hitters in baseball and I’m ecstatic it’s the Reds that are going to be the team to pay for his services thru his prime years. It’ll be interesting to see how they approach a Phillips extension now. He would likely never live up to his annual salary towards the tale end of his deal if offered one. Luckily, the Reds have depth in the minors at the middle infield positions.

    It’s also encouraging to hear Baker acknowledge Chapman’s future as a starter. The roster decisions that will have to be made once the opportunity presents itself for Chapman to start, those will be telling of what the organization has in mind.

  2. al

    On a day where we may be reading about a Votto extension, it’s hard to feel bad about anything in Redsland.

    That said, I think this post maybe goes a little overboard looking for the bright side.

    First, I think the Juan Francisco trade was the type of thing you see all over baseball at this time. A player out of options traded for a prospect.

    Francisco wasn’t going to be a disaster, I don’t know where you got that. He’s got a .781 OPS in the majors and an .819 OPS in the minors, and his defense has come a long way. I like that we got a decent pitcher for him, but it’s not like the Braves are crying about this trade.

    Second, Dusty has said that they may call up another pitcher by Saturday, and almost certainly by 4/11, so the 11 pitchers thing isn’t a change in direction either. They do this every year also. They delay the decision on the last bench guy until they absolutely need the 12th pitcher.

    Which brings up the fact that it is still likely that Frazier goes down, and not going to play the role you define here.

    Finally, Chapman to the pen is a bad decision, and it doesn’t matter how Dusty qualifies it. He has been the best starter we have in spring, and he had a 9/1 k/bb ratio. having him pitching out of the pen is a continuation of misguided management.

    But there is Votto. So it’s a good day, but only for one reason really.

  3. David

    Here’s what I don’t like about an extension. Votto is 28. If the deal is a total of 10 years for a total of $200 million (8 year 173.5 million extension) as Heyman hears, Votto will be bringing in $20 million plus as a 38 year old. This is a deal that Reds fans will love until about 2017. Then, Votto’s contract will start looking a lot like Todd Helton’s.

    I am as eager to add Hamilton, Didi and Corcino to the Votto, Bruce, Cueto, Latos, core as I am Cozart and Meso.

  4. corfy

    I will add one little thing… on your list of players the Reds have control of at least through 2015, you neglected to mention Chapman. That makes a nice core of nine players (more than a third of the team) for the next four years.

  5. dn4192

    Given how baseball contracts continue to grow..you have to wonder in 7-9 years how many players will be making 10+ million per year? By the time Joey’s is done it may be small peanuts compared to what other players are making…

  6. jkbetz07

    This is such great and unexpected news! To me, Votto is the one truly irreplaceable position player on the Reds. Having an anchor like him in the middle of your lineup is so important and makes this offense and team infinitely better.

    I know people are talking about how BP is going to be pissed, but I think this was absolutely the right direction for the team to spend their money. Phillips, who I truly love as a player/franchise face/etc., simply would not be a good long-term investment for a team with limited financial resources. Last year he was a 6-WAR player, the best of his career, but he has more typically been in the 3-5 range with much of the value tied to his defense. I think with the depth of good prospects at the MI (HRod, DiDi, Hamilton), we would have been paying about 60+ million over the length of a new contract that we would have been nearly able to replace. Votto is the exact opposite. If we weren’t able to sign him to an extension, I think we would have been looking at going from a 7 WAR player to probably replacement level and optimistically 2-3 WAR. I understand people saying BP is going to be pissed, and I can certainly see where he is coming from, but I think that he’s the type of player that will use this as motivation. Hopefully we get one more great season out of Brandon.

    As for Chapman to the pen, as much as I hate to say this, I actually think it was the right move (at least temporarily). While it would have been 100X more exciting to see Aroldis in the rotation, giving up on Homer and Bronson w/o even giving them a chance would have been a mistake IMO. I would say it’s much more likely that one of them succeeds this year than having both fail. Plus, this will help limit Chapman’s innings, which may be a factor down the stretch. Our bullpen is pretty much a mess right now, so AC will be a huge boost there. When Masset and Bray are both back closer to their form, then I think we can look at transitioning Chapman back to the rotation. I would like to see Chapman used in a more unconventional role throwing multiple innings to finish games. For example, Bailey throws 6 solid innings, followed by Chapman coming in to finish the last 3. This will help stretch him out, while also helping to ease Marshall into the closer role. Of course, this would require some out of the box thinking, which our friend Dusty doesn’t seem to like to do.

