Another Redsfest is behind us and as is often the case, I roll directly into the Winter Meetings.
Before getting to that, it was nice getting access to Jamie Ramsey’s “Better off Red” lounge on the Redsfest floor.
Once given my enchanced pat down by Jamie’s security detail, I could lounge on one of the sofas and be regaled by Jamie’s anecdotes along with Reds front office member Ryan Rizzo (pictured, left). Jamie politely offered copies of his TigerBeat magazines for Ryan and I to peruse and then showed off his autographed photos from the cast of Yo Gabba Gabba. So, thanks Jamie. Good times.
I’m on the ground in Florida and checked in at the hotel for the Winter Meetings. This is the first time I’ve attended the meetings at a site they’ve been before. Like four years ago, we are converging at the Swan and Dolphin Resport Hotel at Disney World in Florida. Check here and on the main web site and on Twitter to get updates. For now, I just have a couple of photos.
During the Rule 5 Draft, I remember hearing the Cubs used the third selection to take Josh Hamilton. I was thinking I didn’t know he was allowed to play because of his suspensions for drug use. The next thing I know about 15 minutes later, the Reds acquired Hamilton from the Cubs. GM Wayne Krivsky and scouting director Chris Buckley traded cash to the Cubs in exchange for the pick. Only at the last second did the Reds inform the Cubs with a slip of paper that it was Hamilton.
Hamilton, of course, had a solid rookie season with the Reds and rebuilt his career. His trade to the Rangers for Edinson Volquez was rated as even since both did well in 2008. Now Hamilton is the AL MVP. Volquez is freshly returned from Tommy John surgery. If Volquez gets back to his 17-win, All-Star form in 2011, fans will likely rate it positively again.
The reigning NL MVP Joey Votto arrived at Redsfest on Saturday and was naturally a man in demand. Votto talked with reporters with a little while. I will have more in a story later on MLB.com.
Obviously, there is much speculation about Votto’s contract situation. He’s arbitration eligible and due a large raise from his $525,000 salary in 2010. The Reds are open to signing Votto to a multi-year contract but when asked if he’d like to be in Cincinnati long term, Votto wasn’t prepared to tip his hand. Everything remains in the preliminary stages.
“I don’t know as far as beyond three years. I think it’s a real unfair question to ask,” Votto said. “This is not me saying I don’t want to be here. But last year was a difficult year for me. This year was a better year for me. It’s really hard for me to think three years ahead, five years ahead, seven years ahead or 10 years ahead. When [Troy] Tulowitzki signed that 10-year contract [with the Rockies], I was blown away. I can’t imagine seeing myself 10 years from now saying I want to be here. It’s an overwhelming thing to ask a young person like myself and say ‘here’s a lot of money. Be happy with this over 10 years, deal with it.’”
Votto said he has not timetable to get a deal done this winter.
“I wouldn’t let contract talks interrupt my lif,” Votto said. “It’s inevitable that I am going to have some sort of contract in the future. Whether it’s one year or whatever years, I’m not going to let that interrupt not only my free time, but also my training in the off-season. It certainly won’t affect my game. When you caught up in the hype and all the stuff and everything, that’s when you get into trouble. I’m not going to let that happen. “
It appears that Votto has no plans to take any hometown discounts to remain with the Reds for the long haul.
I’m not going to disrespect the people ahead of me that paved the way for those types of earnings and the people behind me that expect a certain amount or fair value,” he said. “I don’t want to hurt the people behind me. That’s not fair.”
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MLB.com has confirmed that Bronson Arroyo has reached an agreement with the Reds for extension that takes him and the club through 2013. The total deal is three years worth $35 million.
That includes the $11.5 million option the club exercised last month.
The original option was actually re-worked and this is a new three-year contract. The dollar amount I had is the same. However, there will be an amount of deferred money. The contract does not include no-trade protection but Arroyo was assured enough that there were no plans to move him that he still signed the deal. He can become a 10-5 player with automatic no-trade rights in 2012.
Arroyo took his physical earlier today.
“I just wanted the opportunity to stay on this ball club for the next few years,” Arroyo said. “We’ve been running uphill for the last four years and finally got to the top of the mountain. We saw the finish line at least and made the playoffs. We’ll hopefully more good seasons and make a run at it.
“I enjoy everything about the place. I enjoy the places I go, the restaurants I eat at and my teammates, the ballpark and the fans. I’d sign a five-year extension if they let me but I’m getting old so they’re only giving me three.”
The club has not made the deal official yet.
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Ahead of tonight’s 11:59 pm ET deadline, the Reds tendered contracts all of their players. This includes the six arbitration eligible guys — Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Bill Bray and Jared Burton.
I had written yesterday that Burton could be a candidate for being non-tendered. I was apparently wrong.
“It’s tough to find quality arms,” general manager Walt Jocketty said. “Burton was healthy at the end of the year. It’s not that much of a financial burden. It made sense to tender him.”
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