Will Joey Votto be Coming to Toronto?


You knew it was going to happen, and frankly, we have no choice in the matter! As soon as statements were made by prominent baseball writers that the Reds may not be able to afford Joey Votto long term, we have to speculate as to whether or not Alex Anthopoulos will step up and make the Reds an offer they can’t refuse. The Jays and Reds have matched up for a deal in the recent past when the Jays sent Scott Rolen there in return for Zach Stewart, Josh Roenicke, and Edwin Encarnacion. Is there another deal to be made between the 2 clubs?

In my humblest opinion, the deal is there to be made. It all depends on each side and their willingness to get the deal done. The Reds could stubbornly hold on to Votto and watch him walk as a FA, much as the Brewers will likely do with Prince Fielder. The benefit for the Reds would be that they never have to deal with the “look at what we got back for Votto” questions and they’d also get what should be 2 top picks as he will definitely be a Type A FA. Also, they could hope that Votto signs a team friendly deal if he’s happy with the team, much like Ryan Braun has done with the Brewers.

However, will Votto come down in price enough for the Reds to afford him? I sincerely doubt it. He’s already set to make $17 million in 2013, so anything less than that moving forward is very unlikely.

Meanwhile, Alex Anthopoulos has voiced his unwillingness to overspend on the free agent market. I don’t think he’s overly enthused about the prices on the market, and he may be wary of bringing in players who have career years the very year they’re set to become free agents, only to watch them under-perform thereafter. He has also shown a propensity of targeting Canadian players. The premium in Votto’s case is that he actually hails from Toronto itself, making him a possible hometown hero the likes of which the Jays have never had!

To top it all off, Votto is in the prime of his career at 28 years old and still has a long fruitful career ahead of him.

Ok, so let’s assume that there’s interest on both sides of the equation for 1 second. How do the Jays and Reds match up for a deal?

The one thing the Jays have to deal which no other team can offer the Reds is a comparable first baseman that offers both pop and a core of the order bat in Adam Lind. Not only would he help maintain a strong lineup for the Reds, but he also comes with a very affordable salary: they can elect to keep him at a cost of $8 million or less through 2016 with an average salary of just over $6 million from 2012 through that point. He has shown a tremendous glove at 1B and better range than anyone expected, and he is well liked in the clubhouse.

When your offer begins with Adam Lind, the other team has to listen, don’t they?

Obviously, the struggles Lind has had – hot and cold streaks – will worry the Reds and they’ll want more value out of the deal. While Votto has had an OBP over .414 over each of his last 3 years, Lind has a high of .370 over that span – for example. So, what else could be in the works?

Just about anything. When you have one of the top 3 systems in all of baseball, you can simply ask the other GM, “what is it you’re interested in the most?” and see whether or not you’re willing or able to come to terms based on that conversation.

With Lind on board as a “we remain competitive in 2012″ piece for the Reds, it seems plausible that a deal could be struck between these 2 squads. What remains to be seen is whether or not other teams bid higher, whether or not the Reds and Votto himself are interested in having a deal made, and what “other costs” may be included on the Jays end. I do have one more note, however.

One thing that may go unnoticed is the extension that Votto recently signed. Right after Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto signed extensions taking them through arbitration years and buying out some free agent time, Votto signed a deal simply buying out his last arbitration eligible years. Why? Well, this tells us that either the organization didn’t like the price Votto placed on his free agent years, that Votto wanted to test that market, or that the Reds were unsure about their budget going forward from that point (post-2013). In any of those cases, the result seems to be that the Reds and Votto will likely part ways, whether it be this off season, during 2012, during 2013, or after the 2013 season. It is possible that they could come to terms on an extension before then, but it does seem unlikely after the perfect – and cheapest – opportunity passed them by when he signed his latest contract in January 2011.

Would Adam Lind be as good “protection” in the lineup for Jay Bruce as Joey Votto would be? Definitely not. However, he would be an above league average first baseman for the Reds through 2016 who should be cheap enough to allow them to resign pending free agent second baseman Brandon Phillips, making their lineup better at that position. If not there, the Reds would have more money to spend elsewhere.

