I tried to avoid this, because my opinion about Marty Brennaman is well-known. His voice (along with that of Joe Nuxhall) is the background music to my childhood, so I don’t spend much of my life criticizing him. I don’t agree with him all the time, but there is no one on earth with whom I agree on every topic (with the obvious exception of my wife, in case she reads this).

This is going to be completely unscientific, as Redleg Nation caters to a specific segment of hard-core Reds fan that might not represent the average fan. But I thought it would be interesting to see how many of you agreed with Marty’s recent comments about Joey Votto’s contract.

If you missed the comments, Marty said:

Time out here now. I’m not going to get into all that crap. I’m going to tell you this: If I were an owner of a baseball team I would say to him if I could trade him, I’d trade him yesterday. And I would say, hell I can lose 94 games without you just as easily as I could lose 94 games with you. I don’t care about the OPS. I don’t care about none of that. This team made a bad deal when they signed Joey Votto to a 10-year contract. And he’s gonna make $22M and either next year or the following year he’s going to make $25M. There’s NO sanity on God’s Earth that justifies this being a good contract.

So…is he right?

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! 136 Comments

  1. I’ve heard Marty’s rant now twice, and each time I was disgusted with his comments. The way he vehemently went after that contract was absurd. Marty’s focal point of his rant seemed to be on Votto, and not the front office for offering up this contract.
    I too, grew up listening to Marty and Joe. Sadly, I have gradually lost respect for Marty and his far off base opinions.

    • That would be a killer contract in New York or Boston, let alone a small market like Cincy. Votto be making something north of $25 million even when he’s 37, 38, and 39 years old. The contract makes it impossible to trade him, and there’s no denying that the Reds have lost 90-plus games two years in a row now and need to rebuild. I love Joey Votto. He’s a terrific player. But the Reds cannot give out contracts like that. Look at Pittsburgh. They resisted giving McCutchen the long-term mega contract and now they look pretty smart for it. I agree with you that Votto can’t be blamed for accepting the Reds’ offer. But I read the criticism to be of the front office for offering the contract in the first place. And I also agree with him that if they can find someone to take the contract and get Votto to agree to waive his no-trade clause, they should do it in a heartbeat.

      • So make the leap and explain how JV’s contract is preventing the Reds from winning more. Just saying that you think his contract is too rich for the Reds (without elaborating on the point) is not actually an explanation of why the Reds can’t win. And, I don’t think you mean to say that because of JV’s contract, the Reds had 90+ loss seasons in a row.

        IMO, they need both young (read cheap) talent and to find more value-laden veteran contracts, such as JV’s, to be competitive.

      • Davey, how would that be a “killer contract in New York or Boston”? I refer you to Baseball-reference.com. The NYY have 3 contracts with salaries in excess of $ 21 M in 2017, and another in excess of $ 17 M. Tanaka is likely to opt of his contract if he has another strong year (opting out of future salaries of $ 22, $ 22, & $ 23 M. Why, because Tanaka ). Boston has contracts with 2017 salaries of $ 17.6 M, $ 20.1 M, $ 22.8 M, and $ 30 M. That $ 30 M contract for David Price escalates to $ 32 M for 2020-2022. Meanwhile, the Red Sox are paying Pablo Sandoval $ 17.6 M after he hit for an OPS+ of 75 in 2015, and after he had all of 6 AB in ’16.

        The McCutchen comparison is a poor example. McCutchen signed a long term contract after his 3rd yr. The contract bought out his 3 arb years plus 3 additional years. That contract is up after this season, after paying him $ 14 M in 2017. The team has a team option for 2018 for $ 14.75 M. McCutchen had a poor year in 2016, batting .256, with a OPS+ of 103, while providing the worst defense of his career. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to resist signing him to another long term contract during/after a lousy year. Particularly when the Pirates control him for another 2 years.

        There is no evidence that Votto’s contract makes it impossible to trade him, to the contrary: his contract will get cheaper and cheaper in comparison to deals signed since. And why would the Reds trade a perennial MVP candidate? The Reds have only 3 other players making in excess of $ 7 Mil. They’ll have about 12 to 15 players on their 25 man roster making at or near the league minimum, so the Votto contract is more than affordable. And what could you get in the way of player contracts for $ 22 M in 2017 that would make the Reds better? You trade away Votto and you have a gaping hole in the lineup. How are you going to replace Votto’s production with “only” $ 22 M? And that is the most important element of this discussion. The man produces like clockwork. His average OPS+ over 10 years is 157. His 2016 OPS+ was 160. Votto is underpaid when you compare his production to his salary, yet some people overlook that, thinking he MAY be overpaid sometime in the future (and taking his being underpaid the last 3 years for granted). With the shape he is in, and the lack of physical demands at his position, I don’t envision a significant drop off in production anytime soon.

        Marty doesn’t have a clue when talks so recklessly about trading one of the greatest hitters we have ever seen. Keep Votto where he belongs, in the heart of the Reds lineup, where he can wreck havoc while protecting the young hitters around him.

        • I inadvertently cut my comment off. It should have read:

          Tanaka is likely to opt of his contract if he has another strong year (opting out of future salaries of $ 22, $ 22, & $ 23 M. Why, because Tanaka will be considered underpaid by MLB standards at Joey V’s salary of $ 22 M).

          Ironic, don’t you think?

        • I think that is the crux of the matter. Yes. The value of Votto’s contract doesn’t preclude them from making more moves.

          The Reds outfield is going to be some combination of Duvall, Schebler, Hamilton and Winker, I expect. That’s probably three guys making the league minimum and one guy in his first year of arbitration. ……….In the infield, Suarez is at the minimum and Cozart isn’t going to break the bank in arbitration, if he is still around. The fact that they allowed Phillips to get 10 and 5 rights and are stuck paying him $14 million is what Marty should be complaining about. Phillips’ production at $14 million, when Votto is multiplying that production by how many times? For $8 million more? And Votto’s contract is the problem?

          People are likely expecting the Reds’ rotation to have Disco (pre-arbitration), Homer (costly at $20 million), Finnegan (pre-arbitration), Straily Dan (pre-arbitration), and another kid (pre-arbitration).

          And without listing the bullpen guys by name, I can’t believe they are going to cost much either. So somebody needs to tell me again where Votto’s contract is holding this team back. I don’t get it.

        • Oh, I forgot about catching. Mesoraco is $7 million, Barnhart is pre-arbitration, and if they go with three catchers, the third guy is going to be the pre-arbitration Rule 5 pickup, or maybe a cheap backup.

          And the heck with it, let’s check the bullpen too. Iglesias at $3.5 million, Storen at $3 million, two arbitration guys (Blake Wood, Tony Cingrani) and two guys who are pre-arbitration (Michael Lorenzen, Jumbo Diaz). Anybody else I can think of would also be pre-arb.

          So, combining this with what I just wrote above, I’m getting a combined $69.5 million in known contracts, another few million for the three or four guys who will get raises in arbitration, then a bunch of guys making the minimum. … The payroll is low enough that the Reds have the money to spend if they want to. Votto’s contract is not the impediment there.

        • Your so right. In the future that Contract become less impactive not more.

    • Amen, only thing worse than Marty is his son Thom

  2. When it comes to Marty I pretty much just agree to disagree and move on.

  3. No, I don’t agree, but that’s only part of the point. The relentless obsession with being critical to the point of being derisive and mean-spirited toward easily the best player on the team is what is troubling. What did Joey Votto ever do to Marty? He’s a great player and a solid citizen. At this point, it just seems like a guy who has abandoned all nuance and just decided to be the old guy who insists he’s right to the point he has become damn right, and a bit of a fool.

