Blog Entry

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

Posted on: January 15, 2012 12:28 pm

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The gut reaction to today's Would You Rather Have is the easiest so far and probably the easiest of the entire series. But the gut reaction isn't always the easiest.

Today we look at two first basemen, Eric Hosmer of the Royals and Joey Votto of the Reds. While the easy answer is Votto -- the 2010 National League MVP -- the long view makes the question more difficult. The difference in players today isn't just what they can do on the field at the moment, it also includes the future and how long you can keep a player. So today's question isn't just Hosmer or Votto, it's better put as Would You Rather Have Hosmer for six years or Votto for two?

The case for Hosmer

Hosmer's case comes down to promise (and price). A rookie in 2011, Hosmer hit .293/.334/.465 with 19 homers and 78 RBI in 128 games -- a year before the Royals expected him to land in Kansas City. Hosmer, the third overall pick in the 2008 draft, hadn't played above Double-A before 2011. The Royals started him in Triple-A in 2011 despite a strong spring. He responded by dominating the Pacific Coast League in his first (and only month) at the highest level in the minors, hitting .439 and getting on base in more than half his plate appearances. The Royals promoted him to the big leagues in early May. Not only did he show he belonged, he got better as the season went on, finishing strong by hitting .349 with five homers in the last month of the season.

The case for Votto

This isn't tough -- the former MVP finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2008 when he put up a 125 OPS+ and hit 24 homers. That's been his worst season as a pro. In the last three years he's hit .318/.418/.565 with a 161 OPS+. Think his numbers are inflated by playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park? Think again -- in his career he's hit better away from GABP, hitting .296/.391/.534 in Cincinnati and .329/.418/.566 away from it. Coming up through the Reds' minor leagues, everyone knew Votto could hit, but the knock against him was his glove. Since then, he's turned into a Gold Glove first baseman.

Votto, though, may only be in Cincinnati two more years. Last winter he signed a three-year, $38 million deal covering his arbitration years, but none of his free agent years. Votto will be the premier free agent of the 2013 season at the age of 30 and he won't come cheap. In all likelihood, Votto's pricetag will be more than the Reds can afford and the team's first MVP since Hall of Famer Barry Larkin will be playing in a different uniform. While Votto will be making $9.5 million in 2012 and $17 million in 2013, Hosmer will be making near the league minimum -- and he'll be wearing Royal blue for the foreseeable future.

Our call

In the end, it probably comes down to your team. If you're the Reds and looking to win immediately, you'll take Votto. If you're building for the future and watching your pennies, like the Royals, it's Hosmer. In a vacuum, I'll take Votto for two MVP-caliber seasons over the potential for more in Hosmer. Hosmer's in the Show Me State, and Votto's already shown me he's one of the premier players in the game. But saying all this, I can see a scenario in 2015 that I'm looking back in regret over this choice.

Fan Vote: Would you rather have Hosmer for six years on your favorite team or Votto for two?

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Since: Jan 16, 2012
Posted on: January 16, 2012 11:16 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Jun 30, 2007
Posted on: January 16, 2012 9:58 am

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

Well written article by Rosecrans. Votto is the clear cut better player as of right now. Hosmer has all the upside in the world, and for a 22 year old he lit the AL on fire for his first season. I think a more reasonable comparison would have been trumbo, two young rookies in the same league in their first year. No other variables to consider like contracts. Just player vs. player. If that were the case i would take Hosmer. 

Since: Jan 16, 2012
Posted on: January 16, 2012 9:22 am

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?


Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: January 16, 2012 8:53 am

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

It's winter, MLB isn't playing, but MLB writers still have to we get this.

It's ALL speculation, so why not Would you rather have: Joey Votto (for 2 years)  or Prince Fielder (for 6 years) ? It's a more accurate comparison of 2 firstbasemen who are already established, and are guaranteed to be elitely paid players going forward, one for a defined short time and one for a (projected) longer time. Hosmer could wind up injured or in AAA next year. It's not a very well thought out comparison, is it ?

