I'm guessing Votto will still be likeable and humble in 2023, but I can say with great certainty that he won't be worth $25 million, not even considering the inevitable inflation that takes place between now and then. More likely, the Reds in 2023 - and perhaps for several years before that - will wish they had that money to spend elsewhere.
Kudos to Cincinnati for the generous statement made in the Votto extension, at least for the hope it provides Reds fans today and in the near future. But haven't we seen these good intentions turn bad before?
At the twilight of soon-to-be-Hall of Famer Barry Larkin's career, the Reds wanted to trade the shortstop and get something of value, but Larkin exercised his no-trade option and remained with the club. Then, rather than opt for free agency or retire, Larkin asked for an end-of-career contract from the Reds, who, mostly in the name of good public relations, obliged and signed him for several unproductive years at a price they could not afford.
Then there was the Ken Griffey Jr. fiasco, the signing of a superstar coming home, with a contract to match. How'd that turn out, Reds fans?
The Reds aren't the only team in such a predicament. The Twins signed still-youthful catcher Joe Mauer, fresh off an American League MVP season, to a huge long-term deal, rather than let him slip away to a big-market team. Since then, his production plummeted, he's been bothered by injuries and his future might be at first base, where he's far less valuable than if he was a hard-hitting catcher.
The cautionary tale extends to baseball's haves. Do you realize the Yankees will be paying Alex Rodriguez $30 million in 2017, when he'll be 42 years old? Injuries and a drop in production have already set in there, and will likely only get worse, and even the cash-rich Bronx Bombers will suffer for it.
The Angels' 10-year offer that Albert Pujols recently accepted? The jury's still out on that, of course, but I'd be surprised if the most-feared hitter in baseball isn't already at the start of a slow and steady decline which, in 10 years, will look awfully ugly.
With Votto's contract in the books, the Reds are essentially saying that the time is right, that Votto will be the cornerstone of a Reds' resurgence, that they'll build a title contender around him now and worry about 2023 in ... well, 2023.
Maybe it's a good idea now, but they'll regret it later.
Reach Nick Scala at 304-348-7947 or nsc...@wvgazette.com.