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The Reds go too far with Joey Votto’s $225 million deal

Apr 2, 2012, 7:26 PM EDT

Joey Votto AP

Ever since Joey Votto won the 2010 NL MVP award, it seemed like Reds fans were counting down the days to his departure. The Reds weren’t going to pony up the money Votto so clearly deserved, and Votto, for his part, seemed OK with the idea of spending the second half of his career in another city.

So much for that idea.

The Reds on Monday gave Votto the fourth biggest contract in big-league history and the biggest to go to a non-free agent. The reported 10-year, $225 million extension is actually going to be added to his previous deal, which pays him $9.5 million this year and $17 million in 2013. All told, the Reds have committed to him for $251.5 million through 2023, his age-39 season.

It’s an incredible commitment and a giant risk, given the number of years involved. Votto is one of the game’s best players now, but there’s no telling whether he will be five or eight years down the road. On the plus side, he is pretty athletic for a first baseman and he’s not someone who figures to have to finish his career as a DH. Yet there’s certainly little reason to think he’ll be anything close to a $20 million-$23 million player from age 34 on.

Given that they controlled him for two more years anyway, the Reds went too far overboard here. Matt Kemp, a similar talent with a less consistency in his track record, recently signed for $160 million over eight years and he was just one year away from free agency, not two. Ryan Braun‘s odd five-year extension (for 2016-20) with the Brewers was worth $105 million, or $21 million per year. The Reds topped both those deals in years and salary in order to get Votto done.

Of course, this wasn’t just about on-field performance. This was about TV money and having a superstar in the fold as they seek to negotiate their next deal. Locked at in those terms, maybe it was worth it for the Reds to to be so bold. That’s really the only way a 12-year commitment makes sense.

  1. phillyphever - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    Wow, makes Howard’s extension look like a steal in comparison (and the only good thing about that contract is it’s only 5 years).

    • paperlions - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:17 PM

      No, it doesn’t. Votto is good at most aspects of baseball and still playing MVP calliber ball….Howard was already clearly in decline when he extension was done. Odds are that in 7 years Votto will still be better than Howard was last year.

    • stlouis1baseball - Apr 3, 2012 at 9:00 AM

      Phever: I hear you about the 5 years for Howard vs. the 10/12 years for Joey.
      However, Joey plays GG defense and is a superior hitter.
      My money is on Joey also being a better player in seven years.

      • evanwins - Apr 7, 2012 at 6:37 PM

        And yet Howard is the one with all the rings; World Series, League Championships, Division Championships (a whole hands worth of those), LCS MVP, Rookie of the Year, League MVP…

        But yeah, Votto al the way…

  2. illadelphiasphinest - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    Thanks for Brandon Phillips


    • okwhitefalcon - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:44 PM

      I’ll go with the Dodgers for BP, he’d be a perfect fit in LA.

  3. jesseg53 - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    “2011 NL MVP Matt Kemp”


    • Matthew Pouliot - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:43 PM

      Well, he certainly should have been. But yeah.

      • micker716 - Apr 2, 2012 at 9:07 PM

        But he wasn’t.

      • cur68 - Apr 2, 2012 at 11:17 PM

        Don’t care. He shoulda been.

  4. okwhitefalcon - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    I’m all for clubs keeping their core players and players making the most possible – good for Votto and Reds fans.

    That said..

    Does Joey Votto put asses in the seats or bring viewers to the tube?

    I can’t recall ever stopping what I was doing to watch a Votto at bat.


    • brokea$$lovesmesomeme - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:10 PM

      Is that a new metric, because Boras will need to know how put that into next years free agent negotiations. He will also need your contact info.

      • okwhitefalcon - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:17 PM

        I’ll be happy to speak with Lozano, he provides adult entertainment to his clients and their advocates.


        Not so much, he’s on his own.

    • stlouis1baseball - Apr 3, 2012 at 9:02 AM

      Falcon: When watching a game I can say that I stop what I am doing EVERY time Joey is at the plate. The dude is one of the better hitters in the game (bar none).

