Results tagged ‘ Joey Votto ’

Leading off…Drew Stubbs

When asked if he had settled on a leadoff man with three weeks to go, Reds manager Dusty Baker took a long pause before answering.

“Probably Stubbs, still,” Baker said. “If it doesn’t work, I can go to somebody else. There’s a chance I was going to go with somebody else sooner or later anyway. So far, our best leadoff hitter isn’t quite ready for the big leagues.”

Baker was likely referring to Dave Sappelt, who actually led off on Friday vs. Texas. Stubbs batted second.

Stubbs has the speed but his offensive numbers didn’t lend to the leadoff spot last season. In 34 games in the top spot, he batted .220 with a .324 OBP. Overall, he had 22 homers, and 168 strikeouts.

*Coming into the day, Joey Votto was batting .125 with eight strikeouts in 16 at-bats. Baker had zero concern about Votto.

“He started out bad ever since I’ve known him,” Baker said. “The first year here, I didn’t know what to think. I liked what I saw in BP. I liked his regular season stats. It just didn’t equate to what I was seeing in Spring Training. It takes him a while to get his timing and zero in on his concentration. I’m not worried about him. I’ve seen guys every spring kill it in Spring Training but when they put that third deck on top, wouldn’t hit a lick.”

Thursday afternoon notes

Today was day two of the live BP between Reds pitchers and Reds hitters.

Among those that threw included Dontrelle Willis, Francisco Cordero, Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo, Edinson Volquez, Nick Masset and Jose Arredondo. Willis threw well and at one point struck out Yonder Alonso with a pretty nifty curveball.

Drew Stubbs cleared the fence hitting against Arroyo. Todd Frazier took Cueto deep over the left-center field wall with a hearty blast. Juan Francisco hit a booming homer to right field against Volquez.

Being so early in camp, don’t read too much into the results — positive or negative. Some of the hitters in were told what pitches were coming by the pitchers. It’s purely a get work in session under simulated game conditions.

I tried to get video of live BP today and yesterday but the quality was poor. I flunked out of videographer school.

*Other drills included pitchers fielding their position and throwing to different bases based on varying situations devised by coach Chris Speier.

*It was reported, and I confirmed, that 1B prospect Yonder Alonso switched agents recently. Alonso is now represented by Dan Lozano, who also happens to be the agent for Joey Votto.

*Speaking of Votto, he was feeling under the weather yesterday and not so great today with an upper respiratory issue. However, Votto was cleared to participate in the workout after being seen by the medical staff.

*For MLB.com/Reds.com stories — there will be a feature on outfield prospect Dave Sappelt. He moved quickly last season and earned two promotions and ended in Triple-A — partially on need but mostly because of performance.

“He’s a very exciting player,” Triple-A Louisville manager Rick Sweet said. “He’s aggressive. He swings the bat, puts the ball in play and runs. I would say the biggest thing is he creates havoc. He makes things happen. One thing about him is he’s not a low-key sit back and watch the at-bat player. He knows what he’s going to do and what’s going to happen.”

*In yesterday’s live BP, Jerry Gil’s velocity was hard not to notice. Gil, the former infielder that converted to pitching in 2008, can reach 97 mph.

“I feel way better than when I started pitching my first couple of years,” Gil said on Thursday. “I felt like my arm was going to fall apart. It hurt a lot in the beginning. But I got used to it and now I feel better. I thought pitching would be easy but it’s not that easy. You have to work hard.”

*Infielder Chris Valaika is trying to make the club as an extra player. Sitting on a bench could hamper his overal development if he’s not hitting every day, but Valaika felt it was something he could handle.

“That’s definitely a tradeoff,” Valaika said. “Getting your at-bats and playing every day is important for development. But just being in the big leagues and learning from Edgar [Renteria] and Miguel [Cairo] – guys that have been there and done that – I think that’s important as well.”

I’m getting an off day on Friday and will not be around the complex. Be sure to check for stories from colleague Barry Bloom, who will be on the case.

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Votto in camp, a rainy camp

So it does rain the desert….

This was first horrible weather day out here around bucolic Reds complex in Goodyear. You know it’s a bad sign when high winds create a dust storm and tumbleweeds are rolling around. The first full squad workout was an abbreviated affair indeed. Much of it was moved indoors to the cages — something that would not have been as easy in Sarasota.

