Think Joey Votto’s $20 million contract option for 2024 is a big financial proposition for the Cincinnati Reds?
Imagine the all-Scott Boras infield that could be on the Reds’ near horizon, depending how team president Nick Krall shakes out his position-player roster in the next few months and years – right before the arbitration ulcers start to hit.
Boras, baseball’s record-$etting agent, represents second baseman Jonathan India, the 2021 Rookie of the Year, as well as 2023 freshmen Matt McLain and Elly De La Cruz.
Reds roster decisionsHow Joey Votto’s brand transcends $20 million contract question for Cincinnati Reds
And the Reds’ top infield prospect, Double-A shortstop Edwin Arroyo – considered by some evaluators the best shortstop in the organization at any level – just signed with Boras’ agency.
About 120 years ago Connie Mack’s juggernaut Philadelphia Athletics had a star-studded foursome dubbed the “$100,000 infield” for its purported hefty market value (a group that included Hall of Famers Eddie Collins and Frank “Home Run” Baker).
De La Cruz at third, Arroyo at short, McLain at second and India at first in a couple years?
What would that be worth if they all hit their talent ceilings?
The $100 million infield? The billion-dollar infield?
Crazy? Boras clients have signed eight of the 11 richest free agent contracts in baseball history.
Two of those are infielders among the top three who have helped drive their teams into this year’s final four in the playoffs: $330 million first baseman Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies (albeit, an outfielder playing first after coming back from Tommy John surgery) and $325 million shortstop Corey Seager of the Texas Rangers.
Boras did a half-billion dollars worth of contracts for two middle-infield clients with one team alone – on the same day – ahead of the 2022 season (Seager and $275 million for Marcus Semien).
And none of this Reds math counts Nick Senzel, another Boras client, if he’s still in Cincinnati and at third base instead of the outfield by then.
All of which actually might make the more relevant question: How long can/will the Reds keep their young group together if it reaches its collective ceiling – and free agency?
Barely 12 hours after the Reds were eliminated with one game to go this season, tenured star Joey Votto expressed disappointment at falling “ever-so-short” of the playoffs, because of the very real chance to do damage in October had they won even two more games to catch the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Those would be the same Diamondbacks who beat the Milwaukee Brewers and then the 100-win Los Angeles Dodgers to earn a spot in the National League Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies – another wild-card qualifier.
“You get to the postseason and anything can happen,” Votto said. “I imagine we’ll see that again this year. It’s unfortunate that we’re not part of it.”
He couldn’t have known how right he was. Only one of the six division winners (Houston) is among the final four playoff survivors, and nobody left in the field has more than 90 wins.
Among other things, it means the National League will be represented in the World Series by a wild-card team for the third time in the last four full seasons.
Hey, is it too late for Krall to add a starting pitcher at the trade deadline?
For what it’s worth (and it ain’t much), the Reds went 13-7 this year against the four playoff survivors squaring off Sunday and Monday in the openers of the National and American League Championship Series.
That includes 6-0 combined against the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros, and 4-3 against the aforementioned DBacks. They went 3-4 against the Phillies, winning three of the last five meetings.
Hey, is it too late for Krall to add another bullpen arm at the trade deadline?
They Said it
“On the marketing side, one of the first things we decided six weeks in when things (started to change with prospects debuting) was to just get more cameras in the dugout. Because these guys were just living it. There was no need to do anything to amplify anything they were doing. It was just letting them be them.”
*Karen Forgus, Reds vice-president for business operations, on the charisma and energy the increasingly young Reds roster provided beyond its on-field success this year.
Just to set the record straight, Reds rookie Brandon Williamson said he was trying to strike out St. Louis Cardinals longtime ace Adam Wainwright in that last start of the season, regardless of what the message on that signed scorecard might have implied.
And regardless of that little wave Williamson gave Wainwright to indicate fastballs were coming when the pitcher stepped in as a pinch-hitter in a 14-2…