      • okwhitefalcon - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:18 PM

        I’m sure it is that way for some, dude can flat out rake and appears to be a helluva good guy.

        He’s just never had that captivating appeal to me.

        One thing’s for sure, there’s going to be an extremely bright spotlight on him now that’s going to be more intense than it’s ever been.

    • cintiphil - Apr 3, 2012 at 7:01 PM

      Joey does attract a lot of fans, however not to the extent of this contract. I am happy the Reds signed him, but they did over pay a little. The problem is that without a good pitching staff, it doesn’t matter what Votto does at the plate. We do stop and watch Votto at bat here in Cinti, but we won’t watch for long if the team doesn’t win big this season. I don’t know where the money is going to come from to sign Brandon and Marshall and Latos for the future, if they don’t win the division in 2012.
      I think this was a big chance they took, but at least the Reds are trying something different.

  5. proudlycanadian - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    This is a sad day for Blue Jay fans. We were looking forward to his return to his home town.

    • stlouis1baseball - Apr 3, 2012 at 9:04 AM

      I hear you Canadian. I didn’t see this one coming either. Mostly due to Joey being somewhat aloof about the whole thing (and the amount of monies it was going to take of course). Either way…I really expected to see him in a Toronto uniform in a couple of years.

  6. poprox13 - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    “2011 NL MVP Matt Kemp”

    at least someone got it right.

  7. schlom - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    I think this shows what a great deal the Red Sox made with Adrian Gonzalez. He’s arguably the best of the 1B that have signed in the past few seasons (Teixeira, Howard, Fielder, Pujols, Votto) and he signed for by far the least. I guess that makes up for the Crawford signing, at least slightly.

    • stoutfiles - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:44 PM

      Nothing makes up for the Crawford signing.

  8. uyf1950 - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    God help some of these mid market teams if one of these players happens to suffer injury that threatens their career early on in the contract.

    • micker716 - Apr 2, 2012 at 9:20 PM

      Exactly, a NY, LA (pre- and Post-McCourt) or BOS can absorb that kind of mishap, but one pitch, one injury could set back Cincinnati years. I understand the desire to lock up home grown talent, but it’s still, unfortunately, a huge risk.

  9. johnnyb1976 - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    Whoa there Philly fanatics don’t count Brandon Phillips in Philly quite yet who knows what Walt can pull off. They just resigned THE BEST PLAYER IN THE NL!!!!!! Sorry LA Kemp had a fluke season he will revert back to the back of his baseball card this season. If Walt can’t resign BP he will get a great haul of prospects for him. How is your farm system Philly fans? Your gonna need it to get BP.

    • illadelphiasphinest - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:36 PM

      He’s a free agent at the end of this season.

      • johnnyb1976 - Apr 4, 2012 at 8:30 AM

        I know this and because you have A.D.D. you didnt read the entire post that said Jockety would get all he could out off B.P.

    • deadeyedesign23 - Apr 2, 2012 at 10:55 PM

      He’s not the best player in his own division.

      • johnnyb1976 - Apr 4, 2012 at 8:28 AM

        Oh thats right the BEST player got of from s steroid suspension on a technicallity LOL!!!! Go away!!!!!!

      • deadeyedesign23 - Apr 5, 2012 at 8:28 AM

        you must be right…because you used so many exclamation points.

    • paperlions - Apr 3, 2012 at 7:17 AM

      I wouldn’t call a 10 year extension through a players age 39 season at $22.5M/year two years before the guy was a free agent “pulling off” anything.

      • johnnyb1976 - Apr 4, 2012 at 8:26 AM

        For a small market franchise like the Reds it is pulling something off they dont have the money the Yanks, sox, or Philly has.

  10. gcbball3 - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    the reds may have overpaid some, may. but it was essential to cinci that they make votto a red for life. do u know what this move means to fans. that was an absolutley huge deal by locking him up. id pay him more than prince, howard, and albert any day of the week, hes a better overall hitter than howard and prince and fielder, and pujlos is on the decline. great move by the reds now i hope my indiands lock up adrubel with a 10 year deal

    • paperlions - Apr 3, 2012 at 7:19 AM

      Oh, they definitely overpaid. It’ll be a miracle if he justifies the deal his age 35, 36, 37, 38, and 39 seasons. This deal is just as bad as the Pujols deal and the Fielder deal. It’ll feel fine for a few years…then you’ll look up and see there are still 9 years left until the deal expires.

