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: Dec 18, 2010
Posted on: January 15, 2012 2:01 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

I normally can take as much baseball talk as I can get 12 months a year.............that said, this article is silly, comparing apples to oranges.............

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: January 15, 2012 1:54 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

dumb comparison,

comparing a guy with one season, albeit a fantastic one, to a former MVP is dumb, and adding the year stipulation just makes it not about the players anymore. 

Since: Dec 24, 2011
Posted on: January 15, 2012 1:52 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

Votto for Two.  Win now.   Win later rarely happens

Since: May 29, 2009
Posted on: January 15, 2012 1:46 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

Is this a joke???  Votto in a landslide.

Since: Dec 13, 2008
Posted on: January 15, 2012 1:33 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

agreed....I will go with the guy who has won an MVP.

Since: Nov 22, 2011
Posted on: January 15, 2012 1:09 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

Since I'm picking players for my pretend team, I'll go on and pretend that I have the resources available to afford the players I want. I'd take Joey Votto, hands down. Proven commodity. 

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