All 54 players on the spring roster are present and accounted for. The last four to check in were Joey Votto, Scott Rolen, Jonny Gomes and Miguel Cairo. Gomes was sporting a freshly shorn Mohawk and was proud that his new son, Colt, was born on Valentine’s Day. It is Gomes’ second child.

This was the first extended and in-person opportunity  to speak with Votto since he signed his $38 million contract last month. You can see the full story shortly on MLB.com. I asked him if it was as life-changing as it would seem to have that kind of money and security.

“The only way it could be life changing is if I allow it to be life changing,” Votto said. “I think I have my priorities in check. I have my family, my friends ,myself, my dog, my free time. I have other interests, not just baseball. Most importantly, I feel like my job is a huge priority of mine. I enjoy my job, money or not. I feel the exact same way. I love competing. I want to see how good I can be. I want to play for a winning team. I feel lucky because I am one of those guys that does play for a winning team.”

Not in the story was a quote from Votto about winning some of the awards and accolades he received over the winter. Besides the NL MVP, he was recognized in his native country as the Canadian Athlete of the Year. That was big to him.

“I won a ton of really cool Canadian awards. Fans in Cincinnati or Americans in general may not understand how important something like that is to someone like myself,” Votto said. “To be on a list of a ton of fantastic athletes is pretty incredible, also in an Olympic year. It’d be like beating USA Basketball. I’m very proud of those. The MVP is definitely at the top of the list. But winning Canada’s athlete of the year is pretty darn close.”

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Renteria contract breakdown

Greetings after a week away on “Staycation.”

Although off, I got to enjoy all the trappings of last week’s snow (or white death) in Cincinnati. The school closings, the roads, the frigid temperatures, etc.

A flight to Arizona is just around the corner though.

Still waiting on the Johnny Cueto contract situation to be resolved after he appeared to agree to terms on a four-year, $27 million deal as reported by espndeportes.com. I’m also going to check in and see what’s up with Edinson Volquez.

It’s amazing that for all the heat the Reds had taken from fans for standing pat much of the off-season, they still allocated $151 million on four players in Bronson Arroyo, Jay Bruce, Joey Votto and Cueto. And they still could add even more with Volquez.

Add in the salaries spent on Ramon Hernandez, Miguel Cairo, Edgar Renteria and Fred Lewis and the Reds weren’t all that idle.

I have a salary breakdown that might interest you on Renteria, realizing it’s kind of late but I got it while I was out…

Base salary: $2.1 million with $600,000 deferred without interest.

Bonus opportunity:

$100,000 for 300 plate appearances
$100,000 for 350 plate appearances
$125,000 for 400 plate appearances
$150,000 for 500 plate appearances
$250,000 for 550 plate appearances
$25,000 for All-Star game
$50,000 for Gold Glove
$50,000 for Silver Slugger
$50,000 for LCS MVP
$100,000 for World Series MVP

$20,000 to be donated to the Reds Community Fund.

Basically, Renteria is being paid handsomely, but relatively modestly, to back up for Paul Janish. However, if he’s needed to step up and play regularly, he knows he will be compensated accordingly. 

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Votto agrees to three-year deal

This just in — the Reds and Joey Votto have agreed to terms Sunday on a three-year, $38 million contract with 1B Joey Votto, baseball sources told MLB.com. This is pending a physical, which is scheduled for Monday.

This would cover all three of Votto’s arbitration years and allow him to reach free agency after 2013.

The Reds have yet to make any announcements. A message was left with GM Walt Jocketty.

While the Reds have avoided making big splashes to bring in players from the outside, this deal would be another big expenditure to retain talent. In December, both Bronson Arroyo (3 yrs/$35 mil) and Jay Bruce (6 yrs/$51 mil) received multi-year contracts.

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Plugged back in

You may have noticed (or perhaps, not at all) that I was on vacation over the last week. I provided a couple of Reds stories in advance of time off. Hopefully you got to read them. They were: Paul Janish ready to be everyday shortstop and Todd Frazier seeking a fresh start in 2011

*Plus there was of course, Jay Bruce’s press conference and Joey Votto was named Canada’s athlete of the year.

