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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.

Twins’ minor league pitcher Landa dies in Venezuela

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 05:  Yorman Landa #81 of the Minnesota Twins makes a throw to first base during the fourth inning of a spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles at Hammond Stadium on March 5, 2016 in Fort Myers, Florida.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins say minor league pitcher Yorman Landa has died in Venezuela. He was 22.

The club said in a statement that the Twins are “deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss.” The team did not say how he died.

Landa pitched in the 2016 season with the Fort Meyers Miracle, going 2-2 with 7 saves and a 3.24 ERA in 41 2/3 innings pitched. His career minor-league ERA was 2.66.

Landa had been on the Twins’ 40-man roster, but was dropped after the season. The organization signed him to a minor-league contract last week.

Landa was signed by the Twins in 2010 as a 16-year old from Santa Teresa, Venezuela.

Orioles are eying Welington Castillo as their primary catcher target

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 25: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up prior to taking an at bat against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 25, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.

Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.

For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.