    • I read on Facebook or somewhere on the Internet that Joey Votto borrowed Aroldis Chapman’s fast sports car and ran over Marty’s already dead cat … that’s what JV did to Marty.

      Or was it the wig made from the hair Marty donated??

  4. Votto has a very high risk contract that has largely worked out so far. Some folks argue that losing teams should trade expensive players no matter how valuable they are, in the name of going cheap. Others cite the likelihood that Votto will not be worth $25m a year in 2019 and beyond. The latter is a valid argument. The former point is silly especially when talking about your all time best hitter.

  5. I grew up with Waite Hoyt who was a good announcer and a great storyteller. Marty Brennaman has been a great announcer, but 42 years is enough. Time to move on.

  6. Does Marty care about wRC+? Isn’t Votto’s WAR to $ ratio considered a bargain on the current market? I’ve always wanted to use this phrase and I get the chance: Marty bloviates ad nauseum about JV and it’s pretty tired and old.

    • Ethan L., Marty’s made it pretty clear that he don’t care about Votto’s stats and ESPECIALLY any Sabermetric stats that show just how good Votto is. It’s how Marty justifies his stance. All he cares about is the contract/money. To me it’s rather ignorant to not care about the stats and to not realize that Votto’s actually a bargain. He’s earned that contract every which way from Sunday and I believe he’ll continue to earn it bcuz he’s just that good and he works hard at what he does and is a student of the game. He might even be considered to be underpaid. I’m not gonna argue the X’s & O’s of the contract with anyone, I trust the article that one of the redlegnation writers wrote about the contract. But if someone can’t see anything but the money without regard to his production and how he’s worth it, then that just boggles my mind. I can’t understand how someone can’t understand that.

      • Marty thinks he should be driving in 100 runs, hitting .300, and hitting 30 HR. We all know about RBI and how that works, he’s only been 1 shy of 30 HR the last two years, and he habitually hits over .300. Just using the very traditional AVG and SLG, Votto has been perhaps the Reds best hitter since Frank Robinson. I don’t get Marty’s angle at all.

  7. I’ve thought for about 25 years that MB was too negative.

    While we can pretend that MB is a “journalist” and should call it as he sees it, the fact of the matter is that he is an employee of the Reds, or at least an employee of a business affiliate/partner of the Reds. The Reds’ product is their players, and Votto is their biggest star. I don’t know one other business model where one the job of an employee (or representative) entails running down another employee, or disparaging the company’s product. Budweiser spokespersons don’t go around telling people that Budweiser is lousy beer.

    MB’s rantings have definitely hurt Votto (and therefore the team’s marketing position) in the eyes of Joe Fan, and in my opinion, they just ought to let MB go.

    If Marty wants to criticize Votto after getting canned, then he has every right to do so. But I don’t understand why Castellini puts up with him talking down the product.

    • I agree that Marty is too negative in general. I do remember at times over the years when he was the only broadcaster to criticize the teams decisions. So at time it was refreshing. (still the case unfortunately) However, in the past decade or so he has just been as he would say “dead wrong”. Maybe he has been for a while now and I was to inexperienced to know any better. I feel bad for how often I criticize my beloved teams management. However, it needs to be continuously addressed. Marty, BP, lack of player development, bad signings, ongoing injury issues to players that may have or may not have had proper medical workups. I understand for the Reds to deflect and encourage scapegoats, but please fix the problem. The teams failures are not caused by Joey Votto. They are inspite of him. Marty could be ok to handle if they brought in a modernization of media. Hire a real analyst to balance it out. Doesn’t have to be an argument on radio, but a discussion to begin educating the fan base and creating a deeper experience. Instead we get Brennemen and Jones segments. Really, the rest of baseball is laughing at this organization. By the way 700. I have given up on you. I no longer listen to games on radio or the reds sportstalk.

      I think most would agree that life in capitalist America is demanding and difficult. It would be nice to feel my teams billion dollar organization is willing to work like everyday Americans do. Stop excusing this or that. Take a harder look.

  8. Marty is stuck on only what his eyes tell him and he flat-out doesn’t like JV, so he sees what he wants to see. Difficult contract? Yes, and maybe we shouldn’t have done it. Face of the franchise? Youbetcha – more so than Super Todd Frazier.

    Facts speak volumes if you want to look at them. They are background noise if you don’t. Marty doesn’t want to look at facts anyway.

    The.End.

  9. He likes to be heard and nobody cares to hear hI’m anymore. In any other profession he would have been reprimanded a long time ago and wouldn’t be an employee of the Cincinnati Reds.
    What he needs to realize is that it’s no longer 1975, and we aren’t as competitive as we once we’re for various reasons. Joey Votto is well worth his contract now and seven years from now. If he continues he will be a HOF player.
    Brennaman needs to keep his opinions to himself. Give years ago he accused a president of a university for being “queer” because they made vast improvements to the softball field and not the baseball field. He continues to speak down on the organization as a whole
    Its time to move on…

  10. There are so many reasons why Marty is wrong, and even more reasons why this was an easy “NO” vote. Redleg Nation has been over the former topic exhaustively and while there are a few knowledgeable contributors who at least agree with Marty to some extent, there are far more who disagree and I find their arguments compelling. I won’t rehash them again here. But I will comment on Marty Brennaman in general and on this topic in particular. Marty is still for me the voice of the Reds. I’ve never lived in or even near Cincinnati but when I have been able to listen to Marty (and especially Marty and Joe) it has always been one of the simple pleasures of my life. Marty has a talent for describing a baseball game that is matched by few. That’s why he’s in the Hall of Fame and deservedly so. But that’s not the same skill set at all as running (or making critical assessment of) a Major League Baseball franchise. Simply put, Marty isn’t just wrong on this question, he’s not even qualified to have an opinion that anyone should take seriously. Should George Lucas ask the Entertainment Tonight staff whether another Star Wars movie would be financially viable? Would John Elway ask the Broncos cheerleaders who he should draft at quarterback next year? Would Doubleday check with the New York Times book reviewers for help negotiating Stephen King’s next book contract? That’s a no. Marty is right plenty, and wrong plenty too. In this case he’s wrong. But more importantly his opinion should be irrelevant. Too bad he has a perceived official standing with the Cincinnati Reds. He needs to go back to calling the games.

  11. Its a tough thing to get old and watch the world pass you by.

    But its gonna happen to all of us if we are lucky enough to live that long. Lets just hope that when that time comes, that we are wise enough to realize it. Marty lacks that wisdom and self awareness. He has no clue that he is a dinosaur. Oh, he probably thinks he is old school. But he does not know how far he is out of touch. Its amazing that someone who has watched as much baseball as he has can misunderstand what is actually going on as badly as he does.

    If the Reds had any compassion at all, they would put an end to this. Stop letting him embarrass himself and the organization. He has become the old man from the Simpsons ranting angrily at a cloud.

  12. Marty has always been negative, it just wasn’t so obvious when Nuxhall was there to counterbalance it. For me the appeal was always Marty and Joe; without Joe Marty does work for me.

    • Second this. I miss listening to Joe immensely.

      • Me too. There was one game during this past season when Doug Flynn was doing a game as the sidekick, can’t remember who was on play by play, but when a Reds player hit a home run to center field, Flynn was cheering for the ball to leave the park, the way Joe would. That was kinda cool.

  13. What happened to Marty and why does he dislike Joey Votto so much? Marty used to walk the line deftly when it came to criticizing players. Now, it is like he is using a sledgehammer.
    It hurts the franchise to have the radio voice of the Reds slam the Reds’ best player every chance that he gets. I don’t get it, and I don’t understand why management puts up with it.

