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.

The Cubs live for another day, but death will come soon

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The Cubs had a nice night last night. Javier Baez finally broke his hitless streak with not one but two homers. Willson Contreras hit a nearly 500-foot homer. Jake Arrieta, possibly pitching for the last time as a Cub, dug down for a gutsy performance, pitching into the seventh inning, working around some walks to allow only one run while striking out nine.

After the game, Cubs players sounded hopeful notes about believing in themselves, taking them one game at a time, getting the series back to L.A. for a Game 6 and Game 7. They’re professional athletes who know better than any of us that to achieve a thing you have to believe you can achieve that thing, so it’d be dumb to expect anything else from them in this situation. Ballplayers, quite admirably, don’t sound a note of defeat until they are actually defeated.

But let’s be realistic there: they’re still a dead team walking.

  • They’re dead because, as we have been reminded oh so many times, only once in 35 tries has a team come back to win a seven game series in which they’ve found themselves down 0-3. That team did so because Dave Roberts worked some magic. Dave Roberts is working for the other team now.
  • They’re dead because their biggest weakness this postseason — their bullpen — is not going to have its best pitcher, Wade Davis, available today in Game 5 after throwing 48 pitches in Game 4.
  • They’re dead because while the Dodgers used five relievers last night, none of them were worked particularly hard and neither Brandon Morrow nor Kenley Jansen were used at all, allowing them to come in and work hard and heavy tonight if need be.
  • They’re dead because the man on the mound to start tonight’s game is Clayton Edward Kershaw. Yes, he has had some less-than-glory-filled moments in the postseason in recent years, but all of those have come at the tail end of starts, when his managers have left him in perhaps an inning too long. See the above bullet point — and Dave Roberts’ early hook in Game 1 — if you think that’ll be a problem tonight.

The Dodgers lost last night, yes, but it was their first loss in the postseason. All teams have lost at least one postseason game since it went to the three-round format, so it was likely inevitable that L.A. would drop one. Heck, maybe they’ll drop two before the NLCS is over, but they’re not going to drop the next three in a row.

Last night’s Cubs win was nice for them, but it only delayed the inevitable.