With all the other elite first basemen signed to long-term deals, Joey Votto was going to have his time in the spotlight when his contract ended in 2013. The Reds’ first baseman was the big fish in a small pond, allowing him to cash in on a major payday. But with the recent reports that Votto is close to an extension with the Reds, that big fish might not even get a chance to swim.
Votto, 28, is two years removed from winning the Most Valuable Player award, in which he was close to becoming the first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski did it for the Red Sox in 1967. Votto is establishing himself as one of the better players in baseball, so much so that I have him as baseball’s best first baseman over guys like Pujols, Fielder, and Gonzalez. Am I crazy? Possibly. But there is something about Votto that makes him so special.
To me, Votto is a hybrid of all of those great players. He might not be the best at anything (power, average, plate discipline, etc), but he’s in the top three in every one of those categories. That’s why extending Votto before he hits the open market is a major deal for a smaller market team like the Cincinnati Reds.
I’m guessing the Reds watched the Pujols soap opera unfold this winter, realizing they needed to avoid that circus at all costs with Votto. The details of the contract aren’t know yet – but with the monster deals signed by the other guys – I’m assuming Votto’s deal will go as high was 27-28M per year.
Votto did spill a bit of beans when he spoke with the Cincinnati Enquirer about the alleged extension:
“I can’t comment till it’s done. You’ll have to ask Walt. It’s a gray area. I’ll be much more forthcoming later.”
Definitely good news to hear if you are a Reds’ fan. That’s a lot better than “I won’t talk about my contract status until it is up,” like Pujols said all last season.
If any player deserves to become one of baseball’s richest men, it’s Joseph Daniel Votto.