    • Maybe what happened to Marty is related to Montgomery Ribs. Cholesterol, clogged arteries, reduced brain function…

    • Remember how ruthlessly he attacked Adam Dunn? Dunn was no Votto, but he didn’t deserve that. Marty been brutal for a while now.

  14. I’m with Chad in that in some ways I feel like I was raised by Marty and Joe. In the 70s and 80s, I went eight seasons without missing a game and keeping a scorecard of each game. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. But in the last 10 or more years in particular, he has turned openly bitter and petty about numerous things. One occasion I remember during the past season was when there was some discussion about the downtown trolley. He jumped in with something like, “If that isn’t the biggest waste of public dollars in history, I don’t know what is.” He obviously feels people think his opinion is important.

    In his later years, I think he believes he is a big part of the show, rather than just the baseball game and what is happening on the field.Regarding the modern analytics, he obviously has no taste for them, and doesn’t mind letting everyone know that in no uncertain terms.

    I listen to him when it is my only option.

    • I think Marty forgets that when he signed that contract he was well on his way to a 2nd mvp until his knee injury,at the time it was the right thing to do,lock him up before free agency and the reds were winning big,votto is not the one who dismantled a winning team,yet Marty puts everything on his shoulders,not sure why he does that,joey is the best thing we have going,love Marty but he needs to move on

  15. I too am an old guy, I first became interested in baseball at the age of 8 in 1960. There are a lot of things I don’t like about baseball these days. I don’t like the huge salaries. I don’t like the fact that a team brings up a young potential super star and as soon as they get to arbitration or free agency that player is traded for prospects. I don’t understand all the new statistics. But baseball is what is today and you have to move on. I personally don’t think Votto’s contract is a bad contract. So far he has produced above his value and even if that value does decrease to the end of the contract, overall he will have produced above the value. The good thing for me as a fan is that I know that one Reds player that is worth watching will be around for awhile. I too have listened to Marty for and always enjoyed his broadcasts. Perhaps BOLDOD is right, maybe Nuxhall just counterbalanced his negativity. Not living in the Cincinnati area for much of that time, radio was the only way to connect to the Reds. But now Marty has lost all credibility. He is almost the opposite of the “homer” announcer.

  16. I believe Marty’s over-the-top response to the caller, his past comments on Votto (among others), his general crankiness and his disdain of advanced statistics are obscuring what I think is a potentially valid point — or at least, something to discuss in a more civilized manner than Team Joey vs. Team Marty.

    The question isn’t “Is Joey Votto worth his contract?” When you quantify Votto’s performance against his salary, it’s clear to any sane person that he’s a bargain.

    However, I think a more reasonable discussion could be had if the question was instead framed as “Was it right for the small-market Reds to give Joey Votto (or a comparable superstar player) an expensive, long-term contract?” The problem with that is hindsight is 20/20. Obviously, the Reds didn’t extend Votto expecting to languish in last place just a few years later, just as they didn’t extend Bailey and Mes expecting them to get hurt.

    Perhaps Marty is trying (poorly) to say that, as a non-contending team, the Reds could potentially make better use of the money they’ve allocated to a player of Votto’s caliber, despite the fact that he’s “underpaid” relative to his contract. Personally, I don’t agree, but I’d at least listen to the other side of that argument.

    • Exceptionally well put.

    • Agree with a lot of what you said, but it all boils down to the fact that many people say the contract shouldn’t have been given, but no one ever gives examples as to what that money could be used for that helps the Reds more than Joey Votto helps the Reds.

      Yes, it’ s a lot of money. Everyone realizes that. But, five 1 WAR players making $5M each are far, far worse than one 5 WAR player making $25M.

      I just don’t see why people care so much about the contract. It was given, it’s been good so far, and is likely to be a net positive. It never has, and never will, prevent the Reds from spending more.

  17. The average listener of a Reds Radio Broadcast is a 70 year old man. He listens to the Reds on the radio because he has always listened to the Reds on the radio. Most of Marty’s audience doesn’t like change and doesn’t like to be reminded that almost everything they thought they knew about baseball is actually wrong.

    I’m not defending the comments….they’re wrong and easily proven wrong. In the same way that Fox News and MSNBC ” play”
    to their audience, Marty does the same thing.

    Virtually every Reds game can be seen on TV at this point. The score can be easily attained through one’s phone or computer. You don’t need to listen to the radio or stay up until 11:25 and wait for Zip Rezeppa or Walt Maher to tell you if the Reds won. In order to maintain a sizeable radio audience the Reds are
    ” marketing” to the Flat Earth Society through Marty. In the same way that it doesn’t matter if Bill O’Reilly or Rachel Maddow is right or wrong….it doesn’t matter if Marty is right or wrong. He’s the voice for those who doesn’t want anything to change. He’s the voice for those who just want know what someone’s batting average or ERA happens to be.

    Those who disagree with Marty the most are generally those who have the means/inclination to follow the team via other methods.

    • Your onto something here Chuck. Maybe the biggest disappointment is with the lack of alternatives and not so much Marty. Reds should make an investment for entertaining the rest of us.

    • Chuck, your business comments are generally fairly sage, but you are omitting the rather sizable audience that is either stuck in their cars, or even at work. If you are in the care during the game, Marty is pretty much your only option, other than Outlaw Country on Sirius XM. (Even then, I nominate Jeff Brantley as the worst play-by-play radio guy in MLB; you simply have to turn the dial in the 3rd, 4th and 7th innings.)

      I don’t disagree that the radio audience isn’t as big as it was 30-40 years ago, but it isn’t nothing.

      • Your point is valid. But I think Marty has made a conscious decision to pander to his base, even if that alienates others. Sometimes, we just have to acknowledge that “it is what it is.”

        If Marty were part of the media at large (v.s. an employee of the Reds), I would have no problem with his schtick or decision to pander to his base. But, he is an employee of the Reds and I do object (and wish the team’s ownership would object) to his baseless attacks on another employee of the organization.

    • I think Marty is wrong and his tone was way too confrontational but, that said, I’m wondering where you got your demigraphics on the Reds radio broadcast? I know a lot of folks my age and younger (46) that listen to the Reds on radio, especially when having to drive around in the evenings.

      • LW,

        I’ve seen the demos and they’re overwhelmingly male and north of 65. My God, the ads are geared towards old men…Coke, McDonald’s, a re-hab facility, a plumber and a law firm comprise most of the in game ads.

        Yes, during any random moment of any random game, younger people are listening….but that isn’t the core audience.

  18. I think that there is no greater natural speaking voice in radio. He is kind and speaks gently to fans at spring training. He loves the band “Chicago”… I think many Reds fans like myself will ever have a hard time believing the Reds can pay a first rate salary to a first rate player after going all those years without a sniff at anything during Griffey Jr’s reign. That said, I think he’s going off course on the Votto contract. I don’t know who we would have signed that would have made the difference that Votto has for the amount of money spent on him… I also don’t think fans want to see who that would have been necessarily. Frankly, however, as much as I have enjoyed Brenneman over the years, I can’t forgive his spouting of conservative politics and climate change denial. I listen and watch baseball to get away from people foaming at the mouth about things they apparently have no idea about.

  19. I’m wondering what business thinks it is good policy to have the most highly visible voice of your organization publicly berate a customer of the entertainment provided by that organization. It makes no difference who was right or wrong or whether or not we agree with Marty. Marty was out of line to go off on a customer like that, and that should be the real story here.

  20. I, like many others grew up with Marty and Joe, but it’s gotten to the point where I won’t listen to the games because of him.

