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Reds vs. Joey Votto...who really has the upper hand?


There's been plenty of talk lately about the contractual status of RR's beloved MVP, Joey Votto.  There are many factors at work, many of which have been detailed extensively over the past few weeks.  Joey's hitting arbitration for the first time this year, on the heels of his first NL MVP award after leading the Reds to the postseason for the first time in 15 years, and Yonder Alonso is waiting in Louisville. 

On a quick glance, it cleary appears that Joey's got the bargaining power in any contract negotiations.  He's a product of the Reds' system, he's OPS'd .958 over 456 games, he's a model citizen, and by all accounts his teammates like him.  He's been called an anchor, a "battleship," and most recently, he's been called more valuable than Albert Pujols...high praise for a 27 year old who made $525K this year.  These all make a very compelling argument that he can ask for the moon in any contract extension...but can he?

The Yankees have already committed the GDP of Eastern Europe to Mark Texeira to be their 1B for the long term, and have A-Roid locked up until he's decrepit (thereby prohibiting them from pursing Votto as a DH exclusively.)  Boston has already communicated with Kevin Youkilis that they'd prefer he spend the offseason working on his 3B skills, presuming that they're after a 1B...with Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, and Adrian Gonzalez entering the final years of their contracts, they're all potential targets for the other highest spending team in the league.  The Angels like Kendry Morales enough to not trade for a 1B midseason this year, the Mets apparently found their 1B of the futuire in Ike Davis after his mid-season call up, the Tigers are locked in with Miguel Cabrera for a 9 figure contract and half a decade, and the Cubs are 1B shopping this offseason. 

If those are the high-payroll clubs, and they're all going to be committed to high-paid, (mostly) LH 1B, do the Reds really have THAT big of a risk that Votto will leave to chase a contract that the Reds can't match?  Seemingly every team that has a history of "outspending" clubs like Cincinnati will have a player of relative comparison occupying the same position and batting order spot that Votto would command. 

My question is this...do these facts actually put the Reds in the driver's seat to resign Votto to reasonable deal?  Do the Reds want to wait until Prince Fielder signs his next contract (considering he's already turned down $100 million plus from the Brewers?)

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