Much has already been said already about Joey Votto's three-year, $38M deal. JinAZ graced us with an excellent, surgical analysis of the contract. Fangraphs declared the Reds winners on a dollar-amount basis. Joey Votto himself called in to WLW to talk to fans directly. Personally, I knee-jerk reacted with a trace of negativity to the length (lack therof), but negotiation is the art of the possible. One thing I like about this contract, other than the highly-touted cost certainty, is that it could (could) be a nice opening salvo in the negotiation for a longer extension, provided Votto is open to staying after 2013.
Though I think Votto is fully capable of upping his game, 2010 is more likely to be the best season, compared to the next three, than the worst. That could tilt the negotiation in the Reds' favor, however slightly. The team has now set, with certainty, the baseline to which a future Votto contract could hew.
While the discussion has centered around the length and total dollar amount of Joey Votto's contract, we have the yearly breakdown, via the AP:
$6M signing bonus ($2.5 million on signing, $1.5 million in 2012 and $2 million in 2014)
The most interesting detail here is that signing bonus, $2M of which is deferred until 2014. That give the Reds a slight bit of flexibility on the back-end, in addition to a sort of leaving-stuff-at-your-ex-girlfriend's-place strategy to prolong the relationship. If the Reds are already paying you in 2014, why not keep the accounting simple? No need to fill out start paperwork or come up with a voided check.
We also have the details on Jared Burton and Bill Bray's arbitration avoidance. Somewhat surprising given the history of the process, Burton is taking pay cut, from $810,000 to $750,000. Bray reportedly gets $645,000 next year.
Two arb cases remain: Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto. Today is the deadline to exchange numbers, so we could be hearing something soon. Cueto is the more likely to get a multi-year deal, potentially even free agent years bought out. At worst, the Reds have a chance to lock-up a #3/#4 starter for significantly below free agent market value. Volquez is a great buy-low candidate, having yet to complete a full season after Tommy Johny surgery, but this may be the very reason the club stays year-to-year with him. Assuming an $80M payroll ceiling and league minimum (or close) on the pre-arb guys (Stubbs et al.), the Reds have approximately $7M to divide between Volquez and Cueto.
With a full 40-man roster and only two contracts to settle, the offseason transactions are all but over for the Reds. In a relay from Jocketty, Mark Sheldon tells us that we should expect the Reds to reveal their Spring Training roster "in the next week." No further moves are expected, not even little old non-roster spring training invites: "We probably won't add anyone from outside the organization," Jocketty said.
The next likely roster shake-up could happen toward the end of Spring, with Willis or Hermida knocking someone off the 40-man for a spot on the Opening Day roster. All aboard.