Jay Bruce, four years from free-agent eligibility, has been locked up by the Reds for six years (with an option for a seventh).
That has Reds fans wondering whether the team's next move is to try to extend National League MVP Joey Votto, who is three years from free agency. He could get an extension similar to what Adrian Gonzalez, a year away from free agency, is getting ready to sign with the Red Sox.
The trouble is, from Votto's perspective, it doesn't make sense to sign long-term -- especially after seeing the contract Carl Crawford just signed. Even if the Reds offer Votto big money, nobody can predict how ridiculous the market will have gotten by 2014. He knows he's going to get the most possible money -- from the Reds or someone else -- when he has the most possible suitors. And if you read these recent comments by Votto, it doesn't sound like he's interested in limiting his options or giving Cincinnati a hometown discount.
Probably the best the Reds can hope for is a multi-year deal that covers some or all of Votto's pre-free agency years, like the two-year contract Prince Fielder signed with the Brewers. It would give the Reds cost certainty, which they don't have with arbitration, and protect Votto in case his performance falls off a cliff.
-- David AndriesenFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.