Votto’s contract details paint a scary picture for Reds fans

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The Reds inked first baseman Joey Votto to a three-year, $38 million contract extension on Sunday, buying out all three of his arbitration-eligible seasons.  Now John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer has the financial breakdown of the deal.

Votto will earn a $5 million salary in 2011, a $9.5 million salary in 2012 and a $17 million salary in 2013.

The Reds also gave Votto a $6 million signing bonus, but they spread it out over the next four years due to budgetary concerns.  He got $2.5 million when he signed the dotted line last weekend, he will get $1.5 million in 2012 and a late $2 million payment in 2014.

Why the late payment on the signing bonus?  According to Fay, the Reds have determined they can not afford to pay $20 million per season — or even $19 million per season — to one player and still remain competitive.  That almost certainly means that Votto will leave Cincinnati when he becomes a free agent after the 2013 season.

Unless, of course, things change and the Reds find a new way to pump revenue into the club.  With a solid group of young players, they should be good for the next several years.  Maybe the fans will begin to pack Great American Ballpark every night and maybe jerseys will begin flying off the shelves.  But there is no reason to think that will happen.  Last year, when Cincy captured its first National League Central title since 1995, the club finished 20th in overall attendance with an average of 25,438 fans per game.

They’ll have to do better.

Corey Knebel sets modern record for consecutive appearances with a strikeout

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Brewers closer Corey Knebel set a modern major league record for relievers to start a season, as Thursday’s appearance marked his 38th consecutive appearance with a strikeout. He set down the side in order in the ninth inning, striking Josh Bell out to start the frame.

Aroldis Chapman held the record previously, recording a strikeout in his first 37 appearances of the season in 2014 with the Reds.

Knebel, 25, has flown under the radar despite having an incredibly good season. He moved into the closer’s role in mid-May when Neftali Feliz, now a free agent, struggled. After Thursday’s appearance, Knebel is 12-for-15 in save chances with a 0.96 ERA and a 65/17 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings.

Joey Votto thinks he can win the Home Run Derby, but hasn’t been invited yet

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Despite having hit at least 20 home runs in eight of his 11 seasons in the majors, Reds first baseman Joey Votto has never participated in a Home Run Derby. Currently, he’s tied for the National League lead in home runs with 20, and he hasn’t been invited to this year’s festivities at Marlins Park.

In the event he is invited, Votto said he thinks he can win it, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto likened himself to Ichiro Suzuki, a player known more for his contact abilities and mastery of the strike zone than power. “Just think of me as the Canadian Ichiro — Japan has theirs and Canada has theirs,” Votto said. “I could pull homers into the seats at will.”

Along with the 20 homers, Votto is currently hitting .306/.419/.601 with 53 RBI, and 52 runs scored in 313 plate appearances.

Teammate Scott Schebler also has 20 home runs at the moment and Adam Duvall, who made it to the semifinals of the Derby last year, has 16. Neither of them have been approached about participating in the Derby, either. Per Rosecrans, in the event each was invited, Duvall said he would consider participating if he wasn’t an All-Star and Schebler would participate regardless. Votto said he would only participate if he made the All-Star team.