Baseball Insider

Four explanations for $225M Votto extension, one of the nuttiest deals ever

Folks around baseball are amazed by Reds superstar Joey Votto's new $225-million contract extension that now guarantees him $251.5 million over 12 years. Folks are outraged even.

Here's what one competing GM had to say about the deal that really is for $225 million in new money, as USA Today first reported: "The Reds look like they have no plan. They always say they have no money for deals. Then they spend $30 million on Aroldis Chapman. They say they have no money. And now this.''

This is one of the crazier seeming contracts in baseball history, a deal that keeps Votto in the National League where there's no DH into his 40s. Votto is one of the best offensive players in baseball, but he isn't Albert Pujols (no one is), he very likely wanted to stay, and frankly, he's a bad bet to play great baseball at age 40 (everyone is). You have to wonder: Couldn't an eight-year extension to make it 10 years under contract have gotten it done? That was the logical new deal for Votto, not this. And logic went out the window here.

What's the explanation for this illogical deal? Well, here are a few ...

1) The Reds worried that Votto, originally scheduled to be a free agent after the 2013 season, might wind up with the Dodgers, who look like a new big player now. "I think (the Reds) were afraid of the Dodgers,'' another competing executive said. "A lot of teams are afraid of the Dodgers.'';

2) The Reds pocketed "about $25 million a year'' in luxury tax monies for years, one rival owner said, and they just spent it on Votto. "They're betting the franchise on Votto,'' yet another competing executive said. (I guess there are worse players to bet on than Votto, who is one of the better players in the game);

3) There aren't many superstars coming up for auction in the next couple years, and the ones that are probably aren't switching to Cincinnati. Can anyone see Robinson Cano going there for instance?

4) Reds owner Bob Castellini badly wants to win, and while it isn't widely reported, he isn't a very good loser (he is said to have a bit of Steinbrenner in him, which isn't considered such a bad thing anymore). "I give him credit,'' a competing owner said. "It's bold.''

Well, it most certainly is that. And yes, Castellini gets credit for wanting to to deliver a winner, and spending that money he previously pocketed. But I side with the majority here. As a baseball deal, it makes no sense.
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