Tag:Joey Votto
Posted on: November 3, 2010 6:13 pm

Reds budget to increase for 2011

The Reds' budget will be "better" than last year's $72 million, general manager Walt Jocketty told CBSSports.com on Wednesday, but because of the team's large number of arbitration-eligible players, he's unsure how much money he has to spend.

"It's hard to predict what those numbers will be," Jocketty said. "We can't commit a lot of dollars right now."

The total budget, Jocketty noted, wouldn't rise dramatically, but will be more than he had for 2010.

He said that was one of the reasons the Reds declined their $4 million option on shortstop Orlando Cabrera, although the team has talked to his agent about returning to the Reds at a lower rate.

Walt Jocketty Jocketty said the team has yet to hear word if outfielder Jay Bruce will qualify as a Super Two, which would also affect the team's bottom line. Bruce, in his second full season, hit .281/.353/.493 with 25 home runs and established himself as one of the top defensive right fielders in the game (he was second to Ichiro Suzuki in the Fielding Bible Awards). Jocketty said he expects to hear sometime this month on Bruce's status as a Super Two, though it is expected he will qualify.

Bruce won't get the biggest bump from the arbitration process, though. Likely National League MVP Joey Votto is also eligible for arbitration for the first time. In addition, the Reds have Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez, Bill Bray, Jared Burton and Laynce Nix as arbitration-eligible players.

If the Reds do have some money to spend, Jocketty said he'd like to find a leadoff man.

We'd like to improve our offense," Jocketty said. "With our pitching, we like our rotation, we like our bullpen. One thing we'd like to improve upon is a leadoff hitter, I don't know that if that's possible or not."

Brandon Phillips and Drew Stubbs led off for the majority of the 2010 season.

If the team doesn't bring back Cabrera, Jocketty said he feels comfortable  with Paul Janish as the team's everyday shortstop. The Reds went into February with the plan of Janish at short last year before signing Cabrera.

Other notes from Jocketty:

• He said the team had talks with an extension for pitcher Bronson Arroyo, but hadn't reached an agreement yet, so the team picked up his option. Jocketty said they'd still like to get a multi-year deal done before 2011. Arroyo told CBSSports.com earlier today that they were working on a three-year deal.

• Sorry Louisville, Aroldis Chapman won't be back in the minors next year.

"He should be ready for the major leagues now," Jocketty said.

Whether he will be a starter or reliever in 2011, only time will tell. Longterm, the Reds believe Chapman will be a starter.

"Right now, when we get to spring training, if he's better suited for the rotation or the bullpen," Jocketty said. "It's very possible he could be back in the bullpen."

The Reds could have a crowded rotation with Arroyo, Cueto, Volquez, Bailey, Mike Leake and Travis Wood.

• Jocketty said he talked to the agent for free agent utility man Migeul Cairo on Wednesday about bringing Cairo back to Cincinnati.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: October 22, 2010 6:50 pm

Players choice finalists announced

Carlos Gonzalez In September, major-league players voted for the Players Choice Awards, coordinated by the union. Friday, the MLBPA released the three finalists for each of the awards, which will be announced over the course of next week.

Player of the year (both leagues): Carlos Gonzalez (Rockies, pictured), Josh Hamilton (Rangers), Joey Votto (Reds).

Man of the year (for off-field efforts): Torii Hunter (Angels), Brandon Inge (Tigers), Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies).

NL outstanding player: Gonzalez, Albert Pujols (Cardinals), Votto.

NL outstanding pitcher: Roy Halladay (Phillies), Ubaldo Jimenez (Rockies), Adam Wainwright (Cardinals).

NL outstanding rookie: Jaime Garcia (Cardinals), Jason Heyward (Braves), Buster Posey (Giants).

NL comeback player: R.A. Dickey (Mets), Tim Hudson (Braves), Aubrey Huff (Giants).

AL outstanding player: Jose Bautista (Blue Jays), Miguel Cabrera (Tigers), Hamilton.

