The Royal Heffernans

Quite possibly the best family ever

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Cincinnati Yankees

Holy cow! I was driving home Monday evening listening to 700 WLW for some Reds scoop with opening day approaching. They said that an extension with Joey Votto was imminent. I was shocked and excited, and followed the news updates online the rest of the evening. It is now official.

Joey Votto is a Red through 2024.

Not only is this the longest contract in MLB history, it is one of the richest. The 10 year extension on top of his 2 remaining contract seasons totals out to 12 years, $251.5 million. It is only the 5th contract to ever exceed $200 million with the previous 3 guys: ARod (twice), Pujols and Fielder.

There have been endless debates about this deal and what it means for the Reds' future. The overall reaction seems to be that the Reds are crazy and the deal is insane. Some idiot at CBS states:
I couldn't disagree more. The Reds are at the cusp, in many ways. Their young talent is almost matured. They have a recent Division title and playoff appearance. They are projected to compete for the Division again this year. They have a bunch of good players that are making small rookie contracts. They are pushing their budget. New MLB revenue is on the horizon from renegotiated TV deals. The Banks is finally finishing out, bringing a LOT of new people downtown to the Ballpark. Attendance, TV viewers and radio listeners is all on the rise.

A lot of things seem to be coming together for the Reds, and I think the time was right. Lock up a young superstar and build around him. I can't help but laugh at criticism of this deal. The Reds team salary is about $76 million. That is about 19th in the league. Compare that to the Yankees at $196 million, and you may wonder how the Reds can afford Votto. Well, he is making $12 million this year and $17 million next year. This extension adds about $8 million to the current payroll per year. That still leaves the Reds well below $100 million. So really it doesn't break the bank. Will the Reds be able to sign other players? OF COURSE!!! All signs above point to improved income for the team and I think we can count on a competitive team for the next decade.

Something tells me that people are just jealous or incredulous that the small-market Reds bucked the trend and extended their young superstar at market value. Who would you rather have:

Pujols: 10 years / $240 million / 32 / Career .328/42 HR/126 RBI
In decline over last 3 years which will continue

Fielder: 9 years / $214 million / 27 / .282/37 HR/106 RBI
At peak, with no real improvement coming

Votto: 12 years / $251.5 million / 28 / .313/31 HR/105 RBI
Still without a cleanup hitter ever behind him, with big improvement possible

I go with Votto, no matter what team I am. The guy has his own cereal!!! By the way, with both Pujols and Fielder now in the AL, and Howard out in Philly, I think Votto is already the starting 1B for the National League at the All-Star game - maybe for the next 10 years!

I am very excited about the season, and plan on making a nice purchase next time I hit a game.


Kevin said...

I'm not going to lie, I'm wicked excited about this deal. Ted laid out all the financial reason why it works. But I also think it sends a big message from the Reds to the rest of the league. The Reds are willing to spend money on talent - Chapman and Votto are out of character for the Reds, and no one, especially the pundits out there, know what to expect next.

Also, it makes Reds fans, who are obsessively loyal, even more fanatical in our team. Not just the players, either, but in management. Jocketty and Castellini are awesome in my book. And it's great to see the Reds change from a culture of "building" to a culture of "winning".

I just hope we're able to re-sign Brandon Phillips for 3-4 years and Cozart meets expectations. Our infield could be stacked! Now if only there was a LF out there somewhere...

Colin and Liz said...

I would be in on this deal 100% if it was for 10 years and not 12. Why didn't the Reds tear up his current contract that runs through 2013 and just start with a new 10 year deal that was in the 200 - 230 million range? That seems fair and doesn't leave us with Votto under contract during his age 38 and 39 years, which is what we have now. I am just a little weary about this deal in 7 or 8 years, but I guess I should shut my yapper and be thankful we have the best player in baseball for the rest of his career. Let's just hope he stays happy and productive!

Kevin said...

On the other hand, Colin, we have him for the next two years at a "discount" rate. He'll "only" make $11 million this year, and $17 million next year. If we'd cut up his current contract, we'd be paying a lot more for him right now, and that would really put a hurting on our chances to re-sign Phillips.

ian said...

I'm excited, but it's definitely a risky deal. All those financial windfalls Ted mentions haven't happened yet and the Reds are a small market team. The Reds now have a LOT of their payroll tied up in Votto - and they don't have the revenue streams of teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Angels with their private TV licensing deals. The Reds need to contend to make this work, otherwise attendance will go down and this deal will hang around their necks like a noose, leaving them no flexibility to sign players. And, god forbid, something happen to Votto - stuck with a huge, guaranteed contract and only a handful of teams that could even entertain a trade! Also, I think we may have overspent because I don't think Votto had any intention or desire to go to a bigger market than Cincinnati. He had a nervous breakdown playing for the Reds! There's no way he could thrive in Chicago, Boston, New York, or LA.

That said, I like that with Bruce, Latos, Madson, and now Votto, the Reds are trying to bring in and retain talent and are not just resigned to watch their best players leave to sign contracts with bigger market teams. Now they just need to win...

ian said...
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