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: Aug 22, 2007
Posted on: January 15, 2012 10:33 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

I guess the columnist didn't dumb it down enough for you to make it obvious he understands they are at different points in their career.  Next time rather than just post a the column first so you don't look stupid.  He clearly states that Votto has already proven himself, while Hosmer is cheaper and has great promise....thus the question of what would you rather have, a guy about to break out for 6 years...or a guy at his peak for 2. 

Since: Sep 9, 2009
Posted on: January 15, 2012 10:03 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

Really Hosmer and Votto? Votto is a proven MVP, Hosmer proved he was good enough to make the royals halfway thru last season. Not even close

Since: Jul 3, 2007
Posted on: January 15, 2012 10:00 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

Hey I'm a fan of neither team, and I think both players are similarly awesome. But the idea of taking Hosmer over Votto has seriously had me sitting here for the last twenty minutes wondering...why?Ever? ever ever ever? It seems so have one guy whose a perrenial MVP candidate and another guy who simply has the raw material to become that, so you take the guy you already know is all that...and Votto's still on the favorable side of 30. But hey, I guess not just anyone on this board belongs in a major league front office

Since: Jun 7, 2007
Posted on: January 15, 2012 9:25 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

The only reason he did not hit over 20 homers is because he did not start the season in the big leagues. While I would love to have Votto on my team, I will go with Hosmer. I see nothing but improvement out of Hosmer, even improvemnet with his glove. 

Since: May 24, 2009
Posted on: January 15, 2012 8:20 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

I cannot understand the thinking of a fan choosing Hosmer.  If we as fans have learned anything...its that potential doesnt mean squat.  There is no way I choose a player that hasnt hit .300 or even 20 dingers in a season over former MVP Votto.  As they say...C'MON MAN!!!!

Since: Nov 13, 2010
Posted on: January 15, 2012 8:03 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

Hosmer..This kid is for real and he could have similar numbers to Votto's as soon as this year. I would take Hosmer without a doubt.

Since: May 28, 2007
Posted on: January 15, 2012 7:56 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

i take votto,essay!!!!!hey cards fans,why you posting to talk about your team here?

Since: Nov 28, 2008
Posted on: January 15, 2012 6:41 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

I hate when people talk about other players on other teams not related to the question
i would take votto in the win now
hosmer for 6 year if i playing for the future

Since: Feb 16, 2008
Posted on: January 15, 2012 6:07 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

i can't believe this guy actually gets paid to write slop like this.  

Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: January 15, 2012 5:11 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

If the scribes had no baseball to write about, maybe some historical pieces about some of the great players, teams, moments ... whoa ... that would require some research.

Then as it even got dumber, some person named nati55 decided to spend an entire reply discussing the Cardinals, who were not even a part of the article. 

That said, if this is about Votto over Hosmer, for any period of time, I think Votto has the clear edge. If you want to discuss their contracts, I'd ask ... why is that even part of the topic? Maybe their deodorant choice would help clarify things.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or