    • stlouis1baseball - Apr 3, 2012 at 9:09 AM

      GC: I agree with this being hugely important for the Organization.
      But everyone knows you are blowing smoke up our asses when you state you would pay him more than A.P. “any day of the week.” Man…you had me until went off the deep end.

    • cintiphil - Apr 3, 2012 at 7:07 PM


      Are you nuts are just smoking bad weed. there is NO player in baseball as good as Albert. We will see what happens in the next three years or so, but for the past 11, no one can fill his shoes. I was happy to see him out of the division and the NL.

      • stlouis1baseball - Apr 4, 2012 at 8:57 AM

        Phil: And this is where we disagree. You see…I (along with several other Cardinals fans) are happy the Redlegs got this done. You can see this by the numerous posts they have already left on the subject. Additionally, Prince leaving Milwaukee really stinks to.
        Why? Because we all want the Central to RETAIN their markee players. It only bodes well for the Central. The Division being as strong as possible is a GOOD THING for every team. As a Cardinals fan…I want them on their toes at all times. Battling good teams allows this to happen. It makes them stronger. It’s no different than Basketball, Softball or PingPong.
        Playing good competition keeps me sharp. Ditto for the NL Central.

  11. brewcrewfan54 - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    Congrats to Joey and Reds fans. I think this deal will ultimately cripple the teams ability to consistently put quality on the field around him though. Luckily the Reds have some young talent that’s locked up and relatively cheap right now but they basically started the countdown on their Reds tenures if they develop into good players.

  12. stoutfiles - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    As a Reds fan, I’m happy this went down. Yeah, we spent too much money, but after watching them be cheap since the Griffey Jr deal, it’s nice to finally see a commitment to putting a winning team out there. We’ve got a good young team and have a chance to make a run for the next few years.

  13. JP - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    A 10 year contract in a year-to-year business that depends on a person’s health is just plain stupid. But that’s what Cincy had to do to keep him from ending up with the Yankees, BoSox or Phillies.

    This sport badly needs a salary cap/floor. The competitive balance is severely distorted.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 2, 2012 at 10:34 PM

      Yanks have someone signed until ’17, Sox have someone signed until ’19 and the Phillies have someone signed until ’17 (option until ’18). So why did the Reds have to sign him now?

      Also, the Reds aren’t exactly a financial powerhouse, so how does this prove the game needs a salary cap/floor?

      • JP - Apr 3, 2012 at 1:31 AM

        The Yanks, Sox, Phills, Angels, etc. pluck the best talent from other teams by paying salaries that these owners are either unwilling or unable to compete with. You’ve got a gap of more than $125 million in payroll between the Yankees and Reds in 2011, you mean to tell me they both have an equal chance of winning the title? No, obviously not.

        So as a result, you get a homegrown talent like Joey Votto and management is so terrified of losing him and causing a fan revolt that they have to commit to this deal that probably won’t make sense for the latter 50% of it and definitely won’t make sense if Votto ends up getting hurt.

        I just wish MLB would adopt the NFL model that still allows the players to make exorbitant salaries – but they aren’t guaranteed until the end of time. A 10 year deal could end up crippling the Reds down the road, which is a shame because they have good intentions. The system is working against them.

      • stlouis1baseball - Apr 3, 2012 at 9:13 AM

        Because a small market team like the Reds are playing russian roulette with a signing like this Church. It could cripple them. Whereas the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies (for example)…could more easily take the hit. As he said…that’s what small market teams have to do to compete. I certainly agree with JP. It’s distorted.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 3, 2012 at 11:36 AM

        Because a small market team like the Reds are playing russian roulette with a signing like this Church

        I fully understand that this signing could cripple the franchise. However, A, Votto was under contract for two more years so they didn’t have to do this right now. B, you can’t use the big market teams as a reason for this contract, aka they’d go all in on Votto as a FA, when all of them have players signed for the next 5 years at a minimum.