I’ll attempt to answer some of the questions people may raise about making such a deal (on the Jays end of things).

Why deal so much talent for Joey Votto and make the lineup more expensive when we have Lind locked up cheap through 2016?

  • Answer: if you’ve listened to Alex Anthopoulos speak, he has said over and over again that the Jays want to have the best possible option at each position – when possible. Is Votto a major upgrade over Lind? Yes. Not only does he hit for higher average and get on base more often, but he takes a ton of pitches, something AA has decided to put an emphasis on. The Red Sox and Yankees have always shown more patience at the plate, thus the long games they play. The Jays have said they’d like to get better in that area. With Brett Lawrie, Joey Votto, and Jose Bautista in the core of their lineup, they’d get plenty of lengthy ABs which would wear down opposing pitchers.
Would picking up Joey Votto hamper the Jays chances at other “Investments”, such as the international or free agent markets?
  • The Jays have said over and over again that they’re willing to increase payroll. They simply are looking for the right investment. When you’re talking about filling your corner positions on the diamond with 2 Canadian super stars that would become an extremely marketable duo, I don’t think there’s a doubt in anyones mind that the Jays would get more than their money’s worth if they acquired Votto and signed him to an extension. Even if they extended Votto to a 6-year $150 million contract, they’d still have a budget that sits well below $80 million per season. Yeah, the Jays can afford Votto, and much more than that.
What about the “other” piece or pieces the Jays would have to include?
  • Even if the Jays had to include a starting pitcher and a prospect, for instance, in return for Votto, they’d still be better off for it in the long run. Why? Well, let’s say they wind up dealing an arm like Brett Cecil and a highly rated prospect for him. The Jays have a glut of pitching coming through HiA and AA that is ready to get tested at a new level. Deck McGuire could make the jump to the Jays from the beginning of the season. Drew Hutchison doesn’t seem far off either, and neither does Chad Jenkins. Offering the Reds an arm – or two depending on the prospect chosen – seems to make some sense then, doesn’t it?
What about the highly ranked 1B prospects the Jays already have in house (David Cooper and Michael McDade in particular)?
  • With all due respect to all Jays 1B prospects, none of them are likely to ever accomplish half of what Joey Votto can do for the Jays. That’s on and off the field, of course. He’s a leader, a player of MVP caliber, and a hometown player, none of which can currently be applied – or foreseen – from Cooper or McDade. If anything, as the Red Sox showed when dealing Rizzo in a package for Adrian Gonzalez – they both become great trade pieces. At worse, they can compete for the DH spot and be great depth pieces in case of injury.
How would the lineup look with Votto inserted in place of Lind?
  • Since Votto is used to hitting 3rd and would see more fastballs if placed there, it makes sense to have him hit in that spot. As great a player as he is, he can’t hit 50+ HRs like Bautista can. Therefore, the lineup should be Votto 3rd and Bautista 4th if a deal were ever struck. Making the lineup something in the sorts of: Yunel Escobar – Brett Lawrie – Joey Votto – Jose Bautista – Edwin Encarnacion or new DH if let go as a Type B FA – Colby Rasmus – Eric Thames – J.P. Arencibia – Second Baseman Signed or promoted (could be moved up depending on who it is).

To this point, I have always been a “it’s never going to happen” guy when it comes to bringing Votto to Toronto. However, having read recent reports about the situation the Reds are facing, it is the first time I see it as a slight possibility. As slight as it may be, it does seem plausible, and the Jays definitely have the goods to get it done if they so chose. Will they make a stab at it? Only Alex Anthopoulos knows for certain. What I can tell you is that when he’s zoned in and wants a player, he gets it done. You don’t have to look any further than the 3 team deals to get the Roy Halladay and Colby Rasmus deals done to know that if there’s a way, Alex will find a way to get it done. That, more than anything, is why I believe there’s a real chance Joey Votto could wear a Jays uniform at some point in 2012.

What are your thoughts on a possible Jays deal for Votto?

What Will Happen to Joey Votto Between Now and 2013?