    I remember reading somewhere on either this or the Enquirer forum about George Grande and it bears repeating for Marty. I want my doctor to be forthright for my health, but if I’m inviting someone into my life for something that I enjoy as a hobby for 162 times a year, I want them to be pleasant and friendly. Brennaman’s conduct doesn’t meet those requirements. He shouldn’t be a homer, but he shouldn’t be verbally repellant to fans.

    The fact that he berated the fan and turned the conversation into a screed about Joey Votto is embarrassing to this club. He’s the voice and in many ways ambassador of the Reds and for him to cut down the team’s best player and be rude to a fan the way he was does nothing in terms of goodwill to this organization.

    The game’s passed him by, it’s clear in my eyes that he doesn’t understand the current economic realities of baseball nor the advanced metrics used to evaluate players. What’s more, he doesn’t want to, he seems to think what worked for him in 1975 works now and it doesn’t. His views on Joey Votto show that clearly.

    Votto’s worth far more than the club’s paying him, but he doesn’t seem to come off well to the average fan. When the play-by-play man, who’s well-respected, and is a hall of famer, cuts him down every chance he gets it’s not hard to see why. Brennaman’s opinion carries a lot of weight, but he’s absolutely, positively incorrect in his opinion on Votto’s contact. That view, while wrong, gets a wide audience out of proportion to its accuracy.

    • Couldn’t agree more with your sentiments.

      As I read further into the call transcript, and saw MB’s caustic comments and unprofessional language, I would hope that Bob Castellini will promptly follow up with Marty and let him know in very certain terms that his status as a representative of the Cincinnati Reds demands more civility and objectivity. He serves at the pleasure of the Reds and it should be Mr. Castellini’s pleasure to show him the door if he can’t abide by those standards.

      Yes, Marty has legendary status with the club. But the Cincinnati Reds brand was here before him and it will be here long after he’s gone. He needs to know his relative place.

  21. It is time for Marty to retire.

  22. I guess Marty has just had so many accolades and praise throughout the years that he has become somewhat of a “diva”. He seems to get away with everything and throws a temper tantrum anytime someone disagrees with him. He thinks he’s just as important and popular to the franchise as any player. In my humble opinion, I don’t see how he could ever achieve the level of success as any player. Maybe that’s his problem? Maybe he’s a frustrated little league player and resents the athletes? Maybe he was the last pick during pick-up games? I’ll tell ya, I believe I despise Thom more that Marty anymore though. He’s definitely following in his father’s footsteps and may one-up him before it’s all over. I can’t stand when he does games.

  23. What do you think the poll results would be if it were limited strictly to Joe Fan-types, the guys that read about the game in the paper, listen occasionally on the television, catch a game on the tube once in a while, maybe head down to the ballyard when he can get a cheap ticket.

    The average fan, in other words.

    I bet the numbers would be 80-20 in favor of Marty’s opinion on this topic.

    What if the Reds polled every customer who came through the turnstiles at GABP? I’d guess a clear majority would agree with Votto.

    What do you think?

    • I suspect the average fan who comes through the turnstiles would say that Votto is overpaid. The average fan doesn’t have any idea about analytics — just the traditional stats that get shown on the scoreboard. The average fan would say he or she is glad Votto is on the team, but at more than $20M per year, he is overpaid. Most average fans would say that about any player making $20M on any team.

      • I have friends who I would call “average fans”. They don’t know much/anything about analytics. They like the Red and go to a few games a year, watch or listen sometimes when it’s convenient. For the most part, they don’t think Votto is overpaid and agree that he is worth his salary as much as any player is. They just think the Reds couldn’t afford to pay that kind of money to one player and shouldn’t have signed him to the contract when they did. This is a small sample size of 10-12 people though so take it with a grain of salt.

      • Very good to note that many, even most,, fans would say any player making $20M and north is overpaid regardless of production.

    • I think Marty’s statement is a valid concern for the average fan (Whether he should be saying things like that as the voice of the Reds is another question). It is not unreasonable for an “Average Joe” fan or even a “Hardcore” fan to have those same concerns. How does a team that is trying to rebuild do it when one player (who will begin aging quickly in the next few years) will be soaking up a ton of payroll, increasing till the contract ends? I don’t blame him for taking the deal, it’s a sweet one for sure, but Reds FO will be scrambling in the years to come to make this work. THIS is more concerning to the future and rebuild of the Reds then BP playing or not playing out his last season in Cincinnati ever will be, in my opinion.

      To answer the question, yes, I’d say the average fan probably agrees with Marty on this one.

      • Very well said Yippee. I’m a huge Reds fan and completely agree with Marty. I don’t think he’s bashing Votto or the contract. He’s knows Votto is worth every penny and them some. Marty is saying (and he could have phrased it better) that the small market Reds shouldn’t be the team who is paying him that kind of money. The Pirates do it right. The Cardinals do it right. No big contract extension for McCutchen. The Cardinals let Pujols and Heyward walk. Both teams at this present time are in a much better situation than the Reds. When a small market rebuilding team loses 98 games in 2015 and 94 games in 2016 is paying one player that kind of money, it’s cause for concern.

        • McCutchen took a team friendly deal before he became “McCutchen.” The same thing the Reds tried to do with Mesoraco, before Mesoraco decided his musculoskeletal system didn’t work.

          Pujols would have been given the contract at a much later age than Votto. If Pujols were 26-27, the Cardinals would have tried resigning him.

          They gave an offer to Heyward, I believe, and were outbid by the Cubs.

          None of those examples are really valid.

        • The Cardinals offered Heyward 200 million. The Cubs signed him for 184.

          The Cardinals offered Pujols 210 million over 9 years. The Angels offered 254 over 10 years.

          I’d hardly call that letting them walk.

    • I know too many Joe Fan types and most think that Votto is overpaid and he’s a burden to the franchise. I don’t even bother to argue with them anymore. Of course a lot of these same fans hated Dunn and turned on Jay Bruce as well. They didn’t like Junior when he was here and blamed him for the Reds lost decade. The average fan just wants to win and they think that avg/hr/rbi are what get you there. They think that Votto was paid to be a .300/30/100 guy and they see him falling short of that in the power areas. They honestly believe he’s looking to walk rather than just not swinging at bad pitches as he’s looking for a big hit, and just having to settle for the walk and not making an out. Joe Fan doesn’t get it. They don’t want to invest the time and dedication to learn more about the game and that’s ok. But, that’s why you need to have some announcers that do know how things are changing in the game and that can educate Joe Fan some without making it too egg-head and complicated.

      • LW: what you describe is a lot of people who post on the Reds MLB website, when they aren’t spouting politics or calling each other names. I rarely even read comments to articles over there because it is so disheartening.

      • I bet it would be amazing how different this convo would be (nationally speaking) if Votto would have hit a single HR more each of the last 2 years. Sort of bad luck to sit on 29 and 29 two straight years.

      • If Votto had Pedroia and Bogart’s hitting ahead of him and Mookie Betts/Big Papi behind him…or the cubs.Blue jays hitter with him…..He’s have those stats and then some…Other than the shin soo choo year….Votto hasn’t had a good line up around him.
        It was Marty’s tone that was so venomous and bellicose…Obviously you can debate the contract…But MB clearly has something personal against Votto.

    • I like this. If you consider Marty to the president of the Reds Average Fan Club, his might be a statement formally offered by the group.

      He likely represents many fans with that statement. Unfortunately (or fortunately) those fans aren’t the most iconic media man in the history of the franchise who repeatedly trashes our best player in public.

      • BTW, I like this thought from the poster. Marty’s words are ill conceived, inaccurate and in poor taste.

        Bloggers can write those things, we hold Marty and legends like him to a higher standard traditionally.