        Now, as to what the small market teams have to do to compete. No one is forcing them to outlay $200M+ contracts for people. Votto has been a 4 fWAR player since he broke in full time in ’08. In ’11, he signed a 3 year deal worth $38M buying out his arbitration years. Why not give him a longer term, team friendly contract then like the Rays were/are doing? He had already established himself as a good player (not the great one we’ve seen the last two years). He forgoes some years of free agency for the benefit of a long term deal?

        Yes, teams like the Rays are playing with fire getting really young guys to sign long term deals. However, the actual dollar figures are far less than what these players would receive on the open market, so the players are trading security for top dollar. This is what other teams should do rather than chase the Yanks/Sox/Phillies for the big fish FA.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 3, 2012 at 11:39 AM

        Also, no one has said HOW a cap will benefit baseball. A floor merely forces owners to spend money, period. It doesn’t say they have to spend more money on the draft or IFA (gone with latest CBA). It merely says teams must spend X amount of dollars. What’s to stop someone like Sabean or Loria from merely tossing $5M on top of already crappy deal to some vet FA to get over the floor?

        Caps don’t make teams more competitive. Look at the Orioles or the Astros. Do you really think it’s lack of spending, or the fact they can’t buy top tier free agents that’s the root of their demise the last few years? When you have a team that is bad from top down one thing isn’t going to fix it.

        Baseball is a $7B+ industry and growing, even in this down economy. If the money is constantly pouring in, but the total expenditures are capped, where does that extra money go? Right into the owner’s pockets…

  14. watchfullhose - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    From your own article:

    “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.”

    So….paying pooholes until he’s 42 is ok, but Votto might not be as productive when he’s 37….so the consensus is that they overpaid? Shesh!

    Can Albert play DH when he’s 40 without PEDs?

    • stoutfiles - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:49 PM

      And that’s assuming that Pujols hasn’t lied about his age. But yes, Pujols was worth it for the Angels because they are making a fortune off their TV contract.

      • gmsalpha - Apr 3, 2012 at 1:21 AM

        Pujols’ contract is absurd. The second half of that monstrosity will be the worst 5 years in the history of baseball.

        With that said, it was worth it. The Angels knew they’d have to suffer down the road, but they had to give him that contract to get him to town, and he’ll pay the Angels back multiple times over in the first 3-5 years, regardless of what he does the rest of his tenure in Anaheim. Sometimes you just gotta overpay.

        I’m not going to say Votto isn’t worth it, but he isn’t worth it right now. He doesn’t have the consistency that Albert has over the course of a career. He could be worth every penny, but you just don’t know.

        Now, I’d pay Votto’s contract before Prince Fielder’s. I don’t trust Prince and his weight as far as I can throw. It’s going to kill his career, and sooner than anyone thinks. Votto’s in great shape, as is Pujols.

        The Reds were my home team growing up in Central Indiana, so I’m happy for them to finally make a splash. I hope for their sake it works out. I think it will, but it sure is scary.

    • stlouis1baseball - Apr 3, 2012 at 9:16 AM

      Fullhouse: You were doing a great job Man. You were illustrating your point very well.
      Then you had to phuq it all up with your “pooholes” and “ped” comment.
      You just can’t stand prosperity can you?

  15. firemarshal1 - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    Hey Metalhead65,

    Now our team is set. Joey “the man” is signed. FOX Sports Ohio will have to pony up the money to the Cincinnati Reds, they have done it in their other markets. For example, Texas Rangers????? Their market is smaller than the Reds, yet their TV revenue is WHAT?????? 50 MILLION PER YEAR. HOW’S THAT POSSIBLE????? Cincinnati has a larger viewership, with the following: southern Illinios, Indiana, Ohio (from Columbus south), Kentucky, and West Virginia. That’s at least 20 million strong, not including at 4 to 5 million displaced REDS fans nationally, like myself.

