2016 Reds / 2017 Reds

Report: Joey Votto has not been traded to the Blue Jays

Under the headline “Report: Blue Jays want to know if Reds are trading Votto,” theScore (which is generally a decent outlet) reported this:

The Toronto Blue Jays still appear to have some interest in bringing Joey Votto home.

With the possibility of an opening at first base looming once this season ends, Toronto reportedly told the Cincinnati Reds not to trade the All-Star first baseman without talking to them first, sources told Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball.

Well, this is big news! Are the trade talks between Toronto and Cincinnati back on? I know that there had been some discussions between the organizations some time ago about the Jays possibly bringing Votto home, but after the Reds have weathered the worst of the rebuilding storm, I was hopeful that Votto was here to stay.

So let’s click through and see if we can get some details from the original report by Jon Heyman. First thing I notice is that the headline is a little different than the one at theScore: “Heyman: Could Votto to the Blue Jays be rekindled?”

Well, that almost seems like Heyman is tossing something out there, rather than reporting actual news. No worries, we can just scroll down and check out Heyman’s actual piece:

There were definitely real trade talks last July between the Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds about Joey Votto, and while there haven’t been talks lately, it still might be something to keep an eye on.

Oh, so “there haven’t been talks lately”? I guess that means that trade talks aren’t back on. “Sources” did tell Heyman — and take everything from Heyman with a grain of salt — that the Jays, at some point, told the Reds to check with them before trading Votto elsewhere. But there is no suggestion whatsoever that the trade talks have recommenced, or that there is anything for Reds fans to start getting nervous about.

On the other hands, there were a couple of items in that Heyman piece worth mentioning. First, there’s this:

Reds GM Dick Williams said in a phone interview he’d like to keep Votto right in the middle of their lineup, and hasn’t heard Votto, who has a full no-trade in his contract, suggest he had any real interest in going elsewhere, even to his hometown Blue Jays. (Other Reds insiders also say they believe Votto prefers to stay; Reds veterans seem to love it there).

Obviously Reds veterans love it in Cincinnati. It’s a great town.

Williams says he believes the Reds are closer to contention than they were a year ago, and thus isn’t in any way anxious to deal Votto. But other teams believe Votto’s $225-million, 10-year extension, which has eight years to go, makes as little sense for the small-market Reds as it did the day it was signed.

(A) Yes, the Reds are closer to contention than they were a year ago. They’re going to need Votto in the middle of their lineup the next few years if they truly expect to contend in the near term.

(B) Joey Votto is underpaid.

Then there’s this:

One person with connections to the Jays suggested the offset would have to be substantial even though Votto’s continued to perform at a very high level, and in fact stepped up his game in the second half last year and again this year, especially again in the second half. That person suggested the Jays would want the Reds to pay most of the final few or even four years.

Every single team in baseball would like to have Joey Votto if the Reds were paying most of his contract. Every. Single. Team. Or, as Chris said:

So anyway, much ado about nothing. No trade talks are ongoing, as far as we know. Not that it would bother me if the Reds were looking to trade Votto. Don’t get me wrong: I want Votto to finish his career in Cincinnati. He’s a really good baseball player, you know.

But I’m always of the opinion that no one on the Reds roster should be “untouchable.” If some team wants to break the bank and overpay for Votto or someone else, sure, GM Dick Williams should make that deal. I’m always open to any opportunity to improve the Reds’ roster. Just don’t dump Votto for less than he’s actually worth.

Either way, it appears that the Reds aren’t actively looking to move Votto this off-season. This is a case of a writer just trying to get clicks. Of course, that’s kinda what I’m doing here, too. The difference is that I’m not making any money on your clicks. (Maybe I need to rethink our “business” model?)

65 thoughts on “Report: Joey Votto has not been traded to the Blue Jays

  1. There’s a big catch in dealing Votto to Toronto. The Reds would want top end prospect talent in return, and the way to get that would be by eating quite a bit of his contract. Would the Jays even be willing to deal prospects in an offseason that also sees them maybe lose some major pieces from their offense via free agency?

