Joey Votto had a magical season for the Cincinnati Reds last year. He was second in the National League with a .324 batting average, was third in the league in both home runs and RBI’s, he made the All-Star team for the first time in his career, was the NL MVP, and helped lead the Reds back to the playoffs. Yesterday the Reds rewarded the reigning NL MVP with a new contract keeping him in Cincinnati for at least three more years, avoiding arbitration, and allowing him to focus on helping the Reds defend their NL Central title.
Votto joined WLW in Cincinnati with Lance McAlister to talk about getting a new contract from the Reds, whether or not he had much say in the negotiations, what he thinks of the Reds chances this year, and why the contract only goes for the next three seasons.
On how much say he has in the negotiations:
“I’ve got a little bit of control freak in me and if this wasn’t such a busy offseason for me with the MVP thing, I won Canada’s Athlete of the Year, there were several other awards I won, and I did some traveling, so if I didn’t have all that stuff and all I had to concern myself with was the contract then I probably would’ve had a lot more say. I let my agent do his job and he did a great job. I let him deal with the Reds and I think it worked out well on both sides and that’s what you pay your agent for.”
How proud he is to earn such a big contract:
“After taxes it’s not a gazillion, but yeah it’s a good year. I’m proud of so many different things. A lot of the highlights of my year are not necessarily individual though. To win the MVP award is obviously a big success for me, but I have a picture of me, Miguel Cairo, Laynce Nix, and Jay Bruce up on my mantle of us holding the cigars and also from clinching the NL Central. That’s the type of memory that I reflect back on, really enjoy, and look forward to. That’s what I’m looking forward to going forward. Those are the type of memories that really excite me and put a real big smile on my face.”
The direction of the team:
“This is a true privilege and I’m really honored to receive this contract. It means a lot to me, my family, my friends, and it’s just a big deal. I’m just like everyone else when something like this hits you, you can’t help but be overwhelmed and be appreciative. I want to be able to say that. The other thing I’m proud to be part of an organization that is moving in the right direction and not because we signed Jay (Bruce) or Bronson (Arroyo), but because of all the little things. Because of Aroldis Chapman, because we get a healthy Edison Volquez back, because we’ve got a pitcher like Johnny Cueto, because Drew Stubbs looks like he’s got the chance to be a star, because we’ve got all these good things heading in the right direction with a good manager, coaching staff, and front office, I think that’s what I’m proud to be a part of right now and I think that’s why we’re heading in the right direction. I’m excited. I’m excited for next year. I talked to Dusty (Baker) today and every year I’ve been with him he’s always been really realistic about our chances and how much were going to improve. I asked him because he said last year this is our year guys. We can do it. We can really push forward and do some damage. Obviously the Phillies swept us but who knows how far we could’ve gone. He said we’re going to be better this year. He sees us doing better because of so many positive things going in our direction. I’m excited for that.”
Why the contract didn’t go past three years:
“Like I said it was a hands off thing. The number of years we came to was three. When it’s a negotiation like that there’s a lot of tugging on either side. To figure out the right number when it came to the five, six, or seven years, I don’t really know how that worked itself out but I think that we found a happy medium. I think that three years is right in the middle and honest to goodness I think it’s fair for both sides. I told Walt Jocketty that my goal is to be embarrassed that I signed this deal. My goal is to play so well that I feel like I sold myself short. That’s what I pride myself in and I want to be a very good player, I think I can, and hopefully I can just concentrate on baseball now.”
Listen to Joey Votto on WLW in Cincinnati here (Audio begins about a third of the way through the podcast)