As a Reds fan, I'm hardly unbiased, but I would chose Votto over Hosmer, or Fielder, and throwing Lance Berkman into the conversation is laughable. Berkman had a nice rebound year, but is clearly on the decline. Hosmer had a nice rookie season, but so did Jason Heyward in 2010 (very similar stats to Hosmer's 2011 year), and regressed the following year.

There are no sure things, and I would argue neither the Royals or the Reds are locks to have the "choice" of winning now, or winning later. Too many variables. Besides, for most teams, especially small market baseball teams, is about the business of staying competetitive enough to make money, not neccessarily compete for the World Series. How long have the Pirates, or even the Royals, hidden behind the "rebuilding" label ?  

There is no question the Reds COULD afford to sign Joey Votto beyond 2013, for $20 mil/yr or more, the questions are, will Joey Votto WANT to stay with the Reds, WILL the Reds prefer to trade Votto, or WILL the Reds choose to budget the rest of their roster around what's left after they sign Votto ? 

Since: Sep 28, 2010
Posted on: January 16, 2012 8:46 am

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

Should have been Eric Hosmer vs. Mark Trumbo.   Votto should beat nearly every hitter head to head so that is why the article had to add the contract stuff.

Since: May 22, 2007
Posted on: January 16, 2012 7:15 am

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

I would like to think the choice of taking Reds Joey Votto or Royals Eric Hosmer shouldn't be about how many years he's going to play for me. That's all future stuff. All I know, is Joey Votto is a star who is already shining and Eric Hosmer is a future star ready to shine. I thought the purpose of the article is "Who would you rather have?" not who has the most or least desirable contract. We don't know if the Reds will sign Votto to a free agent deal or doesn't have to be the Red Sox or the Yankees who get the best players.

Since: Dec 15, 2006
Posted on: January 16, 2012 1:04 am

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

If I had a choice...I'd take HOSMER cuz he would be under control for a long time....Being a RED SOX fan it isn;t an option cuz we have Agon already and no place to put Hosmer....He would be a nice piece as  trade bait for  pitching.............but we are talking about the KC ROYALS....a team like The  Pittsburgh Pirates.......both are simply teams that develop talent for the BIG market teams....Neither has done anything but develop players to trade for more talent to develop to trade for more talent.....the door revolves and the product goes to the big market teams....It's a shame but it is what it is.....I'd like to see teams like KC and PITTSBURGH develop these players AND keep them.......What a novel idea...but it's all about the benjamins...and the turnstiles.....People won't go to games and pay bookoo bucks to a kc or pitt game when they continue to put a sub .500 team on the field.....It is simply an endless cycle that will continue until the owners choose to sign those upcoming stars and not let them go to big market teams.

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: January 16, 2012 12:00 am

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

"Embarrassment of riches?"

I have got news for you...people or teams that are rich are never embarrassed about that. When I win $100 million I will not be afraid to take the money...and neither should you.

Since: Apr 26, 2008
Posted on: January 15, 2012 10:51 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

As a Royals fan, to those of you who chose Votto I can absolutely agree with your position. For the cardinal fan who had to interject himself into a question not involving his precious cards, do you think anyone cares about your thoughts? First of all, you HAD to put it in bold type, just to say "look at me!" Then to think taking Berkman over Votto, is comical. Ask anyone who'd they'd rather have on their team right now, and only the cardinal fans would chose Berkman. Without Pujols, the cards are going to slide back in their division. We'll see you all in KC this year when you infest our town.

What a loser.....

Since: Feb 23, 2009
Posted on: January 15, 2012 10:39 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

1st off u cant compare the 2 because hosmer is 5 years from his prime, and ill take him everyday and twice on sunday.....i cant believe i wasted 3 min of my lfe reading and commenting on this useless rubbish. talk about reaching for something to write about

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