    What team wouldn’t say, hey call us first? I’m sorry, but this is Heyman and he loves this kind of chatter. If a player of Vottos stature with the organization gets dealt….he gets shopped through the league for an impact deal. The only way Toronto has an advantage is if by saying, “call us first” means in essence, “We’ll match any deal.”

    • Well, keep in mind that Votto would have to approve any trade, right? And if he would approve going anywhere, I imagine Toronto would be the most likely. If that’s the only team he would agree to go to, the Reds lose their leverage in driving up the price.

      Unless the rebuild falters badly, I doubt he’s going anywhere. But I agree with Chad that everybody should be available at the right price. Except maybe Milton. (OK, Milton too.)

      • I failed to consider the no-trade clause. Yes, it’d make sense that he’d want to approve a deal to Toronto i anywhere. That’s working on the assumption that playing close to “home” means that much. Some people do find their home elsewhere. Votto could actually want to stay in Cincinnati.

        I suppose the Reds lose leverage. The Blue Jays also lose leverage as well…not sending the prospects makes the Reds less likely to find dealing him as attractive. He’s not on the last year of a deal.

  2. Votto is one my least favorite players. That aside, the Reds would be remiss if they turned down a trade for Votto. His salary is crippling for such a small market team.

    • The assertion that Votto’s salary is “crippling” the Reds is flat wrong. JV’s production outweighs the contract. The signing of washed up re-treads with no upside who take roster spots from younger, cost-efficient, controllable talent is what kills the team. Joey Votto is not the problem with the Reds…

      • Votto is not the problem, but he could be a big part of the solution. The Reds are not going to compete in 2017-2018, so I think it is a waste to pay him $47 mil. to play for a bad team with young prospects who are probably no better than slightly above average regulars. It is all about opportunity costs. What are the Reds giving up by not trading Votto? Probably 2 elite prospects + a couple more very good prospects. They also free up $25 mil. in payroll to fill other needs when the Reds are ready to compete again. The Reds best prospects are coming through the recent high draft picks and the Cueto trade not their own farm system prior to 2016 so it will take time for them to get to the show. It should be all about acquiring the most and best talent to create as much depth for the next run and timing their development to coincide. Votto will be declining significantly as the new crop of prospects will be starting to head into peak seasons.

        • “Slightly above average regulars” describes how the Royals built a World Series winner….but they dealt Greinke as the essential key. Votto would have to give them a similar return.

        • I should also add that I would much rather see the Reds with one more WS ring than one more player in Baseball’s HOF with a Cincinnati Reds baseball cap on their head. Others seem more concerned about having one of the best hitters in the game continuing to be a Red than getting what they to be better 2-3 yrs from now.

        • I agree on the WS ring. That means some fun competitive baseball to watch.

          Funny thing about those Royals teams now….they are built on failed rotation prospects being lights out pen pieces

        • Opinions are opinions, but you make a number of unsupported assertions (Reds won’t compete in ’17 or ’18, Votto’s presumed decline–stats are suggestive, not predictive, prospects no better than slightly above average, the expected return from trading Votto).

        • If you think Votto would bring back 2 elite prospects + more, you haven’t paid attention to trades involving prospects over the last 5 years. With his contract, any team that takes him would also need to take something like, oh I don’t know, $47M to give back any “elite” prospects.

        • There just isn’t any way they get that kind of haul for Votto and if they can, then yes, they absolutely should trade him; especially if they don’t plan to compete until 2019. The most likely scenerio would involve the Reds sending about $50-$100-million in salary along with Votto to bring back a good prospect or two. The next likely would be a similar trade to the Rangers/Tigers trade of Fielder, where Kinsler and his salary moved as well.

        • Patrick-

          By franchise altering, I mean Greinke return for KC. I suppose your blue chip definition works. To me that IS franchise altering. Essentially pulling down players with #1 pick career potential. Maybe one does pan out…Mets getting Syndergaard as an example.

          Im just saying that IF they want that root…Votto is what they have to pursue it with.

          But I don’t think hes going anywhere right now…and the team probably knows this…so thats why i think we see an accelerated rebuild with some high end picks that will move through the system.

          The way the Reds are playing…they should be able to build a solid system. Its just whether that system will time with Votto being of value still.

          BA thought they had the best draft of 16.