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- MG<

  • JDGilroy

    Nothing the Jays do surprises me anymore. But i dont think the Reds would be interested in Lind. They have Alonso ready to step in at 1B. I would think they would look at a package where Snider could step in RF right away, maybe Hechevarria (although they have a solid SS prospect) and lots of young pitching.

  • JDGilroy

    Nothing the Jays do surprises me anymore. But i dont think the Reds would be interested in Lind. They have Alonso ready to step in at 1B. I would think they would look at a package where Snider could step in RF right away, maybe Hechevarria (although they have a solid SS prospect) and lots of young pitching.

  • JDGilroy

    Sorry, they actually two solid SS prospects.

  • JDGilroy

    Sorry, they actually two solid SS prospects.

  • JDGilroy

    Frankly, if Im the Reds, the conversation starts with Ricky Romero.

  • JDGilroy

    Frankly, if Im the Reds, the conversation starts with Ricky Romero.

  • christhompson14

    @JDGilroy I agree, Alonso would take over 1B if they traded Votto, so I also don’t see the Reds wanting Lind unless they feel he can be moved back to left field. Alonso can’t really play any other position then 1B as he was terrible in left and at 3B this year and his bat might already be better then Lind’s. I could see them offering a package of cecil, snider, mcguire, marisnick and janssen to get it done. I think Cecil would be a lot better in the NL.

  • christhompson14

    @JDGilroy I agree, Alonso would take over 1B if they traded Votto, so I also don’t see the Reds wanting Lind unless they feel he can be moved back to left field. Alonso can’t really play any other position then 1B as he was terrible in left and at 3B this year and his bat might already be better then Lind’s. I could see them offering a package of cecil, snider, mcguire, marisnick and janssen to get it done. I think Cecil would be a lot better in the NL.

  • JDGilroy

    I meant to say Snider would step right into LF, giving them a very young OF with tremendous potential. Re: Alonso, he is a 1B/DH type you can rake. They have no need for Lind. Jays would likely do the deal you suggest above, i would think, but might be hesitant to move Marisnick right now. He would actually be the most valuable piece your trade scenario, i think.

  • JDGilroy

    I meant to say Snider would step right into LF, giving them a very young OF with tremendous potential. Re: Alonso, he is a 1B/DH type you can rake. They have no need for Lind. Jays would likely do the deal you suggest above, i would think, but might be hesitant to move Marisnick right now. He would actually be the most valuable piece your trade scenario, i think.

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  • juanguzman

    instead of trading the young talent for votto who already makes alot, why not keep the youngsters and go after fielder……….aggressively!

  • juanguzman

    instead of trading the young talent for votto who already makes alot, why not keep the youngsters and go after fielder……….aggressively!

  • juanguzman

    prince fielder, that is

  • juanguzman

    prince fielder, that is

  • juanguzman

    use lind in a deal for a proven relief pitcher. then go after madson, papelbohn or be content with francisco who really pitched well down the stretch.

  • juanguzman

    use lind in a deal for a proven relief pitcher. then go after madson, papelbohn or be content with francisco who really pitched well down the stretch.

  • JDGilroy

    @juanguzman I hear ya, but depends on how much you value defence (Fielder is terrible, notwithstanding his great play yesterday), and how much Votto being the best Canadian MLB player means to Rogers Communications.

  • JDGilroy

    @juanguzman I hear ya, but depends on how much you value defence (Fielder is terrible, notwithstanding his great play yesterday), and how much Votto being the best Canadian MLB player means to Rogers Communications.

  • JDGilroy
  • JDGilroy
  • EricViola

    That’s dumb.

  • EricViola

    That’s dumb.

  • juanguzman

    as a non-canadian , just a jays fan in the states, i personally don’t care what country the players are from as long as they win. as i try to look at this from a canadian standpoint, i guess it would be good for attendance.

  • juanguzman

    as a non-canadian , just a jays fan in the states, i personally don’t care what country the players are from as long as they win. as i try to look at this from a canadian standpoint, i guess it would be good for attendance.

  • JaysJournal

    @JDGilroy I think that the Reds would be much happier with Lind at 1st base and in the lineup than Alonso who still has a ton to learn. They could easily flip Alonso to another team in return for another need (pen, rotation, ect..), so acquiring Lind is still a possibility despite Alonso’s presence.