AL outstanding pitcher: Felix Hernandez (Mariners), David Price (Rays), CC Sabathia (Yankees).

AL outstanding rookie: Wade Davis (Rays), Neftali Feliz (Rangers), Austin Jackson (Tigers).

AL comeback player: Freddy Garcia (White Sox), Vladimir Guerrero (Rangers), Francisco Liriano (Twins).

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: October 22, 2010 12:00 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2010 11:17 pm

Bruce, Votto could sign extensions with Reds

Bruce and Votto Agent Matt Sosnick appeared on the Diamond Hoggers' Baseball Show Thursday and had some interesting information to divulge, especially about his Reds client in Jay Bruce (picture, on the right) and some speculation on Joey Votto (left in picture).

Courtesy of a breakdown provided by MLB Trade Rumors , Sosnick said that Jay Bruce would be open to signing a long-term contract with the Reds for five or six years. Bruce recently completed his third season in the majors at age 23, hitting .281/.353/.493 with 25 home runs and has now hit at least 21 home runs in each of the three years he's been in the majors.

However, what represented a major step forward for Bruce was in batting average, as his rookie year checked in at .225 and his sophomore year at .223 prior to a fractured wrist that knocked him out for two months. Finally, Bruce is emerging as the middle-of-the-order force many predicted and should pair with Joey Votto to give pitchers nightmares over the next few seasons.

Bruce has one more year at the league-minimum salary due him before entering three years of arbitration. That's why Sosnick and Bruce are open to signing a long-term extension rather than testing the market: they're tied to the Reds for four more years anyways. Lately, star players ink extensions instead of going year-by-year in arbitration with the first year or two of free agency bought out as well. It gives the youngsters security and allows management to avoid the messy process arbitration can be (not to mention out-of-control salaries).

On Votto's side, however, Sosnick expects Cincinnati to come and pay for the first baseman if the club would like a long-term extension. Votto, represented by Dan Lozano, is poised to enter arbitration for the first time and should get a nice payday after his expected nod as the NL MVP. The 27-year-old cranked 37 home runs and hit .323/.424/.600 in 648 PA, driving in 113. Sosnick cited deals signed by Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki and Arizona's Justin Upton as comparables for Votto.

Tulowitzki, a shortstop, signed a six-year, $31 million deal prior to the 2008 season as a 23-year-old (and is now woefully underpaid) while Upton, a right-fielder, signed on the dotted line for six years and $51.25 million in spring training as a 22-year-old.

Votto has plenty of age over Tulowitzki and Upton, but working in his favor is his status as one of the premier power threats in the NL that should help make up for any disparity. Given Votto has three years of arbitration, a four- or five-year deal makes sense, at an annual value of roughly $10 million. Votto's impending arbitration case should go a long way toward determining the value of Votto and could set into motion extension talks.

In other notes, Sosnick spoke on Josh Willingham's interest in returning to Washington (story here ) and mentioned that the Giants inquired on Willingham. The asking price? Jonathan Sanchez or Madison Bumgarner. No thanks, said San Francisco, and rightfully so.

Sosnick also represents Ricky Nolasco of the Marlins. The two sides are trying to come to agreement on a long-term extension and agree on the years but are "20 percent" apart in salary.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: October 11, 2010 7:07 pm

Reds like their position for the future

For a team whose season was ended, the Cincinnati Reds clubhouse was hardly morose late Sunday night.

The young Reds team, making its first postseason appearance in 15 years, didn't seem defeated as much as they were beat, swept in thee games by the Phillies.

"They're a good team, they deserved to win this series," said Reds right fielder Jay Bruce.

At that point, the Reds could only tip their cap to Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels. The young Reds knew they should have won Game 2 and been at the very least playing Game 4 tonight, with a chance to send it back to Philadelphia.

Joey Votto "I think the next time we’re in Game 2 and we’re up 4-0, I think we’ll say we’ve been here already, let’s close it out," probably NL MVP Joey Votto said. "That’s not to disrespect any of my teammates or the organization or anything like that, but we’ll have been there, we’ll have done that, and I think the added experience will help with our poise."

