Under the headline “Report: Blue Jays want to know if Reds are trading Votto,” theScore (which is generally a decent outlet) reported this:
The Toronto Blue Jays still appear to have some interest in bringing Joey Votto home.
With the possibility of an opening at first base looming once this season ends, Toronto reportedly told the Cincinnati Reds not to trade the All-Star first baseman without talking to them first, sources told Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball.
Well, this is big news! Are the trade talks between Toronto and Cincinnati back on? I know that there had been some discussions between the organizations some time ago about the Jays possibly bringing Votto home, but after the Reds have weathered the worst of the rebuilding storm, I was hopeful that Votto was here to stay.
So let’s click through and see if we can get some details from the original report by Jon Heyman. First thing I notice is that the headline is a little different than the one at theScore: “Heyman: Could Votto to the Blue Jays be rekindled?”
Well, that almost seems like Heyman is tossing something out there, rather than reporting actual news. No worries, we can just scroll down and check out Heyman’s actual piece:
There were definitely real trade talks last July between the Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds about Joey Votto, and while there havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been talks lately, it still might be something to keep an eye on.
Oh, so “there haven’t been talks lately”? I guess that means that trade talks aren’t back on. “Sources” did tell Heyman — and take everything from Heyman with a grain of salt — that the Jays, at some point, told the Reds to check with them before trading Votto elsewhere. But there is no suggestion whatsoever that the trade talks have recommenced, or that there is anything for Reds fans to start getting nervous about.
On the other hands, there were a couple of items in that Heyman piece worth mentioning. First, there’s this:
Reds GM Dick Williams said in a phone interview heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d like to keep Votto right in the middle of their lineup, and hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t heard Votto, who has a full no-trade in his contract, suggest he had any real interest in going elsewhere, even to his hometown Blue Jays. (Other Reds insiders also say they believe Votto prefers to stay; Reds veterans seem to love it there).
Obviously Reds veterans love it in Cincinnati. It’s a great town.
Williams says he believes the Reds are closer to contention than they were a year ago, and thus isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t in any way anxious to deal Votto. But other teams believe VottoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s $225-million, 10-year extension, which has eight years to go, makes as little sense for the small-market Reds as it did the day it was signed.
(A) Yes, the Reds are closer to contention than they were a year ago. They’re going to need Votto in the middle of their lineup the next few years if they truly expect to contend in the near term.
Then there’s this:
One person with connections to the Jays suggested the offset would have to be substantial even though VottoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s continued to perform at a very high level, and in fact stepped up his game in the second half last year and again this year, especially again in the second half. That person suggested the Jays would want the Reds to pay most of the final few or even four years.
Every single team in baseball would like to have Joey Votto if the Reds were paying most of his contract. Every. Single. Team. Or, as Chris said:
"If you're willing to send us $75-100M, we'd love to have Votto."
Yeah, TOR is rare that way.
— Chris Garber (@cgarber8) October 15, 2016
So anyway, much ado about nothing. No trade talks are ongoing, as far as we know. Not that it would bother me if the Reds were looking to trade Votto. Don’t get me wrong: I want Votto to finish his career in Cincinnati. He’s a really good baseball player, you know.
But I’m always of the opinion that no one on the Reds roster should be “untouchable.” If some team wants to break the bank and overpay for Votto or someone else, sure, GM Dick Williams should make that deal. I’m always open to any opportunity to improve the Reds’ roster. Just don’t dump Votto for less than he’s actually worth.
Either way, it appears that the Reds aren’t actively looking to move Votto this off-season. This is a case of a writer just trying to get clicks. Of course, that’s kinda what I’m doing here, too. The difference is that I’m not making any money on your clicks. (Maybe I need to rethink our “business” model?)