Report: Reds, Joey Votto agree to 10-year, $225 million deal

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Update: It’s a 10-year, $225 million extension, according to USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale. It doesn’t replace Votto’s current contract, so it will run from 2014-2023.

If the story is true, it’s the fourth biggest contract of all-time, surpassing Prince Fielder’s deal with the Tigers. Alex Rodriguez holds the top two places on the list, with Albert Pujols’ new $240 million deal in third place.

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Joey Votto is under contract for $9.5 million this season and $17 million next season as part of an extension signed last winter, but Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors reports that the Reds are close to signing the former MVP to a significantly longer extension.

According to Dierkes the new extension “could surpass $200 million” in total value, although the length and salary details aren’t known yet.

This offseason Prince Fielder, who’s 27 years old, signed a nine-year, $214 million contract with the Tigers and Albert Pujols, who’s 32 years old, inked a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Angels. Votto is 28 years old and has been every bit as productive as Fielder and Pujols during the past three seasons, hitting .318 with a .983 OPS during that time while leading the league in OPS in 2010 and on-base percentage in both 2010 and 2011.

This could mean the end of Brandon Phillips’ time in Cincinnati, as it’s hard to see the Reds having the money to keep the impending free agent second baseman around beyond this season if they’re throwing $200 million at Votto.

Tigers release Francisco Rodriguez

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Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.

The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.

While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.

The Red Sox sign Jhonny Peralta

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The Red Sox have signed third baseman Jhonny Peralta to a minor-league deal. He’ll report to Pawtucket.

Peralta, 35, hit a paltry .204/.259/.204 in 58 plate appearances for the Cardinals this year. But with Pablo Sandoval on the disabled list — and ineffective when he hasn’t been — the Sox could use some infield depth.

This is the second former Tiger that former Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has picked up today, after signing Doug Fister. No word if he’s kicking the tires on Andy Dirks or Brennan Boesch.