Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Trading Joey Vottto This Year Would Be A Mistake

Lance McAlister of 1530 Homer and Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer (8-7-2011, col. 5, pg. c-9) have suggested that the Cincinnati Reds trade their first baseman, Joey Votto. (Pictured.) This all stems from a report by Reds beat reporter John Fay that the Reds and the Toronto Blue Jays were exploring the possibility of trading Joey Votto and a good pitching prospect for the Blue Jays' Jose Bautista. Yesterday Lance posted an USA Today report about Toronto making their team one that would represent the nation and compete big time with Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. Let's take a look at this proposed trade from a Reds fan viewpoint.

1. The Pros. This requires some assumptions. Joey Votto is signed through 2013. He's owed seventeen million for the last year of his contract. Assumptions require that Votto will not resign after year three. Another is that the Reds can't afford Votto when he's owed seventeen million. So the pro would be the money savings and you get something since Votto will leave in 2013.
The next assumptions requires that Jose Bautista will continue to blast home runs like Barry Bonds and that Votto's replacement, likely Yonder Alonso, would hit like Votto.

Now Jose Bautista is contracted through 2015. His salary is approximately 14 million per year. However in baseball terms, Votto's salary of 17 million is only slightly higher than Bautistan's 14 million. On the other hand, you would have Baustista for two more years.

2. The Cons. If the Reds trade Joey Votto, they would trade one of the premier players in baseball. He hits for power, average and with runners in scoring position. Joey Votto's career average is .316. Last year he blasted 37 homers. His career average with runners in scoring position is a fantastic .355.

Before 2010, Jose Bautista was a journeyman player. His big year was last year when he launched 54 home runs, had 124 RBI but batted only .260. Yeah, he's having another good year this year. But his career batting average is .253. Worst, is that his career average with runners in scoring position is a paltry .226.

Votto is 27. Bautista is 31. Joey Votto was a MVP. Looking at just numbers, it's a no brainer. Joey Votto is a great player. Jose Bautista reminds me of 1996's Brady Anderson who out of nowhere hit fifty home runs for the Baltimore Orioles. He never approached that number again. There's nothing to indicate that Bautista would be consistent with power or average. And frankly Bautista does not hit with runners in scoring position. Simply put, Joey Votto is the better player. And that's by a longshot.

Why this trade is as bad as the Josh Hamilton for Edinson Volquez trade. Trading Votto in 2011, sends the white flag up for 2012. If the goal every year is to win the World Series, you have a better chance with Joey Votto and Yonder Alonso than Jose Bautista and Yonder Alonso.

On the money front, we don't' know what the Reds budget will be in 2013. Nobody knows how much the Reds can spend. We don't know if Joey Votto won't resign with the Reds. We know what we get in Joey Votto. If Bautista tanks, the Reds are stuck with his contract for an extra 28 million dollars. It's that fact, that makes me doubt the wisdom of the Enquirer's John Fay. And trust me, I've read Fay for years and there are times he makes goofy comments.

What you get with Joey Votto is a guy who hits in the clutch. And if you know the problems with this team, the 2011 Reds don't hit in the clutch, i.e. hitting with runners in scoring position. Hitting in the clutch leads to victories. We don't know if Yonder Alonso can hit like Joey Votto. The tandem of Bautista and Alonso would not hit in the clutch like the tandem of Votto and Alonso. And Bautista has red flags of not hitting in the clutch and no long term of evidence that he will produce home runs at the 2010 level. Even if he could, he's more like former Reds outfielder Adam Dunn who could hit home runs but was bad hitting with runners in scoring position. It would be a terrible trade.

So why raise the white flag on the 2012 season now? The goal is to win world championships, isn't it?

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