The worse could be yet to come for the Cincinnati Reds. What seemed like great ideas at the time, have taken an ominous, franchise-killing turn. The big-money contracts for Joey Votto and Homer Bailey could bury the Reds.
There was some expectation when the contract extensions were signed for Votto and Bailey that the beginning years of the contract would reap much more return on investment than the outlying years, especially for Votto whose deal pays him $25 million annually from 2018 through 2023.
Now, the doubts about Votto’s health and his approach to hitting as more of an on-base batter than a power production source has got to have Reds’ ownership squirming with anxiety. The 10-year, $225 million extension that Votto signed has taken a quick turn from gutsy move, to win now, to short and long-term bust.
Of course, the return of a mashing Votto would go a long way to dispel doubts about his short-term future. Unfortunately, the longer Votto remains injured and the more times he gets hurt, the larger the cloud will appear over the wisdom of a potentially franchise-killing contract.
To a lesser extent, the same could be said about Bailey. The Reds likely had a choice to extend three other starters — Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos and Mike Leake — who will all be free-agent eligible after the 2015 season. Instead, the Reds perhaps bought into the marketing hype and ceiling upside with Bailey, who has vexed Reds fans seemingly forever with his inability to fully realize the electric potential that he has demonstrated most noticeably in throwing two no-hitters.
Bailey’s contract (six years, $105 million) isn’t quite as costly as Votto’s, but it came at the expense of signing one of three pitchers who are better than Bailey right now and perhaps better than Bailey will ever be.