  7. ATL_Red

    Say what you want about Chapman’s (hopefully) temporary move to the ‘pen, but I think it’s a great move for the time being. It will keep him from eating away at his innings cap early in the season, and hopefully allow him to be fully utilized as a starter during the stretch run in September and into October.

    Also, the Braves fans are really excited about Fransisco. I haven’t had the heart to tell them that he is not the second coming of Chipper Jones.

    • pinson343

      ATL_Red: Say what you want about Chapman’s (hopefully) temporary move to the ‘pen, but I think it’s a great move for the time being.It will keep him from eating away at his innings cap early in the season, and hopefully allow him to be fully utilized as a starter during the stretch run in September and into October.

      I had the same thought. And I believe Dusty’s means it when he says that the Reds still see Chapman’s future as a starter. Usually Dusty’s grouchy about explaining decisions, this time he was almost apologetic.

      And without Madson, Masset, and an effective Bray, the bullpen does need help right now.

  8. dn4192

    So can we stop looking at ourselves as a “small market team” now and now the owner has the money when he wants to spend it.

  9. al

    It’s USA Today and nothing official has been said by the club, so I’m still a little doubtful on the details.

    But, what they are reporting is that it’s 10 years ON TOP of the two he has left. So in total he’d be signed for 12 years $240 mil. With full no-trade.

    That takes him up through his age 40 season.

    As a Reds fan I’m thrilled because this ups the chances that we’ll win a World Series in the next decade by a lot.

    As a baseball analyst, I’m kind of hoping that the earlier reports of 8 years on top of the two he has turn out to be true. I have a hard time believing that he’s going to earn that last $40 mil in his age 39 and 40 seasons.

  10. David

    Wow. So, the Reds agreed to extend Votto an additional 10 years at $225 million? Votto is signed through age 40 and the Reds have committed $260.5 million. That’s absurd.

    I like Votto. He’s an MVP. He’s a great, great player. Now.

    In 2018, Votto is not Votto. He’s a 38 year old. Maybe this is the necessary evil of the extension. Votto probably doesn’t sign long term otherwise, but let’s consider the core we’ve talking about. The Reds would still have been a good team in 2014 without Votto. I fear this deal will resemble Todd Helton’s by 2017 and prohibit the Reds’ ability to keep guys like Cueto, Latos, etc.

  11. Kurt Frost

    Hopefully by 2020 22.5 million will not be that expensive.

  12. hermanbates

    I’ll worry about 2020 in 2018. Maybe Arroyo will finally be off the payroll in 2020?

    We needed to pay the man, and I’m thrilled that we did. Now we have a few years to work with. A TV deal will probably be in the works here, hopefully, soon, and ticket prices should remain relatively high for a decent amount of time. The revenue will work out, the payroll will work out. I’m ready for the season. But as I’ve said, I think another deal is in the works. and I don’t believe it’ll be a contract extension. Some kind of trade.

    April. Fifth. Now. Please.

  13. FAH King

    i feel Walt knows what he is doing … his track record shows this … and we need to support the team and they will have the funds to make this team a contender for a long time … and paying Votto what 22.5 that is 15 mill more a year and with 4 years of 30 or more HR a year this money is worth the value … in Walt i trust …

  14. pinson343

    Castellini and WJ have come thru. This truly is a new era in Reds baseball.

  15. AnnapolisHoosier

    Quote from Keith Law on ESPN.com

    I wouldn’t trust Dusty Baker to manage a convenience store, but he’s got a substantial amount of talent at his disposal this year, enough to win a weakened division where the Cincinnati Reds’ two main rivals lost major offensive cogs this winter.