The Reds have officially agreed to a three-year extension with Joey Votto, reports John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer (on Twitter). MLB.com's Mark Sheldon first reported the agreement. The deal, which is a pending a physical scheduled for Monday, will be worth $38MM. Votto is represented by Dan Lozano.
Votto will earn $5.5MM in 2011, $9.5MM in '12m and $17MM mil in '13 along with a $6MM signing bonus, according to Jon Heyman of SI (via Twitter). The first baseman was entering his first season of arbitration eligibility, so the contract will cover the remaining three years of team control. Because the extension only buys out his arbitration seasons, the 27-year-old will still be able to become a free agent after the 2013 season.
Following an MVP campaign in 2010, Votto would have been in line for a massive raise through arbitration. When MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith examined Votto's potential 2011 salary last August, he found that the first baseman's numbers stacked up favorably to other sluggers who received $7MM+ in their first arbitration eligible seasons.
Taking into account Votto's strong finish and MVP award, his 2011 cost likely would have been even higher than $7MM, and would only have increased over the next two years. With this deal, the arbitration process will be avoided, providing both sides with some cost certainty. While $38MM is a significant price to pay for three non-free agent years, it's not unprecedented – Ryan Howard earned $44MM from the Phillies over his first three arbitration seasons.
Votto's deal is the third major extension the Reds have agreed to this winter. In December, Bronson Arroyo signed a three-year, $35MM contract to remain in Cincinnati, and Jay Bruce signed for six years and $51MM.
SI.com's Jon Heyman first reported that Votto and the Reds were "working hard" on a three-year extension.