        • Yes, especially when said legends are speaking about their fellow employee. I just think MB reflects very poorly on the Reds organization when considering his “ill conceived, inaccurate and in poor taste comments” and the number of those types of comments he’s made publicly.

    • In some respects–save for reading about the game in the paper–I fit the average fan profile. Votto is, visibly, the best hitter on the team and usually the best hitter on either team in any game. Marty is just wrong about this.

  24. No
    I don’t agree.

  25. Easy no vote. But I think there’s something else going on that I haven’t noticed reading the comments. Winning. If the Reds are winning this conversation probably isn’t happening. If the Reds are winning and Votto is finishing top-10 in MVP voting then the contract is brilliant. Now, I know MB has been anti-Votto for a long time, but losing just breeds contempt. That’s making the problem much bigger.

    • You are right. Winning fixes all ills. Funny thing is, Votto is finishing Top 10 in MVP.

      He has every year of his career that he’s been healthy and played a full season with the exception of 2008 I think. Perhaps 2009.

  26. There is a bit of a selection bias in this poll. People that know how to navigate the internet and are literate and all…

  27. Marty seems to be combining a couple of things: (1) his dislike for Votto because he hasn’t driven in enough runs, and (2) the timing of the deal.

    On the first one, which you can see when he talks about not caring about OPS, is based on a flawed and antiquated understanding of what makes a good player and what makes a good team. Marty should be ignored whenever he says things like this, and most people who read Redleg Nation already know that.

    The second is the more interesting point. In the same way that having a high-priced closer doesn’t make sense for a losing team, one could make the argument that paying any player $20+ million doesn’t make sense when the rest of the team is terrible. I myself argued in 2015 that everyone that could be traded for prospects should be, given how long the rebuild is likely to take.

    To the extent that Votto’s deal made him difficult to trade, you could say that it was a bad one, only in the sense that the Reds made a bunch of other bad moves that made them a bad team, which then made Votto (a great player on a fair deal) a pointless luxury.

    But I haven’t read a single article that has ever said that the Reds have tried to shop Votto and couldn’t because of his contract. Given his production, I am very confident that the Reds could move Votto for top notch prospects and take on none, or very little, of his salary. I just don’t think they want to.

    Without any evidence that the Reds have tried to trade Votto and couldn’t get good value for him, I see no way that you could argue his contract is bad. Really it was the other moves that the Reds made that turned a World Series-caliber team in 2012 into a disaster in 3 years that are the problem. Now that the Reds are bad and rebuilding, Votto stands out, but that doesn’t make his deal bad.

    The much more important question is what were the moves that made this team bad? It is pretty clear that the guy that averages a 6+ win season when healthy isn’t the problem.

    • Votto has also repeatedly said he has no desire or intention of going elsewhere. Without him giving up his no-trade clause, dealing him isn’t an option. I have no idea if the team has checked the market, or been approached, to see what they could get for him but it doesn’t matter anyway since JV holds all the cards. I’m also biased in that I don’t want him traded. I’m still an optimist who thinks they can be competitive in 2018.

      • It’s true that Votto has said he likes playing in Cincy and I believe him, but it doesn’t do major league players any good to go around saying they want to be dealt publicly. It just angers the fans.

        Most players want to play on winning teams. If the Reds told him that they weren’t going to be good for another three years, but that they could get good value for him and move him to say Toronto, I think there’s a chance he says yes.

        My point is that there is no indication that either side wants to move him. It’s not like the front office has come out and said they want to trade him, or forced him to use that no-trade clause a la Brandon Phillips.

        That’s because I think they like his deal, and see him as part of the next good Reds team. Which is fine, and another argument against Marty.

        • I could be wrong here bit I think JV has gone out of his way to say he isn’t going anywhere even when the question wasn’t being posed. That may just be the faulty workings of my aging brain on that however.

  28. I read Marty’s comments several times that Chad posted.

    Joey Votto could not do anything to make Marty think this is a good contract. He could hit 40 HR this season & Marty would still think this is a bad contract. Marty believes the contract is too long & too much money especially on the back end. He is probably thinking about the Cards not paying Pujols & not missing a beat. Unfortunately the Reds are not the Cards.

    I am of the same generation as Marty. I admit he is hard to listen to. Regrettably after Marty leaves we will have to deal with Thom. I would much rather listen to Jim Kelch.

    I like Votto. I’m glad he is a Red. Last year we saw some leadership skills from him working with BHam. I hope that continues this year and maybe with some of the other players. He has decided not to play in the World Baseball Classic. He says he wants to work on getting better. That says a lot.

    Marty, whether you think his contract is bad or good, Joey Votto will be a Red for some time. You might as well as get use to saying hitting third & playing first base, JOEY VOTTO.

  29. I’d bet this all boils down, as usual, to statistics.

    I’d bet a majority of people who think the contract is bad would think the contract was fine if Joey hits 30 HR the last 2 years (instead of 29) and drives in 100 each year (instead of 80 something and 90 something).

    As far as Marty is concerned, he just personally doesn’t like Joey. There’s no logic behind his sentiment and I don’t know where it came from. Perhaps Joey snubbed Marty for an interview early in his career? Regardless, Marty commenting on Votto can’t be viewed as logical or journalistic in any way. It’s abject fanaticism (if that can be used to describe someone who isn’t a fan…hmm…), much the way the conservative pundits destroy Obama and the liberal pundits destroy Trump.

    At this point, I’ve decided to do my best to forget about Marty’s existence and affiliation with my beloved Redlegs. He doesn’t offer anything beneficial to my life and doesn’t increase my understanding or enjoyment of baseball.

    • After Joey’s MVP season, I’m convinced that Marty expected a perennial 35 to 40 home runs per season from him. Not someone willing to take a walk with a runner in scoring position. So any conversation about OBP or OPS is going to set him off. … Candidly, I wonder if the Reds’ front office shared Marty’s expectations as well.

    • I’m pretty certain that “fan”came from “fanatic,” not the reverse. So, yes, a non-fan can be, and often is, a fanatic.

  30. One last point. Votto is our Jeter. I’m sure there aren’t many Yankee fans complaining about his last contract.

    • Yeah, I try to make this point every so often. Votto is the last Red that has a shot to be inducted in the HOF for the next 25+ years. Perhaps a current minor leaguer will, but after a career and a waiting period, we’re looking at a quarter-century minimum, and likely much, much longer. Votto’s odds now are 50/50 at worst.

    • Individual baseball performance wise, yes. From a media/celebrity standpoint, not even close, Jeter wins in a landslide. Also, rings matter, and Jeter has a bunch.

    • Barry Larkin’s last contract with the Reds had its doubters and was given more as a “thanks for all you’ve done” type thing, with Griffey pitching in to help, if I’m not mistaken…BL was way past his prime at that point. Good teams can give contracts like that, teams that are struggling to win and rebuilding should not. Votto and Larkin’s contracts are apples and oranges, but still, Votto will be earning a lot of money for a guy in his late 30’s when these younger guys like Peraza, Suarez, Senzel, and Herrera will be looking for long term contracts. In the end, though, Reds FO can spend as much as they want, there is no cap, but they act very cash strapped at times. The end game won’t be pretty. Unless Votto voluntarily walks away and hangs up the cleats (which he has said he would once he’s not playing to his standards), this could get awkward…from what I’ve seen the last few seasons out of the Reds, I’m not sure they navigate those waters well. I hope I’m wrong.

  31. I have not even read the article yet. The answer is NO!!!!!!

    • By the way my favorite quote is what Bench told Marty in 1975 after they won the series . . . . . Marty said “WE WON” and Jonny said “WHO WON? HOW MANY HITS DID YOU GET?”

