The Reds haven’t been overly active in free agency this offseason, but they’ve done a nice job of locking up some of their key internal components.
Staff ace Bronson Arroyo was signed to a three-year, $35 million contract extension in early December. Young power-hitting outfielder Jay Bruce inked a six-year, $51 million extension less than two weeks later. Then first baseman Joey Votto got a three-year, $38 million extension on Monday and young starter Johnny Cueto scored a four-year, $27 million pact on Thursday.
But the Reds aren’t done yet.
According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, general manager Walt Jocketty said Friday that the club is talking about a multi-year contract with right-hander Edinson Volquez.
“We’re looking at both — one-year and multi-year,” said Jocketty. “We’re hopeful that we’ll get something done.”
The 27-year-old right-hander missed a good portion of the 2010 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he struck out 67 batters in 62.2 innings once he was cleared for live action and he has shown flashes of true excellence for the past several years.
Volquez is eligible for arbitration this winter for the first time. He requested a $2 million salary for 2011 when arbitration figures were exchanged earlier this week. The Reds counted at $1.1 million. Both sides can avoid the need for an arbitration hearing by agreeing to a multi-year pact that would lock Volquez in at a set price through his three upcoming seasons of arbitration eligibility, and maybe even a free agent year or two.
Athletics president Dave Kaval is ready to take full advantage of the interleague series between the Giants and A’s this season. While the two teams customarily play a few preseason “Battle of the Bay” games each year, they’re also scheduled to meet each other six times during the regular season; once for a three-game set in San Francisco, then for a three-game set in Oakland. On Saturday, Kaval announced that any Giants fans looking to park at the Coliseum this year will be charged $50 instead of the standard, general admission $30 — an additional “rivalry fee” that can be easily waived by shouting, “Go A’s!” at the gate.
This isn’t the first time that a major-league team has tried to keep rival fans at bay, though Kaval doesn’t seem all that intent on actually driving fans away from the ballpark. Back in 2012, the Nationals staged a “Take Back the Park” campaign after people began complaining that Phillies fans were overtaking Nationals Park during rivalry games. They limited a single-series presale of Nats-Phillies tickets to buyers within Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia in hopes of filling the stands with a few more friendly faces. Washington COO Andy Feffer told the press that while he would treat all guests with “respect and courtesy,” he wanted Phillies fans to feel irked enough to pay attention to the Nationals. In the end, things went… well, a little south for all involved.
Whether the Giants are planning any retaliatory measures has yet to be seen, but it’s not as if this is going to be an enforceable rule. The real travesty here, if you’re an A’s fan or just pretending to be one, is that the parking fees have increased from $20 to $30 this season. Unless you’re a season ticket holder with a prepaid $10 parking permit, it’s far better to brave the crowds and take advantage of local public transportation. There are bound to be far fewer irate Giants fans on BART than at the gates — even if the gag only lasts a few days out of the year.