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.
St. Louis announced its roster for the NLDS and the biggest news is the inclusion of Adam Wainwright as a reliever.
Expected to miss the entire season following a torn Achilles’ tendon in April, he instead returned to make three relief appearances in the final week of the season and now may be counted on to get some key late-inning outs against the Cubs.
Right-hander Steve Cishek and left-hander Randy Choate are not on the NLDS roster, losing their bullpen spots to Tyler Lyons and Carlos Villanueva. Outfielders Jon Jay and Tommy Pham both made the roster, which had been a topic of much debate in Cardinals nation.
First baseman Mark Reynolds made the roster, but first baseman Matt Adams did not despite returning from the disabled list for some late-season action. And of course catcher Yadier Molina is on the roster and will give it a go playing through a sprained left thumb that’s sidelined him since September 20.
John Lackey will start Game 1, followed in the rotation by Jaime Garcia in Game 2, Michael Wacha in Game 3, and Lance Lynn in Game 4.
Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS in Toronto:
CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mike Napoli
LF Josh Hamilton
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
C Robinson Chirinos
SP Yovani Gallardo
With left-hander David Price on the mound for Toronto the Rangers are going with Mike Napoli at first base over Mitch Moreland. Beyond that it’s a pretty standard lineup for Texas, or at least standard for what manager Jeff Banister used down the stretch once Josh Hamilton was healthy enough to play left field.
LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Smoak
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar
SP David Price
After returning from the disabled list for the final weekend of the regular season Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup and batting fifth. That allows Ryan Goins to play second base in place of the injured Devon Travis. Justin Smoak gets the nod over Chris Colabello at first base against a right-hander.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.