 

*And over on “Better Off Red,” Jamie Ramsey had a nice Q&A with Bronson Arroyo — who never has trouble unplugging and traveling during the off-season.

Actually, I took a “staycation,” since I really didn’t go anywhere. The one thing I did do was unplug since  I barely checked email and didn’t look at Twitter once in seven days. I highly recommend it to those who are tethered to their smartphones and computers all the time. Trust me when I say you’ll get points from your family (and fun) when you don’t always have a drifting eye on your email and other things like Twitter. 

But of course, there was still the Internet and television and I certainly didn’t miss the big baseball news of the weekend — that Zack Greinke was traded to the Brewers. Since I got more emails from this winter than any other that the Reds had to get Greinke — I imagine this isn’t a good news story for you. Cincinnati was never really “in” on Greinke. They weren’t willing to part the haul of top young talent to get him and Milwaukee was. They’re making an all-in “go for it” move for 2011. They’re also taking a huge risk. 

That’s the not to say at all the Reds aren’t going for it next season. They simply feel that the young players they already have in place will mature and get better and can still contend without the giant risk taking. The Brewers will have an improved rotation to go with their potent lineup. I’m sure they will be a trendy pick to take the NL Central.

Unlike Cliff Lee, who has proven himself on the big game stage, Greinke had no such track record in Kansas City. I will be curious to see how he does in the National League, where it should be easier to pitch. I will write more about this on MLB.com/Reds.com later today.

The Reds will get to find out quickly — after all, they will have Opening Day vs. the Brewers on March 31, 2011. I’d be willing to bet Greinke will get that assignment.

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Cairo re-signed to two-year deal

The first transaction was completed by the Reds on Wednesday as free agent utility infielder Miguel Cairo was re-signed to a two-year contract. The terms aren’t known, but GM Walt Jocketty said ‘it’s less than market.”

The deal was agreed to on Tuesday night.

“Miguel played a big part in the success of our club this year,” Jocketty said. “He had a very good year. He’s a veteran player that keeps himself in great shape and is always ready to play and fills in a lot of ways. He’s instrumental in the makeup of the clubhouse. He wanted a two-year deal. We talked about it. The price was right so we did it.”

In 90 games with the Reds, Cairo batted .290. He made 38 starts at four positions (26gs at 3B, 9gs at 1B, 2gs at 2B, 1gs at RF).

In other news — talks are ongoing with the agent for Arthur Rhodes.The two asides are still divided on money.

“We met with his agent again today. We made some progress but we’re a ways a part,” Jocketty said.

It appears that LHP Denys Reyes is headed to the Phillies, which were reportedly taking a look at Rhodes too. That lessened his options a bit. At 41, Rhodes was seeking a multi-year deal.

“He is but he’s not going to get it from us,” Jocketty said. “I think he is OK with that.”

Talks were held with Joey Votto’s agent. The Reds will offer a mult-year contract but nothing is expected to get done here.

“They weren’t really ready to talk about it,” Jocketty said.

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Quick Winter Meetings update

Some quick notes from a session with Reds GM Walt Jocketty.

*The Reds have had talks with the agent for Miguel Cairo. Jocketty was optimistic Cairo could be re-signed this week. It would be for a big league contract.

*Talks are planned this week with the agent for LHP Arthur Rhodes

*Joey Votto’s agent, Danny Lozano, is here at the hotel. But Jocketty did not indicate talks were set up yet. As for getting deals done with Votto, Jay Bruce or other arbitration eligible guys…

“I don’t see anything happening on any of that stuff here,” Jocketty said.

When asked whether his reception to inquiries about Yonder Alonso are affected by Votto’s status…

“I think right now, Yonder is a guy that still figures in the organization,” Jocketty said. “It gives us protection. He believes that he’s working this winter to come in and compete for a spot on the bench next year to play some first and left field and be a left-handed hitter off the bench.”

*Asked about speculation of the Reds interest in Royals ace Zack Greinke:

“I haven’t had any discussions with them,” Jocketty said.

Otherwise, the Reds suite at the Swan & Dolphin Resort Hotel hasn’t been too busy.

More later…

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Votto at Redsfest

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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No non-tenders

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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