Monday, news broke via MLB Trade Rumors that Joey Votto was close to signing a long-term contract extension with the Cincinnati Reds. Jon Heyman indicated that Votto would be signed through 2021. Ken Rosenthal backed up Jon Heyman. Bob Nightengale went in a different direction.
That's unclear. That's because Nightengale meant to type 2023, not 2013. I know that because Bob Nightengale subsequently wrote this article, including:
The Cincinnati Reds slugger on Monday agreed to a 10-year, $225 million contract extension, according to a person familiar with the deal but not authorized to speak publicly about them because the deal is not finalized. Votto's extension ties him to the Reds through 2023 and continues a wild run of baseball spending.
Votto's already under contract for the next two years. Nightengale reports that he's agreed to be under contract for the next ten after that, with a full no-trade clause. Put another way, if Nightengale's report is true, Votto will turn 40 a few weeks before this contract extension is up.
I'll be honest with you: As much as I know that this is a huge, huge deal, it's coming in the same off-season in which Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols also signed huge, huge deals, so I'm kind of numbed to the shock. Votto was looking like he'd be a hell of a free agent, so now a few front offices will have to adjust their plans. It's worth noting that Votto's also the fourth $200-million man in baseball history, after Fielder, Pujols, and Alex Rodriguez.
I don't need to tell you that this is risky. Any long-term contract is risky, and Votto's a first baseman in the National League. But you can give contracts based only on what you know at the time, and what the Reds know is that, over the past three seasons, Votto has been as good a hitter as Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, and Jose Bautista. FanGraphs has Votto about 19 wins over replacement over that span. That ties him with Ben Zobrist, which sounds weird. It also ties him with Cabrera and Troy Tulowitzki. That seems suitable company. Joey Votto is fantastic, and it looks like he's on board with the idea of being a Cincinnati Red for Life. The Reds are aboard, too.