On Monday, Cincinnati Reds starting first baseman Joey Votto signed a 10 year, $225 million extension. This news has a major impact on the Cubs. For one, it signals that the Reds’ organization is not going anywhere soon. The Cubs are a team is going to be in contention by 2014. By that time, both the St Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers will have taken a step back as both teams feature an aging roster. But the Reds are different. The Reds are a relatively young team that figures to have a say in the National League central division race for the next decade.
On a separate note, the Reds assured themselves that Votto will not be able to test the free agent market after the 2012 season. Not that the Cubs would have been interested, but given the fact that the Cubs are a perceived big market organization, speculation probably would have connected Votto to the team the same way it did for Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder this past winter. The question would have been asked if you were Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, would you rather have Anthony Rizzo or Votto?
That question is still going to be asked. Or at least, Rizzo may always be held in the same light as Votto. Reason being Rizzo is in the same division as Votto, saw the comparisons between the two are anything but eventual. In regards to the National League Central division as a whole. Rizzo vs. Votto will likely be the new version of Pujols vs. Fielder.
With the Cubs’ long-term plan in mind, we will try to figure out what first baseman would be better for an organization that is entering a rebuilding mode.
Votto is 28 years of age, and is entering the prime of his career. In 2011, Votto compiled a hitting line of .309/.416/.531/.947 to go along with 29 home runs and 103 RBIs. This was the follow-up Votto’s breakout season in 2010, when the first baseman hit .324/.424/.600/1.024 while belting out 37 home runs and driving in 113 RBIs. There is no secret about the fact that Votto is quickly becoming baseball’s next greatest thing. With Albert Pujols aging, Votto may soon be on the cusp of being the best first baseman in baseball. However, as with Pujols this off-season. I have hard time believing any player is worth $240 million let alone the $225 million that Votto is going to earn over the next two seasons. But if a team is going to pay a player that much money, it would suggest that said team is ready to contend for a post-season spot. Unlike the Cubs, the Reds are ready to do so.
Even if Votto were to hit the free agent market after the 2012 season, it would be hard to justify the Cubs spending $200 million for his services. While the Cubs could contend for a post-season spot in 2013, Votto likely would not put them over the top.
This is why Anthony Rizzo is the perfect option for the Cubs. Reason being Rizzo is the 22 year old version of Joey Votto. Cubs’ general manager Jed Hoyer is the first to admit that he rushed Rizzo to the Major Leagues last season while the two were still a part of the San Diego Padres’ organization. The Cubs are not going to make the same mistake. Similar with top prospect Brett Jackson, the Cubs are not going to rush Rizzo to the Major Leagues. Rizzo’s stock may have fallen after his struggles during his brief stint with the Padres at the end of last season. But the something that has not falled is the amount of power and potential that Rizzo possess. Rizzo is eventually going to be the left handed run producer that the Cubs have been without for a long team. Couple that with the fact that Rizzo is significantly more affordable than Votto, and the answer to Rizzo vs. Votto is simple. Anthony Rizzo is by far the best option for the Cubs for the long-term future.