As Votto looked around the team's clubhouse, he saw mostly people he could count on returning in 2011.

"I don’t see anyone going anywhere. I don’t think we have very many free agents, if any, " Votto said. "We’ve got a bunch of guys making the minimum, we’re here for good."

At that point, Votto was reminded he's in for a raise as a first-year arbitration-eligible player. Also, Bruce could be a Super 2, giving him a nice bump, too.

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty has already said the team would pick up the $11 million option on starter Bronson Arroyo, and the team could also pick up a $1.75 million piton on outfielder Jonny Gomes.

The $4 million mutual option on shortstop Orlando Cabrera will be a bigger decision. Catcher Ramon Hernandez had a $3.25 million vesting option with 120 games in 2010, but he didn't make that number. He could be back, but would also be wise to test his market.

Reliever Arthur Rhodes, outfielder Laynce Nix and utility man Miguel Cairo are all free agents and could be back. Reliever Mike Lincoln is also due to become a free agent and will likely have to sign a minor-league contract after suffering injuries the last two seasons.

Reliever Russ Springer and outfielder Jim Edmonds may retire.

The Reds will surely decline Aaron Harang's $12.75 million option, and he'll look for a new home in a  less homer-happy ballpark.

But, the core of this team returns -- including all of its starting pitchers: Arroyo, Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Homer Bailey, Travis Wood and Mike Leake, plus Aroldis Chapman. Closer Francisco Cordero will be back for a final season (the team has an option for 2012 it is unlikely to exercise), as will top set-up man Nick Masset.

Brandon Phillips is signed through next season with a  club option for 2012 and Scott Rolen is under contract through 2012. Paul Janish could move into an everyday shortstop role. With Bruce and Drew Stubss, the Reds have two-thirds of the outfield set, along with Gomes and Chris Heisey in left. Ryan Hanigan returns behind the plate and Hernandez could be signed for one more year before either Devin Mesoraco or 2010 first-round pick Yasmani Grandal.

The Reds are set up for the next couple of years, and that's how they were looking at it Sunday night.

"Our plan is that this is just the beginning of a long run of success here in Cincinnati," Bruce said.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Posted on: October 3, 2010 2:02 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2010 2:58 pm

Votto not interested in a long-term deal?

Joey Votto The Reds would certainly like to lock up probable-MVP Joey Votto to a long-term contract, but Votto may not be interested as he approaches his first year of aribtration eligibility.

The team hasn't approached Votto about an extension, he said. That's hardly surprising, because general manager Walt Jocketty traditionally doesn't like to talk contracts during the season.

But the Cincinnati Enquirer 's John Fay asked Votto if he'd be interested in an extension .

"I don't know," Votto said.

Votto's one of the most honest, straight-forward ballplayers I've ever dealt with. Most likely, he hasn't thought about it and wouldn't want to talk specifics without actually knowing the specifics. That's how Votto works -- he's never been a fan of hypotheticals.

Reality is he's eligible for arbitration at just the right time, as the 27-year old will likely be named the league's MVP after a .323/.423/.598 season with 37 homers and 112 RBI.

The largest-ever contract awarded to a first-year arbitration-eligible player was Ryan Howard, who received $10 million for the 2008 season. Howard was a year off his 2006 MVP and had hit .268/.392/.584 with 47 home runs and 136 RBI.

To that point of his career, Howard was hitting .291/.397/.610 with 129 home runs and 353 RBI. Votto is .314/.400/.557 with 90 home runs and 297 RBI in his career.

If I'm Votto, or his agent, I use Howard's $10 million as a starting point. Fay does as well, and also guesses the Reds offer $8 million. In the end, don't expect them to go to arbitration, that's not something the Reds enjoy and it would be precisely the type of spotlight the intensely private Votto would like to do without.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 29, 2010 3:01 am
Edited on: September 29, 2010 6:45 am

Video: Reds celebrate NL Central title

Edions Volquez It was a rookie mistake, I realized. I'd remembered to wear my rain jacket in the Reds clubhouse after Jay Bruce's homer clinched the team's first division title in 15 years, but I forgot to put my hood up.

