NL Central Notes: Votto, Singh, Cards, Cubs, Yoon

Joey Votto is well known not only for his massive, ten-year contract, but also for being one of the game's most dedicated and thoughtful hitters. He is also known as a reserved presence, making his lengthy interview with Lance McAlister of Cincinnati's 700 WLW well worth a listen (hat tip to the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay.) Among other things, Votto dismissed the concept of lineup protection, but says that he did see noticeably better pitches when speedster Billy Hamilton got on base in front of him last year. His favorite stat? wRC+. Touching on roster construction and player evaluation, Votto said that he values all aspects of the game, and finds it is telling that both of last year's World Series contestants featured well-rounded rosters of well-rounded players. Here's more from the NL Central:

  • After missing all of 2013 due to arm injuries, Pirates prospect Rinku Singh tells's Barry M. Bloom that he is working on his arm strength and still plans to reach the Major Leagues.  Singh, 25, famously won a pitching reality show in India in 2008 and subsequently signed a minor league deal with the Bucs.  The story of Singh (and Dinesh Patel, the reality show runner-up) will be told in the upcoming film Million Dollar Arm.
  • The Cardinals lost a number of notable relief arms and could be lacking some depth, Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes.  Gordon lists several minor leaguers who could emerge in Spring Training and be in the bullpen on Opening Day.
  • The Cubs are unlikely to participate in a "bidding war" for Korean hurler Suk-min Yoon, reports Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Though Chicago saw Yoon pitch along with multiple other teams, it sounds as if the club's interest is heavily conditioned on price. 
  • The Brewers are "kicking tires" on several free agent relievers, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Twitter links). Milwaukee is waiting for the asking prices to come down. Two names that Haudricourt wouldn't be surprised to see added are ex-Brewer Francisco Rodriguez and Carlos Marmol, who is a good friend of Aramis Ramirez.

MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post

40 Responses to NL Central Notes: Votto, Singh, Cards, Cubs, Yoon Leave a Reply

  1. rikersbeard 1 year ago

    Joey Votto is the best

    • casey 1 year ago

      Votto isnt even the best in his division. Played 162 games in 13, hit 24 homers 73 rbi and .305 avg. Craig missed 30 games due to injury hit 13 homers 97 rbi and .315 avg

      • casey 1 year ago

        oh, and Craig made 15 million less than Votto in 2013

        • rikersbeard 1 year ago

          Amazing. This isn’t really what I was talking about, but if you want to compare the two as hitters, then check out the vast discrepancy in WAR or wRC+. It isn’t even close.

        • rikersbeard 1 year ago

          Also, if you were looking for a better player in the division, you would have done better going with Cutch. That guy is a boss. Probably less amazing as a dude, but still a total boss on the field.

          • JCurrie39 1 year ago

            He was only comparing first basemen I think, McCutchen is an amazing outfielder but he was comparing 1st basemen. Also is there a stat for production for salary?

          • rikersbeard 1 year ago

            Can you imagine how Trout would compare to everyone else on such a stat?

          • VanHicklestein 1 year ago

            Simple ratio of $/WAR

            2013 Craig: $0.69 per Win Above Replacement ($1.8M/ 2.6fWAR)
            2013 Votto: $2.74 per Win Above Replacement ($17M/6.2fWAR)

            So I guess Craig gives you better bang for your buck, but I have to point out how difficult it is to find a 5+ WAR player (especially at 1B), which Votto has been for the past 4 years. Craig has never topped 3 WAR.

      • LazerTown 1 year ago

        I’m assuming he was admiring the person.

        Votto is quite a bit better than Craig. RBI/AVG really tell me very little about the comparison. Where Votto shines is his insane OBP.

        • bobbie922 1 year ago

          I think he’s a tad overrated, but man, it’s hard to argue with that OBP. It’s beautiful.

      • StanleyPujols 1 year ago

        Votto is leaps and bounds better than Craig. This isn’t debatable.

      • VanHicklestein 1 year ago

        why are you trying to do this

      • Jeffy25 1 year ago

        That’s how you want to compare the players?

        I’m a cards can, and votto is probably three times the value of Craig. Votto is one of the 5 best hitters in the game year-in, year-out

      • Duder Steve Pettke 1 year ago

        Votto is by far a superior player then Craig. Are we really comparing these two?

  2. Mil8Ball 1 year ago

    I wouldn’t mind getting K-Rod back. He has faired pretty darn well in Milwaukee and would come cheap. Marmol probably only an option on a minor league deal though.

    Looks like the Brewers want to get an experienced guy or two and send their younger guys to AAA for extra depth.

  3. Guest1985 1 year ago

    Thank you for linking the Votto interview. Only 9 minutes in and it’s already fascinating. He is the man.

  4. Altodo Woowoo 1 year ago

    K-rod will always be at his best as a brewer

    • Dawson Carlson 1 year ago

      He was ridiculous with the Angels for like 5 years

  5. Jeffy25 1 year ago

    Love votto, and I’m a cards fan.

    He is just awesome. Someone who is easy to respect.

  6. Jeff McCoy 1 year ago

    Always nice to have players who understand the game. The exact opposite of Jeff “They don’t put OBP on the scoreboard” Francoeur.

  7. cardsfan67 1 year ago

    I like Votto a lot and the interview is great. I totally agree with him about the line up protection theory that everyone seems to spout off. Of course, within probably the next 20 minutes someone will write an article about so and so needs protection in the line up.