      • I heard Marty tell that story on-air last season, and it was Jack Billingham, not Johnny Bench, in that account. Maybe Bench told him the same thing…. To which I say, the heck with that. These guys get a smidge of my money but a ton of my time, so I’m entitled to say WE. As in, I hope WE get this rebuilt right.

        And if any player doesn’t like it that fans relate to the team that way, too bad.

  32. Admittedly, baseball performance aside, Votto doesn’t exactly endear himself to the local media, and Marty is local media. My guess is Marty thinks Votto’s salary marks him as a “face of the franchise” that would be more friendly and available to the press after games, but Votto’s just not that guy. I got the same impression between Marty and Junior Griffey, but not as extreme: Junior was a little better with the press and Marty knew him as a kid, so it likely softened his opinion a bit.

    Marty’s job is in entertainment; Votto makes his money with baseball stats but lacks as an entertainer. His most prolific ability, getting on base via walk, is valuable to a team’s chances of winning but rarely ever gives the announcer an exciting moment to fire up the fans. He’s a great player but not a “star” in the media sense. Marty can forgive the cheating and tax fraud from Rose because he’s a dynamite radio personality and great interview, he would probably be more warm to Votto (and not worry about the contract and walks so much) if he were more friendly and fun on-air.

    (Frankly, MLB in general could use more “media stars”; they can’t even convince Harper and Trout to hit in the derby.)

    • I disagree that “walks” are Votto’s primary ability. The guy has a .313 career batting average and .536 slugging. Those are as good or better than most HOFers, and by the way basically the exact same slugging averge as Griffey Jr (who was no great interview either).

      Yes, Votto is legendary at getting on base, and yes that helps his team win, but he ALSO is the best at the other “traditional” stats too. If he was a free agent he would get 30 million a year easy, so stop the lunacy.

      • Fair enough. I’m trying to play a bit of devil’s advocate here. If I’m in Reds media or on the broadcast team, I want more off-the-field from Votto. My guess: Marty would not sign ANYONE in MLB to Joey’s contract, unless they offered some media star wattage as well as on-field excellence, like Lebron. And I’m pretty sure MLB does not have a Lebron.

        What do I think? Probably a good contract, compared to other MLB contracts.

  33. Forbes top-10 earners in MLB in 2016, with their 2016 MLB salary in ( ).
    1. Clayton Kershaw $32.8MM ($32MM)
    2. David Price $30.5MM ($30MM)
    3. Miguel Cabrera $30MM ($28MM)
    4. Justin Verlander $28.6MM ($28MM)
    5. Yoenis Cespedes $28.1MM ($27.5MM)
    6. Albert Pujols $27MM ($25MM)
    7. Robinson Cano $27MM ($24MM)
    8. Josh Hamilton $26.2MM ($26MM)
    9. CC Sabathia $25.7MM ($25MM)
    10.Ryan Howard $25.6MM ($25MM)

    Joey Votto is a top-10 player in MLB, he just isn’t paid like one. I would take Joey Votto and his contract over just about every single one of these. Miggy and Kershaw give me pause, but I still would take Votto and his contract.

    • The problem with this that supports Marty is look how many guys on that list signed contracts that look terrible now.

      Pujols was a one win player last year, Sabathia had a bounce back year but has been worth 4 wins over the last 3, Hamilton didn’t play last year and was worth 1.5 wins over the previous 2 years, and Howard is still in the game but probably shouldn’t be as he’s been below replacement level 4 of the last 5 seasons.

      If there’s any argument against Votto’s contract its that it was too long, and 4 of the top 10 paid guys last year are the evidence to support it.

      • BP’s contract ended up being 2 years too long. In the end, we may say that Votto’s was 1 or 2 years too long. Maybe. There are many more high dollar contracts that are bad, but Joey Votto’s isn’t one of them. Zack Grienke from last year, but some of his is deferred, so he didn’t make the top-10. Giancarlo Stanton’s looks like one that will be an albatross for Miami. I am not in favor of these long term deals, more than 4 or 5 years in length. There is a huge risk in giving such contracts to starting pitchers. And if this winter is any indication, now it looks like teams are not giving almost all of the offensive players any such considerations any more.

  34. The irony in all of this is that last year, in the 2nd half Votto found a way to be the guy that Marty and many others have said they wanted him to be, without sacrificing overall production.

    The argument that Marty and his disciples always made was that Votto needs to make more contact, walk less, drive in more runs. The Votto defenders, like myself, said that expanding the zone would bring more ribbies but less overall value because he would making more outs.

    But in the second half last year, Votto started swinging more, walking less, and making more contact. His walk rate was 14 percent in August and 10 percent in September and October. Still above average, but not the 17-20 percent that we have seen from Joey in recent years. His overall swing percentage was the highest it has been since 2011, and if I could find splits for that I believe it would show that he was swinging a lot more in the second half.

    And it worked because Joey was getting tons of hits. He was actually trading walks and strikeouts for base hits. And what about the RBI? Well, only 2 players in the NL had more RBI than Joey in the 2nd half and one of those guys plays in Coors Field. For the season he hit .360 with RISP.

    And they are still not satisfied. Votto was great by any measure last year, not just advanced metrics. So what is Marty mad about now? When this first started, with the ranting that Joey needed to swing more and drive in more runs, I thought they were wrong, but i also though that they had a somewhat defensible argument. That the rest of the lineup was so bad, that Joey needed to expand a little to make something happen. Again, I didn’t agree but I could see their point. But after what Joey did last year, and they still didn’t recognize it, just shows that this is personal for Marty and many others and has nothing to do with actual production.

  35. I’m sort of on the fence of yes/no with Votto’s contracts. And, this gets to me with Jocketty’s management of the ballclub. The timeline of his contracts just weren’t very good at all. Giving Bruce his contract pretty much based on one HR that won the division was stupid. Giving Devin that contract after a good rookie season, without seeing if he could repeat the season, was stupid. It’s just little bits for me, but I see most little bits everywhere. And, thus, a bunch of little bits add up to a lot.

    Specifically with Votto, when he signed the contract, I felt it was a good contract for us. But, now that we are losing, we don’t need to have that contract around so much. If we do keep him on, I do believe he would be a bargain. But, since we are losing right now, right now, I don’t believe it’s a “bad” contract. I believe it’s a “needless” contract.

    It’s all the little bits with Jocketty’s contracts I wouldn’t have done. I wouldn’t have signed Votto for so long. I wouldn’t have extended BP, going with a “2nd baseman by committee” essentially until we “get our guy”. The rest contract-wise:

    – I believe Cozart is fine. I wouldn’t be surprised we let him go. But, for a contract, I don’t believe it’s bad.
    – Suarez is fine
    – Hamilton has proven enough for me now I believe that I would extend him for some years now
    – I wouldn’t extend Duvall unless he shows he can repeat last season
    – Let left field play out
    – I wouldn’t have extended Devin until he showed he could repeat his rookie season. Even before he got hurt, I didn’t like the extension.
    – Part 2 with Devin, if I extended him, I would have extended him longer than that. An All-pro as a rookie, and we only get 4 more years? That was ridiculous to me.
    – I would have initially extended Cueto a couple of more years.
    – I wouldn’t have extended Homer, letting him go. I would have given that extension to Leake. With this and Cueto, we would have had some semblance of a starting rotation still around here.

