Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister covers everything in Cincinnati sports! Host of sports talk on Cincinnati News Radio 700WLW and ESPN 1530!Full Bio


This date 2012: Reds sign Votto to record extension

This date 2012

A then 28-year old Joey Votto agreed to a $251.5 million, 12-year deal with the Cincinnati Reds, the longest guaranteed contract in MLB history.

Votto was already under contract for $9.5M in 2012 and $17M in 2013. The agreement added $225 million over 10 years to his existing contract.

The deal topped Ken Griffey Jr's $116.5 million, nine-year deal from 2000 as the largest in franchise history.  

At the time, the deal was the fourth largest in MLB history (per year):

Alex Rodriguez, 10-year, $277M, Yankees

Albert Pujols, 10 years, $240M, Angels

Prince Fielder, 9 years, $213M, Brewers 

"Is it risky?" asked owner Bob Castellini at the news conference. "No doubt. That's the environment we live in especially as a small market. We feel Joe will be a cornerstone."

"What we're doing will not be to the financial detriment to the makeup of our team in the future," Castellini said.

Per C. Trent Rosecrans, CBS Sports that day: 

Small-market teams don’t commit $225 million on top of the $30 million already owed a player for this season and next. No, anyone willing to throw around a commitment through 2023 for that kind of money is either not worried about the bottom line or so far ahead in their investment that they can afford it.

From now on, any cries of poverty or budget ceilings or any other excuses for not signing or retaining players from the banks of the Ohio River should be ignored. The Reds are in it to win, and money shouldn’t be an object.


Votto stats since signing the extension: 1,1155 games, .299-.426-.498-.925, OPS+ 146, 176 HR, 566 RBI, 882 BB, 878 K

Reds record: 636-720 (.469)

2012 (97-65), 2013 (90-72), 2014 (76-86), 2015 (64-98), 2016 (68-94), 2017 (68-94), 2018 (67-95), 2019 (75-87), 2020 (31-29)

Winning seasons: 3 of 9+ seasons

Playoff appearances: 2012, 2013, 2020

% of payroll paid to Votto each season:

2012: $9.5M of $74.0M (12.8%)
2013: $17M of $90.0 (18.9%)
2014: $12M of $112.8M (10.6%)
2015: $14M of $116.7M (12.0%)
2016: $20M of $89.9M (22.2%)
2017: $22M of $81.8M (26.9)
2018: $25M of $100.6M (24.8%)
2019: $25M of $129.1M (19.4%)
2020: $25M of $144M (17.3%)
2021 $25 of $121M (20.6%)

Contract terms by year, courtesy Baseball-Reference

Reds owe Votto $75M over the 2021, 2022, 2023 seasons, including the 2024 $7M buyout

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