CINCINNATI -- When Joey Votto signed his 10-year contract in April 2012, the Reds were about to start a 97-win season and win the National League Central for the second time in three years.
The future -- built around a maturing, young core -- looked bright.
And 4 1/2 years into the contract? Well, let’s just say no 97-win seasons or Central title are on the horizon.
So if he knew then what he knows now, would Votto have signed?
“Yes, absolutely,” he said.
Votto says he’s not disappointed in the direction of the club, despite the trades of Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Aroldis Chapman, Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake.
“Not at all,” he said. “I’m glad that they recognized that these guys -- in all likelihood playing so well -- that they were pricing themselves out of this market. That’s more of a testament to the players having good performances. You see big-market teams letting really big-time players go.
“This is not something only going to happen in a market like Cincinnati.”
But Votto, given what’s left on his $225 million deal, is almost certain to be here throughout the rebuilding process. He’s OK with that.
“I feel like I want the best for the organization,” he said. “I want what’s best for the city. And if that’s what it takes, that what it takes.”
Bruce was Votto’s best friend on the team.
“Personally, it’s tough,” Votto said. “I’m happy for every one of those guys. Todd went to a team that wanted him. Aroldis went to New York and now is part of the biggest party in baseball. Jay went to a pennant race.”
If not for that contract, Votto may have joined a pennant race himself at the trade deadline. He’s the hottest hitter in baseball. In July, He hed the major leagues in hitting (.413) and on base percentage (.549), and was third in slugging (.627). He went into Wednesday hitting .519 with a .625 OBP since the All-Star Break.