    Having said that, there’s a lot to be said for the OF depth the Jays have and their minors pitching depth. A big question would be whether the Jays entertain trading Brandon Morrow for Votto? I think that would also get the ball rolling, although I am always leery of teams trading pitching away. In the case of the Jays and their youthful up-and-coming arms, it may make some sense.

    After all, there’s nothing wrong with acquiring Votto, keeping Lind as a DH and 1B replacement, and letting E5 walk to get the Type B sandwich pick. If anything, I like Lind a lot more as a #5 or 6 hitter anyhow, so that may make more sense in the end.

  • JaysJournal

    @JDGilroy I think that the Reds would be much happier with Lind at 1st base and in the lineup than Alonso who still has a ton to learn. They could easily flip Alonso to another team in return for another need (pen, rotation, ect..), so acquiring Lind is still a possibility despite Alonso’s presence.

    Having said that, there’s a lot to be said for the OF depth the Jays have and their minors pitching depth. A big question would be whether the Jays entertain trading Brandon Morrow for Votto? I think that would also get the ball rolling, although I am always leery of teams trading pitching away. In the case of the Jays and their youthful up-and-coming arms, it may make some sense.

    After all, there’s nothing wrong with acquiring Votto, keeping Lind as a DH and 1B replacement, and letting E5 walk to get the Type B sandwich pick. If anything, I like Lind a lot more as a #5 or 6 hitter anyhow, so that may make more sense in the end.

  • keith72

    Are you kidding me? Lind over Alonzo? As soon as Lind and his 295 OBP is brought up, the Reds will turn and run. Followed by a lack of returning phone calls. then they put AA’s # on their company wide call block list.

    If the Jays are looking to really make a deal for Votto, it starts with:

    Escobar – they need a shortstop

    Drabek – They need pitching. Yes he is still good!

    Snider – they have a black hole in LF. Too much potential here for us to give up on him.

    McGuire or Hutchinson – They desperately need pitching.

    Does this start to hurt Jays fans? If so then consider this the beginnings of what the Reds would want for Votto.

    It is highly unlikely that a deal is made. The Jays won’t give up a top 3 shortstop. And please don’t say that they could because of 108 AB’s in AAA by Hech.

    What they Jays should be targeting is a #2 starter. We need to cut our runs allowed not focusing on runs scored.

  • keith72

    Are you kidding me? Lind over Alonzo? As soon as Lind and his 295 OBP is brought up, the Reds will turn and run. Followed by a lack of returning phone calls. then they put AA’s # on their company wide call block list.

    If the Jays are looking to really make a deal for Votto, it starts with:

    Escobar – they need a shortstop

    Drabek – They need pitching. Yes he is still good!

    Snider – they have a black hole in LF. Too much potential here for us to give up on him.

    McGuire or Hutchinson – They desperately need pitching.

    Does this start to hurt Jays fans? If so then consider this the beginnings of what the Reds would want for Votto.

    It is highly unlikely that a deal is made. The Jays won’t give up a top 3 shortstop. And please don’t say that they could because of 108 AB’s in AAA by Hech.

    What they Jays should be targeting is a #2 starter. We need to cut our runs allowed not focusing on runs scored.

  • JDGilroy

    @keith72 Agree on Lind and Jays need for a top of the rotation starter. However, we are talking about Joey Freaking Votto here, so I would give up 3 and maybe all 4 of the players you mention.

  • JDGilroy

    @keith72 Agree on Lind and Jays need for a top of the rotation starter. However, we are talking about Joey Freaking Votto here, so I would give up 3 and maybe all 4 of the players you mention.

  • munro_16

    Adam Lind is just not that good. No way you can even put him in the conversation with Votto. Were talking about an MVP here. It will take a substantial package to pry him away from the Reds. I do love the idea of aggresively pursuing him though. I read a proposed deal that would include Escobar as the centerpiece. Just imagine if we traded Escobar and a couple prospects for Votto, and then went all in on Jose Reyes. They would have the sickest line up ever. Wishful thinking perhaps, but man it’s fun to dream.

