Daily Archives: April 2, 2012

Extensions Abound

Posted by Steve

Two monster extensions were signed today in the National League. Joey Votto signed for a reported $200 million, and Matt Cain signed for $112 million. Both are pretty alarming.

First let’s look at Votto. This one is is crazy, because $200 million for a player who is not a free agent is basically unheard of. Unless I’m forgetting someone, the only player who has signed a bigger extension in baseball history is Alex Rodriguez. On one hand, when you compare it to the two $200 million contracts signed this off-season, I’d take Votto and his contract. Votto is better right now than Prince Fielder, and probably better than Albert Pujols as well–if not, certainly his age makes him more valuable.

On the other hand, the fact that Votto is not a free agent makes this huge. Teams are supposed to get discounts by giving a contract ahead of time, but it certainly isn’t much of one. Votto likely would have gotten around what Fielder did if he was a free agent this past year. Secondly, the fact that Votto plays the easiest position on the diamond makes it tough to justify. Finally, I wasn’t aware the Reds could afford a $200 million player. They have a lot of talented players around Votto, and you have to imagine it will be tough to keep many of them now. Certainly, Brandon Phillips will be gone now (not that that’s a massive loss, but still).

Bottom line: Very good deal for Votto, not as sure for the Reds. And of course, not a great deal for the Brewers to have the best hitter in the division (at least other than Braun) stay in the NL Central for life.

Even though the Votto extension is within the Brewers’ division, the Cain extension probably affects them more. It’s because along with Cole Hamels, Cain was the biggest barometer for a Zack Greinke extension. In case you missed it, I discussed the Greinke situation at length at Reviewing the Brew fairly recently. I’ve been over why I thought guesses of $80 or $85 million for Greinke were low, and I hoped he’d sign for $100 million or so. I’ve also been over the fact that Greinke has been a better pitcher than Cain. That all adds up to the fact that this contract is not the best of news from a Brewers’ perspective.

It sure seems like Greinke is  open to staying in Milwaukee, and there were reports yesterday that he is close to hiring an agent (which likely means talks are progressing), but he also isn’t stupid. This will of course have an effect on what Greinke asks for. Any hopes of keeping him for less than $100 million are toast.

They’ll probably have to match Cain’s contract, or at least come close. That makes the decision a lot tougher, as that is about as high as the Brewers should go on any pitcher, but I would still probably do it. Either way, the Brewers front office can’t be thrilled at all about this contract.