I heard Homer Bailey before I saw him, and he doused me with champagne -- the hood would have served as protection and camouflage. Instead, it was useless and I was drenched.

Any baseball writer worth his salt knows to prepare for the celebration. It looks fun -- and it kinda is -- but it makes the usual game-writing impossible. It's tough to talk to players, who are more interested in dousing teammates with alcoholic beverages than talking to reporters. And when they do talk, they're constantly interrupted by liquid being poured over their heads. Still, it's pretty fun to see.

It was nice to see Aaron Harang, who is having a terrible season and is unlikely to be a part of the postseason roster, enjoying himself. It's a team game, and it's more noticeable than anywhere as Harang celebrates as much as the hero, Bruce.

You could see the joy the players got in dousing manager Dusty Baker, who despite his critics, rarely has any in his own clubhouse. Brandon Phillips had never tasted alcohol until he had beer and champagne poured over him -- and at one point you could tell he didn't feel like he'd be tasting another Budweiser anytime soon as he spit out what got into his mouth.

After finishing off the champagne, veteran reliever Arthur Rhodes led the troops out onto the field to celebrate with the thousands that stayed in the stadium to celebrate. Jonny Gomes -- who celebrated with the 2008 Rays -- sprayed fans with champagne as he wore his ski goggles.

Players took a lap, high-fiving fans anywhere near the fence. One woman stole Bruce's hat before he pulled it back.

Phillips thanked the fans on the microphone, then passed it to Joey Votto as fans chanted "M-V-P" for  the first baseman, who hugged the night's hero before passing Bruce the mic. Bruce then addressed the crowd.

Owner Bob Castellini, wearing a Reds pullover and track pants over his regular clothes to keep from stinking of champagne and beer, handed Orlando Cabrera a box of cigars. Weeks ago, Castellini told Cabrera he'd give him a box of the "best legal cigars in the U.S." -- and he paid off with a box of Liga Privada No. 9 cigars. Cabrera then handed out the cigars to anyone close and also used a torch to light them for anyone who wanted one.

Finally, as TV cameras continued to interview just about anyone in uniform, Castellini saw general manager Walt Jocketty and gave him a hug. Castellini promised to bring Cincinnati a winner four years ago when he bought the team, and he finally had.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 22, 2010 11:54 am
Edited on: September 22, 2010 2:30 pm

CarGo, singles hitter

It looks like the Triple Crown is safe for another year.

Carlos Gonzalez, Albert Pujols and Joey Votto all seemed to have a shot at the National League's first Triple Crown since 1937, but it doesn't look like any of the three still have that shot with less than two weeks remaining in the season.

Carlos Gonzalez Gonzalez has the batting average lead (.339), while Pujols is tops in home runs (39) and RBI (109). Votto will likely have to settle for the consolation prize of the MVP.

Gonzalez trails Pujols by seven homers and two RBI -- but don't expect a Troy Tulowitzki-like power surge from Gonzalez.

"I can't have the same swing I used to have," Gonzalez told the Denver Post 's Jim Armstrong . "They tape [the right wrist] real well so I don't have to twist my wrist. But I don't like excuses. If I feel good enough to play, I'll play. I have to battle through it."

Gonzalez has been bothered by tendinitis in his right wrist since a foul ball against Jonathan Sanchez on Aug. 30.

In 20 games since that foul ball, Gonzalez has just three homers, but none of his other numbers have suffered, as he's hit .427/.506/.653 in that period, raising his average 13 points. He's been aided by an astounding .492 batting average on balls in play.

"I've been more of a singles hitter," Gonzalez said. "That's the farthest thing I get now -- doubles. The good thing about it is, I'm not hitting enough home runs, but I'm getting on base for Tulo so he can get RBIs."