    If you don’t believe me, look at the College Basketball ratings for Saturday’s Ohio State game. Ohio fans are some of the most passionate, loyalist and best following fans in the nation. First the fans from New York, then Bostians, then the Ohio fans. Hey, last year attendents was down to unlucky weather conditions. Home games, it rained over 50 percent of the time. Now the recession is easing, the attendant will increase. The Reds fans know there’s a committment from ownership to winning. It’s great time to be a REDS fan. Go REDS!!!

    • metalhead65 - Apr 2, 2012 at 11:34 PM

      it is great the reds finally showed a comminment to winning now let’s hope they do not do what the previous owner did when he signed .jr griffey, you remember not spend another dime on somebody else to hep him and blame it on his contract and being a small market team. as for fox sports ohio they do not have to do anything to pay the reds since the current 10 million a year contract runs until 2016. it would be nice but I would not count on it. that said I hope they can live up to the hype but with the way dusty manages I would be surprised if they did.

    • xavier46 - Apr 3, 2012 at 4:51 AM

      “That’s at least 20 million strong, not including at 4 to 5 million displaced REDS fans nationally, like myself.”

      Last I checked, US population was 311M. According to your logic, 24-25M are part of the “larger viewership” of Reds games. Sooooo quick math – 1/12 of the US population is Reds fans and part of the viewership??? That’s ginormous. With a fan base so large, I’d be pissed at the owner for not outspending the Yanks and Sox every year. With 20M (in the direct region) fans vying for 42,271 seats every game, how is that place not sold out regardless of the weather??

      Calm your lady-wood down before you start telling me Mike Brown is a good owner too.

    • paperlions - Apr 3, 2012 at 7:30 AM

      Dallas-FW = 2.57 million households, plus ranger fans throughout the vast state of Texas

      Cincinnatti = 0.9 million households, and a much smaller viewership from the surrounding area

      Who will bid against Fox for the Reds TV rights? Anyone?

    • stlouis1baseball - Apr 3, 2012 at 3:46 PM

      Firemarshal: They don’t currently (nor have the ever) come out to see the Redlegs. Hell…even during the days of the Big Red Machine you could get a ticket. I can sit anywhere in the park for $35.00 – $50.00. In St. Louis that same ticket would cost me anywhere from $100.00 – $150.00.
      I am not sure why they don’t show up in Cincinnati. Although I refer to it as the Great American SMALLpark….it is a beautiful stadium. They pull from W. Virgina…Kentucky…Indiana and Ohio. Yet…they just don’t seem to show up. And since you mentioned it…you are flat out wrong with your Southern Illinois claim. Southwestern Indiana all the way through Missouri it is all Cardinals all the time. Hell…the southwestern part of Indiana even follows Central Time. Drive down to Vincennes and you can get virtually any piece of Cardinals gear you want.

    • cintiphil - Apr 3, 2012 at 7:16 PM

      Please stop with your nonsense. I have lived in several areas of which you speak. Not all are strong Reds territory. Central and So. Illinois are very much Cardinal country. Most of Western Indiana is cards territory too. I used to live there. Go to Evansville, In and see who roots for whom. Not many Reds hats there. In fact, in Indianapolis, there is almost a 50/50 split between Reds and Cardinal fans. Lets talk facts and not nonsense. The Ranger draw is twice the size of Cincinnati draw.

      • stlouis1baseball - Apr 4, 2012 at 9:02 AM

        Dead on Phil (with the exception of your Indy comment). I live on the Southside of Indy. Born and raised in Central Indiana. It is all Cubs/Reds. Aside from my Father and I…I know of (maybe) a handful of Cardinals fans. But drive South and Southwest and it’s Cardinals Country.

  16. firemarshal1 - Apr 2, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    LA Angels FOX Sports contract before Albert P.? 100 million?????? The Angels, it’s always going to be a Dodgers town for TV viewership. Sorry, LA is DODGER town, it will always be. Vin Scully is one of the best of all time. The REDS have Marty on radio, and Thom Brennaman on TV. Yes, Thom B. is one of the best announcers in baseball.