          I think we need to see what roster they take to Spring Training. Im expecting they’ll add someone like Edinson Volquez for the rotation. Definitely gonna bolster the pen. Alcantara was interesting as a super sub type.

      • greenmtred–

        I don’t think its a stretch to say that the Reds wont compete in 2017 for sure, considering how solid the division is in front of them. The central could very well put 3 teams in the playoffs

        As far as Votto. Im imagin if someone pushes it…they’ll get predictive. Personally, I think he can age fairly well…a batting eye of his kind doesn’t just simply disappear. I think the power might regress and we have basically a Mark Grace-Wally Joyner-Will Clark type bat. With Votto its contract to value.

        Give me 3 franchise altering prospects and Id trade Votto today myself…but like you said its an opinion.

        • There probably aren’t 3 “franchise altering” prospects in baseball. I’m assuming you mean “can’t miss” guys like Kris Bryant. It was fairly obvious after 1 year in the minors he was going to be a star. I just don’t think those guys exists all the time.

          But, if you mean normal, run-of-the-mill blue chip guys, they still overwhelmingly become average-ish regulars, and very rarely become stars.

        • I certainly agree that you trade anybody for the right return, even Votto. I do doubt that he’d bring back value equivalent to his own, though. There are guys who are exceptions to various rules, such as age-related decline, and I think it’s very possible that Votto will be such an exception, without the power of 40-year-old Papi, but the first basemen you cite weren’t bad players to have on a good team.

    • What would you spend his salary on? I’m going to bet it won’t be as productive as Votto…

      • I think it comes down to the here and now Votto versus what he may be in the last 4 years of that deal. Good chance he’ll be pretty good for at least a couple of them but also a good chance he won’t be. That said, I don’t think I’d want most the Votto haters spending that money.

    • You keep saying that but at the moment it isn’t. Maybe when Votto is going into his age 36 season in 2020 it will start going upside down as far as annual salary versus production. If the Reds don’t think they’ll be competitive again before then, perhaps they should aggressively try to move him but it isn’t unreasonable to think that in 2018 and 2019, having Votto for $25-million would be better than getting that $25-million back. That money doesn’t buy what it used to in free agency. You’d also have to expect that the Reds would need to move some money with Votto or take on a sizable contract to get something good back. Think of the Prince Fielder deal that brought him to Texas. Kinsler and his salary went the other way. Good deal for Detroit by the way but mostly due to Fielder’s very odd health issue. If the same happens to Votto, I’ll buy that the salary could be a burden. Crippling though? Give me a break.

  3. Votto is my favorite Red on this team, as should be obvious by my poster name. And despite what some washed up announcer thinks, is putting together a HOF career. That said, I agree with Chad that the Reds should be open to trading any player that would improve the club. In this instance that would require the other team breaking their bank/over paying. I don’t see the Reds kicking in any money at this point to facilitate a trade. Joey’s skills will age well and inflation will make even the last years of his contract seem reasonable as long as he doesn’t completely fall off a cliff.

    I’m not even sure what an overpay would have to look like. Something like 4 top 100 prospects, at AA or above, and no money coming from the Reds? With at least 2 in the top 30. I don’t know, just spitballing. But that’s the range I imagine the Reds start listening at. No reason to trade one of the game’s best hitters, and the Reds best player just to do it.

    • No reason to trade Votto if it only accelerates the rebuild by a season..if that. Red are drawing some high draft picks now. This rebuild is all on the professional and amatuer scouting departments.

  4. Every player is tradeable when they play for a small market team because what they can get in free agency exceeds what teams like the Reds can pay.This is no secret but it is extremely hard to determine who a team should pay as in Votto’s case and who not to pay.Votto performance to date exceeds his market value but it is a lot of money for the Reds which underlies the big problem in MLB.The small markets have become the minor leagues for the bigger markets and it continues to get worse.Walt rolled the dice and rolled the dice and this is how we got where we are at today.Williams can’t let this ever happen again which means each and every year he will have to make some very tough decisions along with never ever having a player that he won’t trade.Chad your column is right on the money.Fans can fall in love with players but ownership can’t do it.