    Others that involved contracts but not as much extending them or not:
    – I still don’t understand why we went after Marshall
    – I wouldn’t have given up 4 players for Latos
    – I wouldn’t have gone after Broxton
    – I wouldn’t have extended Baker
    – I wouldn’t have listened to Baker when Baker went to the papers to cry about wanting a decision on Chapman. Chapman was originally moved up because we needed lefty help in the bullpen; I could understand that. However, bring Chapman up until you find a more permanent solution for that (less than a season; we traded one possibility away in bringing Broxton in). Once done, I would have sent Chapman back down to work on starting for at least one more season. If it worked, great. If not, have him close for a couple of seasons, maybe extending him, but then trading him off.

    • The problem with saying Votto is a luxury when we stink is that what would 20 million in savings on his contract buy you on the market. Would it get you an ace? No. Would it get a better hitter, he’ll no. Would it get you 3 good players, No (maybe 1 good and 2 avetage).

      • It would free up salary space on any of the young players you currently have that want to extend. Not saying that I know the Reds’ budget specifically, for no one really knows except the FO, and only as an example, referring to what I mentioned, maybe they did want to extend Devin longer and wanted to extend Leake. But, with Votto’s contract eating so much money, we couldn’t pull the trigger and, thus, lost Leake and couldn’t extend Devin any longer.

        • Good thing they didn’t extend Devin any longer considering what’s transpired since, eh? So would you conclude that JV’s contract has benefitted the Reds more than just his onfield production?

        • It’s all a matter of perspective. What’s your perspective? I gave mine.

        • I’m in the camp that says Votto’s contract isn’t a “needless” contract no matter what the Reds record has been. He’s produced more value than he’s getting paid and the Reds aren’t going to find a better deal for that production. Moreover, his contract isn’t at all what’s holding the team back. That’s been pretty well explained here.

          You’re essentially saying you don’t trust the Reds decision makers based on the contracts and extensions they’ve given out, with the implication being that there were better alternatives available. But, if you’re that negative about the FO’s judgment, what makes you think they would have been able to make competent decisions if they went in a different direction?

          Of course, you’re using pretty speculative logic and a healthy does of hindsight above, but I’ll overlook that for the moment. You really don’t elaborate on any alternative solutions the team should have pursued. Who should the Reds have targeted in acquisitions? What would they have had to give up to acquire those targets?

    • We needed serious help in the bullpen and that’s why we went after Marshall. When we first brought him in, he did an excellent job and did what the Reds needed him to do. I was also ok with the extension. It was good setup-player and maybe 2nd-tier closer money but not a budget killer. Also, Marshall had shown exceptional health over his entire career up until the point he got hurt. Marshall getting hurt was just bad luck.

      As for Latos, 2012 wouldn’t have happened without him. Also, out of the 4 players given up, there have been 2 of them that the Reds may have some regret about. Latos was worth those 4 players. He cost the Reds very little over the time he was in Cincy and he contributed to that 2012 season big time.

      Broxton was bullpen depth. Not sure they needed to get him and was even more confused when they extended him.

      I was fine with the extension to Baker. I mean, Price is the manager now. Makes me wonder who they should have brought in instead of Baker who would have taken the job.

      I think the decision to keep Chapman at closer goes a lot deeper than Baker. There were things there that made the Reds think he wasn’t cut out for the job. Yes, this is simply speculation but that’s my take.

      My feelings on the Votto contract have been made clear in other places so no sense making this post even longer by including them here.

      • At the time, I thought Marshall was acquired to become the closer. His salary would have looked relatively inexpensive in that case, instead of expensive pitching the 7-8 innings. Ryan Madson later fell into their laps (a great signing, really) and would have closed in 2012. I got the sense that Jocketty was in favor of Marshall closing but Baker didn’t think Marshall’s stuff (reliance on off speed pitches) was closer-like. So when Marshall had a couple early-season hiccups, Baker latched on to Chapman, who was otherwise destined to start.

  36. Many of us have been disappointed in Marty for a while. We grew up with Marty and Joe, and we loved hearing them. Now, I still tune in, but cringe more often than ever when Marty pontificates. Additionally, I do not think that Bob C will push him out; he, too, is a fan and has historically loved the Famer’s work. Is there a creative way to resolve this well?

    Has any team ever had two sets of announcers (besides having announcers for a second language broadcast)? How about an analytics-savvy team in a second booth? Sure, they wouldn’t get the clout of WLW, but could be online and perhaps on another channel. These broadcasters could be less well known and therefore less expensive, and could help engage a new generation of fans. Thoughts? Anyone with any examples or knowledge to share on the idea?

  37. Marty needs to retire. He is a self-absorbed man who thinks he is far more important than he is. He no love nyet entertains anyone.

  38. What really set Marty off (although he had already complained loudly about Cincinnati drivers and the Bengals) was when the caller mentioned OPS. And Bryce Harper.

  39. I think joeys contract was influenced by the pujos contract

  40. Nice to have an announcer that says what he really thinks.
    I live just south of Denver, and the announcers here, just kiss the back side of the Rockies.
    I would rather MB say what he thinks.

    • I see your point, but if what he thinks is stupid and not worth hearing, it doesn’t improve the situation.

  41. He is 100% correct.

  42. What I would honestly like to see is Pete Rose and Marty get into an open discussion on the local media (Cincinnnati) and talk about Joey Votto. Pete has said repeatedly that Joey is an elite hitter and a great player. Pete did actually play baseball. Perhaps if Pete publicly (but gently) criticized Marty, he might change his tune (doubtful).
    I cannot for the life of me understand why Bob Castelini puts up with Marty bad-mouthing his best player. As others have said, the Reds are an entertainment product, and Joey is the best player they have, period.
    Joey is a great player, and a great example to the rest of the team. After a frankly terrible start in 2016 (first two months), I thought there was actually something seriously wrong with Joey. After June 1, he put on an incredible drive of hitting and production. A lot of players might have just phoned it in the rest of the season, as the Reds stunk for the first two months.
    Joey is driven and the consumate professional player. Marty is simply dead wrong.
    DEAD WRONG!.
    Joey hears what Marty says, believe me. There will never be any kind of reconciliation unless it comes from Marty. Joey has nothing to apologize for.
    For what Joey is paid, the Reds could not buy more talent, either pitching or hitting. At the core of any great or pennant winning team, is a core of great players. If the Reds are ever going to contend in the next few years, which I think is possible, they need Joey Votto in the line up.

  43. I don’t ever listen to Marty. But He did not say Votto’s contract was bad, just bad for the Reds. I agree, it is horrible as far as the Reds are concerned.

    • No, it is not a bad contract for the Reds. They get a lot of value for what they pay Joey. Without him, who would play First Base? The Reds’ problem is pitching, not Joey Votto’s contract. That’s what keeps them from winning. How many GOOD pitchers would Joey’s 22 Mil paid in 2016 have bought, if they went out and spent it on a free agent? One? One and half? They still would lose.

      • The problem is Votto’s contract represents 33% of the Reds payroll. That is plain stupid for any organization. Any organization that has that kind of outlay for a single player cant possibly win.

        • I think the point is that it is 33 percent of the payroll, but the Reds should have the money to make other moves if they so choose. That contract is not stopping them. His contract is such a huge part because the overall payroll is so low.

        • Not if most of your other players are young and don’t have large contracts.

        • Not if that $80-million or so really is the team’s payroll cap. Do you really think it is though? The Reds have spent over $115-million in the past. If $80-million is really the cap then the Reds are in worse financial straights than we thought and the team probably should be moved.

