Monday, October 10, 2011

Jocketty: Team Not Trying to Shop Votto

Reds GM Walt Jocketty shot down rumors on Monday that the team was actively "shopping around" All-Star first basemen Joey Votto.

This coming on the heels of a story published by ESPN's Buster Olney on Saturday -- an article that implied the club was seriously willing to listen to offers for the reigning National League MVP (to read our take on the story and situation check out the post here.)

"I'm not interested in that. To have a player who's one of the best hitters in the game -- and we try to build our offense around him -- I'd be more inclined to sign him long-term if we could beyond [the] 2013 season," Jocketty told USA TODAY on Monday. "It may be cost-prohibitive, but I think it's something we at least have to explore before we consider anything else with him.

Votto, 28, is about to enter his second year of a three year contract that will pay him $9.5 million this season, and $17 million in 2013. He is eligible to become a free agent once his contract expires at the conclusion of '13.

While I wouldn't expect Jocketty not to refute such a rumor - after all, placing your best player on the trading block sends a wrong message to the rest of your organization and fans - I do question whether or not he truly believes what he said.

The 60-year old executive has been well-known to keep his cards close to his chest over the years, and one shouldn't be surprised at all if he's bluffing again. Will the Reds ultimately deal Votto before he enters free agency? I don't know, but what I do know is this, unless ownership decides to overhaul the payroll before now and then, the Redlegs simply cannot afford the market rate for a player of his caliber.

With that in mind, the front office would be crazy not to explore potential trade packages for their homegrown product. From a public relations standpoint, I can totally understand the team quickly dismissing such a rumor publicly. However, from both a long-term business and baseball standpoint, listening to what other franchises are willing to exchange for their prized commodity is just good business.

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