  5. For the 100 million dollar offset suggested to “give” to Toronto for taking Joey Votto off our hands, the Reds could sign a pretty good free agent, either a pitcher or position player, to fill a hole somewhere.
    I am not so certain the Reds WON’T be competitive in 2018. If somebody steps up from the Reds farm system (or several somebodies) and Kris Bryant falls down a flight of stairs and breaks his leg, anything could happen. Not really wishing bad luck on Bryant, but anything could happen.

  6. If the Reds FO can get Aaron Sanchez, Roberto Osuna, Sean Reid-Foley and Rowdy Tellez, they should make the trade. Sanchez would slot right into the starting rotation with Bailey, Straily, Finnegan and Disco. Osuna assumes the closer role with Lorenzen and Iglesias and form “Nasty Boys 2”. Foley solidifies Pensacola starting rotation and Tellez starts the year as the starting 1st baseman in Louisville taking over at 1st for the Reds in 2018. Trade Bailey at the deadline and bring up the hottest of Stephenson, Reed or Garrett. Duvall would play 1st for 2017 with Winker in LF. Starting lineup of BHam, Winker, Peraza, Duvall, Mes, Schebler, Suarez, Herrera, Pitcher. Barnhart, Alcantara, Renda, Selsky and YRod bench players. Adleman, Lamb, Jumbo and Cingrani join The Nasty Boys 2 to form the bullpen. Sampson, Peralta, DLS, Shackleford, Weiss, Chacin, Routt, D.Diaz all ready to jump in.

    • Even I’d agree they should do it for that… which means it’s too much! 🙂

      • More realistic to take out Foley? I think the FO should still do it for Sanchez, Osuna and Tellez

  7. If the Reds could find a taker, I would not be opposed to trading Votto while the Reds could still reasonbly ask for some elite prospects in return. The Reds may only have about 1 or 2 more seasons to get maximum value for Votto before he begins his decline in earnest.

    For a small market team like the Reds, it makes sense to trade Votto, not because they can’t afford him, but because they need to get maximum production out of every position. I’m not sure the Reds will be able to seriously contend in 2018 with a 35 year old Votto at 1st base.

    There’s no doubt Votto is a once in a generaion talent, but even Babe Ruth grew old. He has a much higher peak to decline from than the average player, but it’s not just that his skills will erode, he will also be more prone to injury and won’t be able to bounce back the way a younger Votto could. Brandon Phillips should be a warning to the Reds: Do not keep your veteran players too long, look to the future before the future becomes today.

    • The Babe was fat and a heavy drinker. Votto is a fitness specimen. And if Big Papi can put up big numbers at 40, the future still looks very bright for Joey. In contrast to a prior post, Votto is my favorite player on the Reds. Every at bat is a treat to watch. And his diligence at the plate is starting to rub off on some younger players, Hamilton and Peraza for instance. Better be a big time return for a future HOFer.

      • I understand where you are coming from, and I do think Votto will age very well. However, there are mountains of evidence to suggest betting your frachise’s future on that, and holding up and exception to justify it (David Ortiz) is a kind of risk a small market team simply can’t afford to take.

        I love Joey Votto and have immense respect for the guy and what he brings to the team and to the game of baseball. Again, this has nothing to do with his contract; it has everything to do with getting maximum production out of a position on the baseball field. Votto’s defense is already subpar, and by some measures it’s horrible. All of his value is generated from offense now, something an AL team might find attractive if he were to become a DH. For a team like the Reds, it’s a ticking time bomb. Already, 50% of Votto’s game is negative value. Once his offense begins to decline, he will become a liability.

        By one measure (Fangraphs) Votto put up 5.0 WAR this season, while another (Baseball Reference) puts him at 3.96. Those are still really strong numbers, borderline All-Star/Superstar levels, and puts him in the top 5 of all 1B in the league. But when those numbers start to slip, can the Reds afford to have a 1B who is providing slightly above average production if they want to compete? Realistically, Votto has about 2-4 years left where he can realisitcally be expected to be regarded as an elite 1B. Sure, you can point and say “DAVID ORTIZ!”, but remember, he is the exception, not the rule.

