The Reds would like to do a four year deal with Joey Votto

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Joey Votto is arbitration eligible this year and for the next two years after that.  While his potential award this season — probably in the $6-7 million range? — is doable for the Reds, they’re probably not going to want to go all three years with him, because they start running into Ryan Howard as a comparable salary pretty soon, and that means a lot of damn money.  If you’re the Reds you want to get him signed to an extension soon, I would imagine.

And such imaginings are likely soon, according to Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Equirer:

Simply, should the club try to lock up its best player and franchise cornerstone now, even though it controls his future for the next three years? One club insider suggested any long-term deal would start at four years, and be for something well north of $40 million, and that the club would be interested in going that route.

Daugherty talks to an anonymous agent who said he’d advise Votto to wait another year.  That may make some sense. While all of us would step on someone’s throat for $40 million tomorrow, the lesson to be drawn from a lot of the recent arbitration-avoiding extensions is that the players end up leaving a ton of money on the table. To wit: Evan Longoria’s six year $17.5 million deal. Which, while an extreme, extreme, extreme outlier in terms of a club-friendly, player-hostile deal, is an example of the dangers of signing too quickly.

Mercy. Longoria is going to make $2 million next year. And $4.5 million in 2012. I don’t know if there has ever been a worse deal for a star player since the advent of free agency.