  • munro_16

    Adam Lind is just not that good. No way you can even put him in the conversation with Votto. Were talking about an MVP here. It will take a substantial package to pry him away from the Reds. I do love the idea of aggresively pursuing him though. I read a proposed deal that would include Escobar as the centerpiece. Just imagine if we traded Escobar and a couple prospects for Votto, and then went all in on Jose Reyes. They would have the sickest line up ever. Wishful thinking perhaps, but man it’s fun to dream.

  • rafaelpohlak

    I think there only two players the Jays should NOT even consider in any deal for Votto.

    1. Romero

    2. Brett Lawrie

    If they trade Romero then they would need to find two replacement Romeros instead of the one addition they currently seek (tough enough).

    Maybe Morrow or Alverez would get more interest than Cecil.

    If, say, Bautista is involved then the extra players would be coming our way.

    I expect Jays to be serious contenders in 2013 with auditions/prospects eventually filling current big holes in pitching / centre field / infield(Hetch) .

  • rafaelpohlak

    I think there only two players the Jays should NOT even consider in any deal for Votto.

    1. Romero

    2. Brett Lawrie

    If they trade Romero then they would need to find two replacement Romeros instead of the one addition they currently seek (tough enough).

    Maybe Morrow or Alverez would get more interest than Cecil.

    If, say, Bautista is involved then the extra players would be coming our way.

    I expect Jays to be serious contenders in 2013 with auditions/prospects eventually filling current big holes in pitching / centre field / infield(Hetch) .

  • atomic_frog

    AA top priority is to sort out the organizational pitching depth, who to keep and who to deal in this off season. The lineup is the least concern for AA. The rotation needs to be iron out after Romero and Morrow.

  • atomic_frog

    AA top priority is to sort out the organizational pitching depth, who to keep and who to deal in this off season. The lineup is the least concern for AA. The rotation needs to be iron out after Romero and Morrow.

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  • Brendon.Kuhn

    I like this bog and think in general they do a great job, but the Reds were sure under-researched here. How can you write a Votto trade article and NOT mention Alonso at all? He is likely ALREADY a better 1B than Lind and he is under team control for a long time. He is one big reason Cin may be willing to deal Votto. Any package going the Reds way will not involve a 1B.

  • Brendon.Kuhn

    I like this bog and think in general they do a great job, but the Reds were sure under-researched here. How can you write a Votto trade article and NOT mention Alonso at all? He is likely ALREADY a better 1B than Lind and he is under team control for a long time. He is one big reason Cin may be willing to deal Votto. Any package going the Reds way will not involve a 1B.

  • cincyfan01

    Any deal for Votto that does not include Bautista coming back to the Reds isn’t going to happen. Adam Lind is a nice player, but let’s be serious.

  • cincyfan01

    Any deal for Votto that does not include Bautista coming back to the Reds isn’t going to happen. Adam Lind is a nice player, but let’s be serious.

  • WrongVerb

    As a Reds fan I’ve been contemplating this type of deal since June. The best scenario I can come up with is Votto and Bailey for Romero, Escobar, and Thames.

  • WrongVerb

    As a Reds fan I’ve been contemplating this type of deal since June. The best scenario I can come up with is Votto and Bailey for Romero, Escobar, and Thames.

  • tylersyoung

    No way CIN takes Lind; they can trade Votto because they have Yonder Alonso, one of the brightest 1B prospects in baseball. A deal would start with Ricky Romero and probably have to include Eric Thames and another A prospect.

  • tylersyoung

    No way CIN takes Lind; they can trade Votto because they have Yonder Alonso, one of the brightest 1B prospects in baseball. A deal would start with Ricky Romero and probably have to include Eric Thames and another A prospect.

  • Kylercahill1998

    Votto, Todd Frazier, and Daniel Corcino for Bautista and Brandon Morrow. Done.

  • Kylercahill1998

    Votto, Todd Frazier, and Daniel Corcino for Bautista and Brandon Morrow. Done.

  • tylersyoung

    MVP and two B+ prospects for a potential MVP and a below-average starter?

  • tylersyoung

    MVP and two B+ prospects for a potential MVP and a below-average starter?