Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Reds GM Walt Jocketty Puts Stop to Trade Joey Votto Talk

I've written over the last couple of months on the talk of the Cincinnati Reds on trading first baseman Joey Votto. The guys doing the talking are a bunch of pundits. In Cincinnati, 1530 Homer's Lance McAlister, Cincinnati Enquirer's sports columnist Paul Daugherty, and John Fay have all said the Reds should trade Votto for financial reasons. On the national level, Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal and ESPN's Buster Olney have suggested it also.

I've criticized it as making no sense from a baseball standpoint and the only way a trade like this works if all you care about is maximizing profits. I'll go over this again for you saberheaded pundits who thinks sabermetrics is the word of God. This past season, everyone knows the major problem with the Cincinnati Reds was hitting with runners in scoring position. Now Joey Votto's career batting average with runners in scoring position is a whopping .350. (Baseball-Reference.com) Votto also hits for power and average. And let's not forget he was MVP in 2010. Trading Votto only exacerbates the Reds problems with hitting with runners in scoring position. Got to score runs to win, right?

What's driving this "Trade Votto" goofiness?

a. The Reds payroll. The pundits look to the fact that in 2013, Joey Votto will be paid 17 million. Okay, but the Reds signed Votto to this three year contract to keep him in Cincinnati. Votto didn't hold a gun to the head of Reds owner Bob Castellini, so we can safely assume that the Reds can afford him through the 2013 season. Pundits will say that the Reds can't afford one player making that much of the payroll. They say the Reds' payroll is around 80 million. Who says that? We don't' know how much the Reds can afford. It could be 120 million for all we know. Second, if the Reds lose Votto after 2013, so what? Where's the team's short term strategy?

b. National pundits want Votto on a big market team. Yeah, that's cynical. But baseball has now gravitated to big market teams like Los Angeles, New York, Boston and Philadelphia. Votto on the small market Reds does not draw big interest, at least not in TV ratings.

c. Rival GMs creating trouble. If you watched the film, "The Ides of March", the Paul Giamatti character causes his rival campaign to lose its brilliant communications director with an offer to work for him. It didn't matter if the communications director accepted the job or not. The purpose wast to cause trouble and hopefully to get the director fired. Same principle here. Read Buster Olney's story and he cites an anonymous baseball executive saying the Reds can't afford Votto and saying the team will listen to trade offers.

d. Too much Moneyball. I think the local pundits think sabermetrics will save the Reds. Yeah, the "Moneyball" Oakland A's had great teams in the first part of the decade. That was primarily because they had great pitching which they developed. Mark Mulder. Barry Zito. Tim Hudson. Where are the A's now? They have just finished five straight years of non-winning baseball. So do the saberheads have somebody who can replace Votto's numbers especially with runners in scoring position?

Just Win Baby.

With all the young talent, Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto, the pundits should be thinking about a way for the Reds to win in this two year window. I mean did you see the Milwaukee Brewers panic with the likely loss of their first baseman Prince Fielder? No. They realized there was a window, and the Brewers went out and got two excellent starting pitchers in Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke. And guess what? They're playing in the NLCS. The Reds should do the same. They should look at signing a quality starting pitcher.

Saberheads aka sabermetricians and pundits should just shut up.

Addendum. Wow. Lance McAlister tonight on WLW 700 has just doubled down. He's really pushing the trade Votto now route. He cites the success of the Tampa Bay "Devil" Rays as an example. They lost Carl Crawford to free agency and were able to make the playoffs. HOLD ON THERE SHOTGUN.

The Rays have used the "lose to win" strategy. That's were you don't spend money and lose, so you can build up high draft picks. Eventually, those draft picks work, at least you hope. Let's take a look at the years before the Rays make it to the World Series in 2008. Starting with their inaugural year, their wins are as follows 63, 69, 69, 62, 55, 63, 70, 67, 61, and 66. That's a lot of losing. Sometimes it doesn't work. See the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Reds GM Walt Jocketty finally had enough of the Votto trade talk. He told reporters, “I’m tired of talking about it,” he said. “We’re not shopping him. We’re not entertaining offers. It’s frustrating. He’s one of the best players in the game. Why would we trade him? I wish people would stop writing about it. Everyone is assuming they know our business. They don’t. Then they write this and I have to call Joey and his agent and let them know there is nothing to it. It’s not fair.” John Fay's Reds Blog.

There. Now will you goofy pundits please stop talking about trading Joey Votto?

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