The Reds inked first baseman Joey Votto to a three-year, $38 million contract extension on Sunday, buying out all three of his arbitration-eligible seasons. Now John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer has the financial breakdown of the deal.
Votto will earn a $5 million salary in 2011, a $9.5 million salary in 2012 and a $17 million salary in 2013.
The Reds also gave Votto a $6 million signing bonus, but they spread it out over the next four years due to budgetary concerns. He got $2.5 million when he signed the dotted line last weekend, he will get $1.5 million in 2012 and a late $2 million payment in 2014.
Why the late payment on the signing bonus? According to Fay, the Reds have determined they can not afford to pay $20 million per season — or even $19 million per season — to one player and still remain competitive. That almost certainly means that Votto will leave Cincinnati when he becomes a free agent after the 2013 season.
Unless, of course, things change and the Reds find a new way to pump revenue into the club. With a solid group of young players, they should be good for the next several years. Maybe the fans will begin to pack Great American Ballpark every night and maybe jerseys will begin flying off the shelves. But there is no reason to think that will happen. Last year, when Cincy captured its first National League Central title since 1995, the club finished 20th in overall attendance with an average of 25,438 fans per game.
They’ll have to do better.
The Tampa Bay Rays were reported this week to be “open for business” as far as trades go. Normally that means nothing happens until late June or something. The Rays are getting right down to it, though, as they’ve just traded closer Alex Colome and outfielder Denard Span to the Seattle Mariners.
The Mariners, who have played some outstanding ball lately thanks to some outstanding starting pitching, and are looking to bolster other areas as they make a push in the AL West, will likely slot Colome into a setup role in front of closer Edwin Diaz. Span will take over center field, allowing Dee Gordon to, eventually anyway, once he recovers from a fractured toe, cover for the suspended Robinson Cano at second base. If the M’s make the playoffs he’d likely do so in the postseason too, given that Cano will be ineligible for any October play due to his suspension.
Colome has saved 11 games for the Rays, with a 4.15 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 23/8 in 21.2 innings.Span is hitting .238/.364/.385 with four homers and six stolen bases on the season.
Two players are going back to the Rays: righties Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero. Moore was the Mariners’ second round pick in 2015 and made his big league debut last season, pitching 59 innings in 2018 but back in the minors so far in 2018. Romero was a 15th rounder for Seattle in 2017 and is currently plying his trade in A-ball.
The Rays, as expected, are using the 2018 season to acquire prospects. The Mariners, who are unexpectedly strong in the early going, are trying to go for it even harder. Quite a big trade for late May.