  44. Phillips and Bailey’s contracts were both much worse. Votto is producing at a high level still. Someone was going to pay him that. He is a reason to come to the ballpark to see what he will do next

    • Phillip’s contract is not terrible, but not the greatest value here in the last two years (2016 and 2017). He actually had a “not bad” year in 2016.
      His unwilingness to accept a trade is what is souring many fans on him. They are rebuilding and he is an old player.
      Mesoraco’s contract is terrible (and no fault of Devin being injured) as was Bailey’s.
      I really don’t expect too much out of either of them in 2017, either. These are two things that hurt the Reds. Paying Skip Schumacher 4 mil for two years of negative WAR was stupid.

      Votto has provided value for his contract, and will likely continue to do so for the next few years. Come 2021 or 2022, I’m sure that Marty will say something like “I told you so!”.

  45. So what he is saying is we get to choose between watching a losing team with or without a potential HOF caliber player? If you lose either way, why would you not want to at least get to see Votto hit every day? It’s a thing of beauty. One which we take for granted. But hey, we are the team that traded Frank Robinson. (Not saying they are the same level player, just saying)

  46. I love Marty, all the way back to the early 70s. GREAT calls. But he isn’t baseball God Zues. He is Wrong on Votts! Votto is one of the best ever and someone else would have paid that. I’m glad we did, I love seeing what he’s doing in a Reds uniform. Hey Marty, maybe they lose way more than 94 without him.

  47. When JV got that contract, I thought it was a bit of a reach. For what this franchise was accustomed to paying at that time, it set a new standard. It made a statement, ‘This team means business! We are going to compete every year!’ Unfortunately, Bob C has not followed up the promise of that contract. BP did not get the same treatment and has resented it every step of the way. And continues, as of his latest refusal to be traded, to prove his bitter resentment. Soooo, the promise of what at the time was a huge investment, has not materialized.

    Yes, Votto has proven he is worth the money he is being paid. He made strides last year that TCT correctly pointed out. That has proven to be JV’s ‘modus aparendi’ during his career. He is truly a deep thinker when it comes to his hitting. When he made the decision not to play in the WBC in order to work on some things…well, we probably will see what those things are, soon enough. He is a remarkable hitter! I have a feeling he could have hit 40 or more HR’s in multiple years, if that were his focus. It is not. Being a ‘complete’ hitter is more to his liking.

    Marty does not care to understand the more esoteric baseball stats. He believes, I think, that he does not need to grow any longer. He is happy to rest on his laurels, rather than invest time and effort in learning about OPS, OPS+, OBP, WAR, fWAR,…etc. After all, he has already reached the HOF! As such, he has gotten a little ‘around the bend’, over the last few years. It would help us all if Bob C would reign him in a little.

    It would also benefit us, as Reds fans, if he would do a lot of things. Some of which I think he will never do. Like having jettisoned Walt Jocketty a few years ago. Better yet, to have never rescued him off the scrap heap the Cardinals threw him on in the first place! That ship sailed a long time ago, just like getting rid of Dusty after the debacle against the Giants in the playoffs.

    The point is, we aren’t the Cardinals, the Yankees, or even the Pirates. We are the Bob Castellini owned Redlegs. At this point, I am not sure we are ever going to get to the level of the most successful organizations, as we once were. But I hope so! If only Bob would hire some of the people on this website! Wow!

  48. Maybe he thinks like me. $25 million is to much to pay any athlete unless they guarantee you victory. Jordan is his prime? Probably worth every cent. I can’t think of any other player out there worth even $1 million in comparison.
    I have watched the salaries skyrocket over the years and one thing has been consistently the same. Players as they make more money care less about winning and more about their contract. If I was in their position I would probably do the same thing. At some point that line between and an entertaining fun sport and a business shows up. Every major league player out there is going to go over to the side of the business and that is not to the benefit of the fan.

    I also agree that if your team is going to lose with a massive contract might as well sell the contract and lose by the same amount. It isn’t like the Reds will be in the World Series in the next 10 years or so. Better to let Votto go play in Toronto (possibly for even more money, only reason he would sign off on it.) and at least work for a franchise that is currently trying to win.

  49. As to what does the front office think about MB saying these kinds of things etc…. Has anyone else wondered if perhaps they love it because it creates buzz and talk about the team in the dead of the off season when the FO itself has done pretty much literally nothing to do the same. In essence, Marty’s actions provide a fair amount of obfuscation which redirects attention away from the FO’s inaction and failures in the winter of discontent.

  50. Marty’s time has passed. People who note that the caller’s mention of OPS set him off are right; he’s clearly threatened by the new wave of data driven analysis (although 10+ years in, is any of this still “new”)? His reaction is sad, but predictable. The bitterness and spite that he spews on other topics are also unfortunate.

    It’s tough to see an icon go bad, but I suggest we all just deal with it and move on. He’s not going to change and we’re not going to change him. As many have noted, the typical fan loves Marty (or at least their childhood remembrance of him). Radio is a ratings-driven business, so Reds management is probably making the right decision to let him stay on. After all, the vast majority people of the people on this site are going to remain fans regardless as to whether or not Marty stays or goes. But you risk alienating “Joe Fan” if you unceremoniously show him the door.

    If management were smart, they’d work to establish a transition plan for Marty over the next year or two. Be generous. But this is also a man with a big ego and a lot of pride. At the end of the day, he’s not going to want to be remembered for being fired. He’s going to want a farewell tour and to go out on top. The Reds should use that desire to their advantage.

  51. Marty is opinionated. That’s nothing new. His epic Cubs fan rant is like music to me. Do I agree with him? I agree it MIGHT be better to be able to spin Votto for talent. His discourse here seems to be like a personal conversation with Votto. Not sure why there’s no diplomacy…well its Marty.

    I could agree with him in part.

  52. I disagree 1,000%! Reds fans need to sit back and enjoy the opportunity to witness a true master at his craft.

  53. To want to trade joey votto is absolute insanity, as much I’ve loved listening to Marty the last 30 years, he needs to be more careful about what he says, he’s very well respected in the reds community, and to say his ideas are antiquated would be an understatement. IMHO anyway.

  54. I 100 PERCENT echo marty’s comments.

  55. I’ve long questioned whether Votto challenges Brenneman’s sense of masculinity. There’s something about Votto he doesn’t like at a visceral level.

    Even at his current price, Votto is creating excess value over his salary. How many players in the MLB who make over 10m a season can say the same? If Marty doesn’t care about OPS, baseball’s going to a very unpleasant place for him.

  56. I hate to say it, but I agree with MB. I am a fan of JV and I wasn’t necessarily against the contract, but I think the timing has been bad for the reds. The contract is structured so that JV produces excess value in the early years and then the reds take on more back end risk as the annual cost escalates and JV ages/declines.

    Will JV play up to the value of his contract in the later years? It is possible, he is a great player, but it is risky due to potential decline and injury. The red’s reward for accepting this risk is the excess value that JV has produced in the early years of the contract. What have they done with this reward other than be one of the worst teams in baseball?

    Granted, that is not JV’s fault and they would have been worse without him, but I just don’t see how this deal makes sense given what they have been able to do with the excess value he produced.

  57. I am fine either way actually. I’d be just fine with a “good” trade of Votto, meaning getting a top prospect and another one or two that are promising. We should be getting a top 25 MLB prospect and another in the top 100. Yes, he has big salary, but the talent matches it, it’s not like he has been a bust.

    I am also fine if they keep him. He won’t be worth it (and killing the team) in a few years, but the next couple he will earn every bit of current pay, plus some.

    I’d lean trading simply because if they wait a year or two and THEN decide he is hurting putting together a good team, it will be too late and they’re won’t be any takers unless the Reds take back crap or pay half the remaining contract.

    So trade now for max value, or hold till he is a detriment (payroll and on the field) and hope it doesn’t keep the Reds from being a true contender in 4 or 5 years.

  58. Not now, almost never.

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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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