        • Your points are good, and would weigh even more heavily for a team that was interested in acquiring Votto. Statistics are suggestive, not predictive in specific cases, and Votto’s particular skills may make him a black swan–unusual for his ability to hit well into the years that we would suppose to be his decline years. Obviously, a great haul of prospects could not be ignored, but for the reasons you ably give, it seems unlikely that the Reds would get such an offer. The other factor, of course, concerns the timing of the next competitive Reds team. If that’s four or five years out, Votto looks like an expensive luxury (except for his apparent good influence on the younger players). If you believe, as I do, that the Reds will be formidable in a couple of years, if not next year, then Votto looks less dispensable.

        • I agree with your premise that only production matters… but I sort of disagree that the Reds will really ever be in the situation where a 2ish WAR (maybe in 2020ish) 1Bman is the thing keeping them from competing.

          I’ll go out on a limb here and say that Votto will never be the lowest WAR player in the starting 8, so there’s always a different spot to upgrade before you’d have to worry about Votto.

          This isn’t an argument to keep him. it’s an argument that I don’t think he’ll ever be THE factor keeping the Reds from competing.

        • Keep in mind that there is a decent chance the NL will have the DH as Votto enters the last few years of his contract. It’s certainly not a given, but there is a fair chance..

    • BP’s peak was something like Votto as a 33 year old, though… not really a fair comparison to BP.

      I’m fairly confident Votto at 38-40 will be more productive than BP at his current age.

  8. Trading Votto with 8 years remaining on his contract would be almost logistically impossible.

    Even if the baseball/contract issues can be agreed to by the Reds and the Jays, Joey Votto has complete leverage. He can simply just say no. If he were inclined to accept,at a minimum, he’d likely want a huge upfront payment to compensate him for the differences in taxation and potential currency issues. He could easily claim his deal underpays him and demand that the contract be re-worked. He likely has deferred money and he’ll want that upfront.

    Meanwhile, the trade would leak before anything would be finalized and the Reds would be twisting in the wind while Votto decides…. under a barrage of PR issues for trying to trade their best player…… while he rightfully puts the screws to them in order to get his agreement.

    • So cheerful and upbeat. You’re a real ray of sunshine. 🙂

      Just kidding. You point out every possible downside, which is why the Reds FO won’t do it, because they are too cautious and image conscious.

        • Todd wasn’t THAT popular, and the Reds were not going to be able to sign him to a long term contract (and shouldn’t have even if they could have).

  9. I also understand your view, and can appreciate the logic. But Ortiz is just an example, there are others, though generally the inevitable decline starts soon for most. Votto’s a special player. To trade him right now should command a huge haul with no money going back the other way. Technically defense is 50% of his game, but as a first baseman it’s not nearly as important as middle infield or catcher. His offense far outweighs his defensive shortcomings, which I feel are overrated. But for arguments sake, let’s say the Red’s prospects don’t turn the corner next year and Votto still puts up the numbers. I’d be on your side to trade him then. But as an optimistic fan, which is depressing to be anything but since the game is a blessed relief from life’s stress, let’s see what next year brings before trading away your best player and heart of the lineup. I think the boys are gonna make some noise next year.

    • Ortiz made less money in his entire career than Votto is still owed. A team that would acquire Votto understands that a decline will come at some point…..it could be 7 years from now, it could be next year…..and it would be irresponsible to give up top prospects and take on the entire contract. No one is going to do that.

  10. The Votto contract should have been a 5 or 6 year deal not for 10 years. At this point Votto is only tradeable for a couple of very average minor leaguers with the Reds picking up 50% or more of what Votto is owed. Maybe they could trade him to Boston for Sandoval who is owed $60 million over the next 3 years and the Red Sox picking up the $179 million owed to Votto. In today’s baseball a small market team will never keep a super star for his entire career. Votto could be the last one for the Reds but many would say he is not a super star and won’t have the numbers a first baseman needs to get into the HOF.

    • Joey is an elite hitter. Pete Rose said so, numerous times over the last few years.

      I don’t know how his career will end, but if he plays and hits like 2016 for a few more years, he will be a HoF player.

    • Many would say that the Earth is flat and the Moon is made of green cheese.

