Reds working on multi-year extension with Joey Votto

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UPDATE: A three-year, $38 million contract extension was agreed to on Sunday afternoon.

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Reds first baseman Joey Votto qualifies for arbitration this winter for the first time in his major league career.  But he may never actually have to face an arbitration hearing.

The slugger is in line for a massive raise from the $550,000 salary that he pulled in last season while capturing National League MVP honors, so the Reds are being  proactive in the month or so before spring training and are looking into signing him to a multi-year contract extension, according to SI.com’s Jon Heyman.

The Reds could simply give Votto a three-year deal that would cover all of his arbitration eligible seasons and keep him in Cincy through 2013 at a fairly bargain rate — something like $37 million.  Or they could pony up even more and buy out some of his free agent years, albeit at a higher overall price tag.

The 27-year-old has all of the leverage in the world this offseason after posting a scorching .324/.424/.600 batting line, 37 home runs and 113 RBI in 2010, but there’s little doubt that he is going to be highly productive for at least the next several seasons.  The Reds may save themselves some cash in the long run (and the pain of possibly losing Votto to free agency) by getting a big extension worked out this winter.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

albert pujols
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).