  8. casey 1 year ago

    The Cards are lacking depth in the pen? They have 7 starters going into spring training, so theres 2 extra bull pen arms right there…

  9. ballbuster19589 1 year ago

    Once again Jeff Gordon writes an article that makes absolutely no sense. He says the Cardinals have depth issues, then proceeds to list a boatload of pitchers in the minor leagues who could come up and take a spot in the bullpen. The Cardinals don’t have pitching depth issues, Jeff, having plenty of options in the minors means you have depth. Duh.

    • StanleyPujols 1 year ago

      Half of the ones he mentioned aren’t even realistic for 2014 anyway. That said there is still plenty of immediate depth: Freeman, Lyons, Butler, Castro, Stoppelman, Whiting, Cooney, Petrick, Miranda, Gast, Fornataro, Rondon, and Swagerty is pretty much the list to keep an eye on. Some parts of the bullpen WILL falter. It’s just a matter of moving swiftly to make repairs like they did in 2013. I’m comfortable with Rosenthal, Martinez, Kelly, and Siegrist, but Choate, Motte, and Maness are far from locks to keep a stranglehold on their roster spots. Choate has quite a few lefties that could immediately or eventually grab his spot away if he’s struggling (Freeman, Lyons, Stoppelman, Miranda). Motte is recovering from TJ and has already been replaced by Trevor. Maness has the least intimidating stuff and relies on groundballs to get outs – I think he’ll be fine, but it wouldn’t be totally surprising if the Cards need another RHP by the trade deadline. Seems like Jeff Gordon wants to address trade deadline needs before they even arise. No need with this many options. Cards pen should be a major strength if not the best in the league.

      • Jeffy25 1 year ago

        I really think butler is going to be a special reliever one day. I can see him being rosenthall 2.0 within 12 months.

    • Teufelshunde4 1 year ago

      Last season at this time Gordo predicted a transition year before the Cards wuld contend again. Every team has flaws. Today the Cards have fewer than the other teams in Central nothing more. Still gotta play the games and get to Oct healthy and hot.

  10. Will Schmitz 1 year ago

    “The Cardinals lost a number of notable relief arms and could be lacking some depth” I can only think of one reliever and that is Mujica. Who else did we lose from the bullpen?

    • VanHicklestein 1 year ago


    • StanleyPujols 1 year ago

      Since the end of last season, the Cards have lost:
      Edward Mujica (very notable, but non-factor in playoff run)
      John Axford (notable)
      Fernando Salas (not notable, but semi-decent in past years)
      Victor Marte (not notable at all)
      Kevin Thomas (never made the big leagues)
      Nick Additon (never made the big leagues)
      Deryk Hooker (never made the big leagues)
      Hector Hernandez (never made the big leagues)
      Zack Russell (never made the big leagues)
      Richard Castillo (never made the big leagues)
      Ramon Delgado (never made the big leagues)
      Jay Voss (never made the big leagues)

      They’ve added:
      Angel Castro – projected depth starter at AAA (Yes, this is really the only pitcher that they’ve acquired from outside the organization besides amateur international signings).

      • StanleyPujols 1 year ago

        Others that were lost during the season:
        Mitchell Boggs (11.05 ERA in 15 games)
        Mark Rzepczynski (7.84 ERA in 11 games)
        Michael Blazek (6.97 ERA in 11 games)
        Maikel Cleto (19.29 ERA in 1 game)

  11. Metsfan93 1 year ago

    Somehow, Votto is still underappreciated. The kind of line he has for his career is filthy. Frank Thomas just got elected to the Hall of Fame with a career batting line nearly Votto’s duplicate- .301/.419/.555 vs. .314/.419/.541. For all the complaining about Votto’s lack of power, he has a career .227 ISO. What more does one want?

    • rikersbeard 1 year ago

      Insert: Gotta have those ribbies. Guy just isn’t clutch. Doesn’t help the team win when they need him. or some other gibberish.

      • monroe_says 1 year ago

        Sadly, that’s how a lot of Reds fans think, as well some of their broadcasters. Truly pitiful.

    • Phillyfan425 1 year ago

      I really like Votto. But the power complaints (from what I know of him) only started coming after his knee injury in 2012. After coming back from the surgery, he put up a .091 ISO in the final 25 games that year. And then last year, he put up a (still respectable) .186 ISO – which ranked 44th in 140 qualified batters. None of that takes away from his amazing ability to get on base at an outrageous clip – and the overall player he is. But the power concerns are somewhat legitimate post-knee surgery.

  12. Joe Orsatti 1 year ago

    I remember back in 2008 when Hatteburg was blocking Votto and everybody was trying to run Scott out of town to get Votto in. All I can say is, he is all the Red’s fans could’ve asked for. More than I can say about any prospect that has come into the Phillies organization in recent memory.

  13. Teufelshunde4 1 year ago

    Counting stats like hr and rbi will always hold sway. Personally i like both counting and some of he sabermetric stats. The truth is in there not stat has nailed the essence of a great player yet. Nor will it ever imo

  14. Brendan Haglund 1 year ago

    I think what did it for me with Votto was when he hit that bomb off K-Rod in the 9th to take the lead (and with Chapman, probably win the game) but Gomez just casually sat there, leapt and robbed him of a homerun.

    Beyond the initial shock, Votto didn’t get mad and from what I remember, he actually found Gomez during BP the next day and shook his hand.

  15. One Tool Baseball 1 year ago

    Also, I am a big enough Allen Craig fan that I have made Torty Photoshop art. He is NOT in the same league as Joey Votto, either offensively or (especially) defensively.

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