    • I did a query the other day on the Play Index, I’ll try to recall the exact numbers…

      .300 BA
      .400 OBP
      .500 SLG
      300 HR
      1000 BB
      2200 H
      1000 R
      1000 RBI

      All of those are easily reachable for Votto. None of them are even close to a stretch. Maybe the homers, though. If his power evaporates and he turns into a 15 HR guy, then a 10 HR guy it might be iffy. But, if I’m recalling correctly, every single guy who has reached those numbers is in the HOF or is someone like Barry Bonds.

      With the BBWAA voter pool getting younger and understanding the importance of OBP and de-emphasizing RBI, a guy who will likely retire in the Top 20 all-time for OBP has a really good shot.

      • The knock on Votto will be the 2200 hits, and the implication he watched too many pitches. I’m not arguing against your case personally, but that Hall of Very Good has sucked up a lot of players…and team effect might cause some voters not recognize him. The HOF is ludicrous on so many levels….Andre Dawson and Jim Rice are in….You’d think that level would create more getting in.

        I’m personally a hall conservative.

        • Good point. I am also a hall conservative, as you say. But, mostly, I just disagree with things like 3000 hits being the mark for a hall-caliber player. It is completely arbitrary. Almost every guy with 3000 hits did so because of longevity and aggressiveness. Take Ichiro, for example. He’s likely a first ballot guy (I agree with that) because of his 3000 hits (of course, Japan also…) and he isn’t even in the same neighborhood as Votto with hitting skill.

  11. If Votto were a free agent what would he bring? 8 years 200 million is my guess. 200 – 179 = 21 million in value in a trade. The rule 5 draft is coming. The more prospects we have the more which may go unprotected.

    • This is a good question. Let’s crowd-source it! Everyone reply who reads this!

      I’d say he’d get 5/145. Basically, because of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.

      • When the Reds made the deal with Votto there were a few things that dictated the terms:
        1. They expected to be good and didn’t want the distraction of their best player approaching UFA
        2. They were looking to re- establish credibility with the fan base.
        3. They expected their cable deal and attendance revenue to increase significantly.

        3 is very important as attendance rose to a 1991 level, but they didn’t get the Cardinal like surge they may have anticipated. At this time, they still have no 2017 cable deal and no reasonable person could believe they will get what was anticipated in 2012.

        They made Votto an offer he couldn’t refuse…which turned out to be a good deal for the Reds…unfortunately their likely revenue assumptions were wrong.

    • If Jason Heyward can get an 8 yr. / $184M deal, then Votto is certainly worth that and probably more. I know Heyward’s age of 26 came into play on the length of that contract. So with Votto’s age now, a 6 yr./ $160M deal might be what he’d be looking at. If that team were Boston, Texas, Seattle or possibly Toronto, that is.

    • Hanley Ramirez has a 4yr/88M contract. My guess is at least 22M a year. Maybe 6yr/160M plus signing bonus.

  12. I think it’s a 5-year deal but I think the AAV would be quite a bit higher. 5 years/$145-million.

  13. Votto isn’t going anywhere unless he, like Ken Griffey Jr., decides he’s ready to leave. There’s no trade to be had otherwise.

  14. Votto is my absolute favorite Red player since Davey Concepcion.

    He is one of the few reasons the Reds are watchable for me.

    Honestly if they trade Votto, I’d stop following the Reds for a long while.

    I appreciate the logic in getting out from under a big contract, but the Reds would NEVER get fair value in return.

    The great disappointment is that Votto is wasting his prime years playing for an organization that has little to no interest in being competitive anytime soon.

  15. With the recent drafting history of this team, and the amount of possible solid talent already at the major league level, I wouldn’t trade Joey for anything less than a major haul. I really believe this team can compete in two seasons. If so, that still should give us multiple seasons of peak Joey in the middle of the lineup. While I would take a ring over a Cooperstown nod as well, it can not be underestimated the effect of ‘star power’ on attendance, merchedising, and attracting quality free agents during a rebuild. I also think the presence of someone with Joey’s work ethic is invaluable to the kids (cue veteran-y presence discussion). I agree everyone should be tradeable, but I would ask a considerable price for our first baseman.

    • Also, if he was to make it into the HOF, at some point years down the road they’ll have a Votto Weekend, and they’ll release commemorative jerseys and posters and what not… it’ll be a monetary boost for the Reds. Not sure how big, but there will be a boost.

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