Leave Joey Votto Alone
He’s at it again. Jon Heyman, leave my Cincinnati Reds alone.
Back at the trade deadline, Mr. Heyman took aim at the Reds and their way of doing business. In our last episode, Jon blamed the Reds for leaving Jay Bruce on the trading block for two years, seemingly unaware Jay was hurt in 2014 and slumped dramatically in 2015. He took the Reds to task for not trading the un-tradable Brandon Phillips, who would rather stay in Cincinnati during a rebuild than play on a playoff contender in Washington. He skewered the team for not getting near the value in trade for Aroldis Chapman that the Yankees did, never once mentioning Chapman’s very public and shocking behavior, nor the looming suspension that wrecked a deal with the Dodgers. Now, he’s at it again.
Let’s break down this latest nonsense:
Heyman: sources say the Jays have told the Reds: Don’t make any deal before letting us know.
Translation: Blue Jay front office here. If you’re in desperate money straights and are going to trade Votto away to get out from under his contract, talk to us because we might be willing to eat more $$ than other offers you might get. [click] Hello?
Heyman: Other Reds insiders also say they believe Votto prefers to stay
Hey, Jon. Insiders aren’t the only one’s saying it. Listen to the man himself, as reported by Mark Sheldon:
“I absolutely love playing here,” Votto said during Redsfest on Friday. “When all this trade stuff gets going, it’s natural for a player to have that thought process and what would you consider? I just absolutely love playing here. I really like where I live. I like my team and my job. I like the location of the ballpark and the fans and the clubhouse and the uniform and the number on my back — all the littlest things that people take for granted are very comfortable to me and something I look forward to. I don’t think of myself as anything other than a Cincinnati Red. It’s one of the really cool things about having a no-trade clause. I’m one of the rare players who has that. I get to stay a Cincinnati Red.
“I look at guys in all kinds of different sports and I admire the players that stick with one franchise and do well and ride out the rough times and experience the highs, instead of it being the kind of experience that you consume.”
Heyman: … other teams believe Votto’s $225-million, 10-year extension, which has eight years to go, makes as little sense for the small-market Reds as it did the day it was signed.
Who cares what other teams believe? I’m sure there are many executives who would like to convince the Reds it’s in their best interests to trade one of the best hitters in the game to them. Paging Brian Cashman. Paging Brian Cashman.
The impact of Joey Votto’s contract on the Reds’ bottom line may very well be overstated.
- The steady climb upward of free agent salaries suggest that the Reds’ first baseman’s contract will look less egregious with each passing year.
- The upcoming new cable tv contract will greatly ease the impact of the contract. In fact, it’s likely that the Reds factored this revenue windfall into their plans when they reworked the contract 5 years ago.
- Joey Votto is still greatly outperforming his contract and shows no signs of slowing down.
- Replacing Votto’s offensive output would not only be expensive, it would likely be impossible. The Reds’ goals are to compete sooner, not later. The rebuild was never meant to look like the one the Houston Astros undertook. They need Votto to do that.
Here’s the truth about the decision to make Joey Votto a lifetime Red. Bob Castellini needed to show his fan base he was truly serious about bringing a championship back to the Queen City. To have let Votto get away to a big market team would have undermined everything else the organization was attempting to do. It would have dramatically affected future ticket sales. It would have validated the feelings of a fan base cynical from decades of losing. Can you imagine the blowback down at 100 Joe Nuxhall Way had the Reds given up on the idea of keeping Votto after his 2010 MVP season, recognized the future cost, traded him and let his 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016 seasons and all that WAR play in a blue pinstriped uniform inside Citi Field or more elegant pinstripes across town?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve winced while watching Mike Leake stand on the mound at Busch Stadium with those silly birds perched on the front of his jersey. You’ve found yourself turning away from the television while watching Johnny Cueto’s dreadlocks swing beneath a black and orange hat. You’ve let out a sigh watching Jay Bruce standing on a patch of right field grass in Flushing, Queens in front of fans who don’t want him.
Now, the New York media wants Joey Votto out of Cincinnati????