Big news out of Cincinnati.
According to MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, the Reds reached agreement this afternoon on a three-year, $38 million contract extension with first baseman Joey Votto.
Jon Heyman of SI.com first caught wind of the negotiations this morning and everything is expected to be made official once the slugger passes a physical Monday.
The contract will cover all three of Votto’s arbitration years, and at a pretty decent rate. Ryan Howard was awarded a record $10 million in his first arbitration case back in 2008 and Votto might have topped that if the process went to a hearing this offseason. Then he would top that again in 2012, and then again in 2013. Howard made $44 million total in his first three years of arbitration eligibility with the Phillies.
If the 27-year-old continues to post numbers like he did in 2010, the extension will prove to be a major bargain. And with the way his career has unfolded, there’s no reason to think he won’t.
Reds fans might have preferred that the club lock Votto up for a longer period of time, but there’s no sense in negotiating a long-term extension with a player who carried his amount of leverage. The Reds had him under team control through 2013 anyway and now they simply have him locked in at a set price.
Votto hit .324 for the National League Central champs last season with 37 homers and 113 RBI. He led all National League hitters with a sparkling 1.024 OPS on his way to capturing the National League MVP and he also played plus defense at first base. The Reds are going to be competitors for as long as he’s around.