The Cincinnati Reds were able to sign the 2010 N.L. MVP Joey Votto to a three year $38M extension.

It allows both sides a chance to avoid the arbitration process and it gives fans peace of mind that Votto will be a Cincinnati Red for the near future.

Ok that’s great, but what’s going to happen in 2013?

That’s the question that Reds nation is wondering about in wake of the new deal. We’ll get to that in a bit, first let’s try and figure out who got the better end of the deal.

Votto will be averaging a shade under $13M a season, and that is more than he would have received in arbitration this season. On the flip side, he would be making much more money by the time 2013 rolls around.

So the amount of money is a wash assuming Votto’s production doesn’t tail off.

That’s the other side of this deal…will Votto continue to perform at an MVP like level? Votto hit .324 with 37 homers and 113 RBI in route to an outstanding season. The saber-metrics posse deemed him the most efficient player in ’10 and his defense was above average as well. He lead the Reds to the playoffs for the first time since 1995.

The 27-year old Votto looks to be in his prime and has improved every season as a member of the Reds organization since drafted in 2002. There aren’t any nagging injuries and he seems to have gotten over his battles with depression.

The bottom line: there are no reasons to think Votto won’t put up similar numbers for the next three seasons. But injuries don’t discriminate and that’s part of the security Votto gets with this deal.

No matter what happens, Votto has $38M in his pocket.

This is where the Reds are taking a risk. G.M. Walt Jocketty is looking at the big picture, and he sees the rising player salaries and mega-deals for players with similar production and decided to ensure the Reds have a player of his caliber for at least three more years.

Here’s what Jocketty had to say about the deal: 

“We felt it was fair market. It’s very good for him and the club. This and the Jay Bruce deal gives up cost certainty.

And what Votto said on Monday:

“But I can’t imagine playing anywhere else,” he said. “I enjoy myself. I can’t imagine being with a better team. The Yankees or Red Sox—that’s a lot to deal with. I don’t want to go anywhere else. Three years was just what he came to,” he said. “I’m very happy. I don’t have to fool with arbitration. It’s cost certainty.”

There is that phrase again. “Cost certainty” must have been the buzz phrase between the two parties.

It seems that the Reds and Votto are both pleased with the deal. It’s too bad the “certainty” only lasts three years. But at this point, Votto seems very happy with the city of Cincinnati. He really cares about privacy and that’s something a big market team can’t provide.

Votto gets guaranteed money and security without giving up future years of free agency. The Reds get an MVP in the prime of his career at a price they couldn’t get on the free market.

If Votto keeps up his numbers and stays healthy, he will be commanding around $150-170M on the open market. For the first time in his career, he will be a free agent and will have the ability to do whatever he wants.

Will three successful years as a Red keep him in the Queen City?

Or will the endless amounts of zeros entice him to greener pastures?

The countdown to free agency begins. The Reds have three years to prove their worth.

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