    • purpleronin - Apr 3, 2012 at 3:28 AM

      The Angels TV deal is for $3 billion over 20 years. Thats $150M a year b4 gate receipts, concessions, merchandise, etc. Pujols’ deal is actually for 20 years – and just 2 years of TV money pays for it. For the 20 years of marketing a hall of famer, and the cache he brings when luring future FA’s it will likely turn out to be a bargain for them in the long run…

  17. firemarshal1 - Apr 2, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    let’s play ball! I can’t wait.

  18. wj4122 - Apr 2, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    Happy for the reds but don’t deny the risk involved with this. This will do wonders for the reds for several years but the rest…….is unknown! Great for a town who has been dying for some big market signing action! GO DODGERS! :)

  19. thefalcon123 - Apr 2, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    Four slugging first baseman who signed deals for 20111 (and beyond)

    Angels first baseman: 150 OPS+ in 2011, $252 million dollar contact
    Tigers first baseman: 164 OPS+ in 2011, $214 million dollar contact
    Reds first baseman: 156 OPS+ in 2011, $225 million dollar contact
    Cardinals first baseman: 166 OPS+ in 2011, $12 million dollar contact

    Look, I highly doubt Lance Berkman will be as good as either of these 3 this year and certainly not beyond, but it’s just really funny to look at the gap in those numbers.

    …what an offseason to be a slugging first baseman.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:20 AM

      Considering 3 of those contracts are for roughly 10 years and the 4th is only for 1 it pretty much makes sense.

    • paperlions - Apr 3, 2012 at 7:41 AM

      Berkman is 36, his health is pretty good for a player that age, and he is still considered an injury risk.

      When Pujols turns 36, he’ll have 6 years left on his deal.
      When Votto turns 36, he’ll have 3 years left on his deal.
      When Fielder turns 36, he’ll have 4 months left on his deal.

  20. APBA Guy - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:26 AM

    “Clubhouse Confidential” on MLB did several shows looking at contracts over $ 100M and what factors might help in predicting whether the contracts play out for the teams that offer and sign them. Of the 16 such contracts before this offseason 4 were deemed successes for the team, 4 were break-even, and 8 were clear failures. A-Rod’s first deal was an example of a successful deal, Zito was an example of a failure. Success was measured by cumulative WAR. Indicators of success were:

    – player under 30
    – player a premium defender
    – contract no more than 6 years
    – correct reading of advanced stats indicating player not regressing
    – ownership not over-ruling baseball people

    Votto meets the criteria for a probable successful contract, even though the length of the deal is a “red” flag.

    Still, team success is another story as he’ll pull down over 20% of the team payroll unless they get a big boost in TV money when their contract with Fox Ohio expires in 2016.

  21. ndrocks2 - Apr 3, 2012 at 7:08 AM

    Stupid money but a better signing than Pujios. He plays in a hitters park, he’s younger than Pujious and is in better shape than Fielder. Cincy gets to keep their best player and yes it will “keep” butts in the seats. Is it worth it in ten years, obviously not with what his performance will probably be by then but they will keep a cornerstone and get years of service. Can’t blame the Reds for putting this behind them.

  22. scrap7681 - Apr 3, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    JP: all the teams you mentioned have first baseman signed to long term contracts with nowhere to put them if they were to sign Votto.

  23. dowhatifeellike - Apr 3, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    At first glance this looked ridiculous, but I’m a fan of an AL team so I don’t think I’ve ever seen Votto play more than a handful of games.

    After checking his stats, I don’t think it’s that crazy. I think a 10 year contract is stupid (for anyone), but I think the numbers he has put up are comparable to any of the other megacontract guys. And Votto has put up those numbers from day 1.

    However, I do think teams should put performance clauses on the end of these really long contracts. If Votto breaks down at age 36, he’ll still be paid $60 million over the final 3 years. Too much risk in a league with guaranteed contracts. No matter how bad he is at that point in time, he’ll keep playing for the money or force the Reds to buy him out. Maybe not. But I would.

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