He's right, he's scored 18 runs in those 20 games and also has eight of his 33 doubles during the stretch.

 -- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 15, 2010 4:08 pm
Edited on: September 15, 2010 5:23 pm

Votto hasn't popped up to infield this season

Joey Votto CINCINNATI -- Reds shortstop Orlando Cabrera couldn't believe it -- and he said so, albeit with an expletive. But it's true, his teammate, Joey Votto, hasn't popped up to the infield once this season.

"That’s incredible," said Cabrera, who has 13 infield fly balls this season. "I’d be bragging."

Cabrera would, Votto isn't.

"I’d trade 10 strikeouts for 10 popups, that’s for sure," Votto said when asked about the unusual stat on Tuesday.

ESPN's Rob Neyer noted Votto hadn't popped up last week (after Dan Hennessey of the Knuckleballs blog did the same nearly two months ago) and I mentioned it to Votto before Tuesday's game. Votto had never heard about it, nor had Laynce Nix, whose locker is next to Votto's. Nix claimed I'd jinxed Votto -- but the MVP candidate put the ball in play four times Tuesday night, and none of them were a fly ball within 140 feet of the plate (FanGraphs' definition of an Infield Fly Ball.)

Jonny Gomes, owner of 24 infield fly balls this year, called it "awesome."

"It’s tough with a round ball and round bat to be half of a fourth of an inch – whatever that is – to be off and that’s all it takes to pop up," Gomes said. "You can take a great swing and do it, everything can be locked and you can do it. It’s a pretty cool stat."

Like Votto himself, Gomes didn't know if it actually meant anything. In addition to Votto, Gomes, Cabrera and Nix, I asked Chris Valaika (none himself, but in just 28 plate appearances) and Miguel Cairo (three IFFB) -- and neither of them could think of any deeper meaning.

"I wouldn’t say it’s an anomaly, there’s a reason I’m not popping up. I don’t ever remember popping up much when I was younger," Votto said.

So I went somewhere else, I talked to a guy who thinks about hitters and the way hitters hit and think as much or more than any hitter -- pitcher Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo is a couple locker stalls down from Aroldis Chapman, but he doesn't have the arm of Chapman. Instead, he gets batters out by out-thinking them. Arroyo thought about the stat for a moment and broke down what it meant:

"It probably means for one, he lets the ball get really deep. If he lets the ball get deep and he fouls it off, it goes behind him. If he gets out front, it’ll go to the infield," Arroyo said. "That means he stays back a lot, which means he’s going to hit offspeed stuff and hit the fastball the opposite way. Which he does a decent bit. Other than that it’s just having a good eye and square the ball up more than the average cat. You’d still think, I don’t care who you are, Albert [Pujols] has to have a pop up to the infield this year. That’s weird."

Pujols, for the record, has 28 infield fly balls this season.

Of the balls put in the air against Arroyo this year, 11.1 percent (28) of those have been to the infield, while he's gotten 13.4 percent of those in the infield in his career.

As for Arroyo's analysis, Votto is one of the better power hitters going the other way. Of his 34 home runs, 16 have gone to left field. When you look at his home runs , he hits the most to left field, while scattering the rest of the field almost evenly. Arroyo said he's noticed when pitchers get Votto out, they have to go inside -- and the infield popup rate is an example of that.

"That’s an amazing stat. It means he doesn’t get fooled a whole lot," Arroyo said. "You see that on changeups when guys get out front. When he gets beat, he gets beat inside and that’s usually a ground ball because that’s off the hands and you can’t get extended and push the ball in the air."

Votto has just nine infield fly balls in his career. He had two last season, five as a rookie in 2008 and two in his September call-up in 2007.

Over his career, the Phillies' Ryan Howard has just 15 infield fly balls, two this season. His career IFFB% is just 1.8 percent.

This season among qualified batters, the Astros' Michael Bourn has the next-lowest IFFB%, with 1.1 percent of his fly balls going to the infield. He has one infield fly ball this season in 589 plate appearances.

 -- C. Trent Rosecrans

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