The Reds may or may not offer Joey Votto an extension this winter, but he's setting himself up for a massive raise, even if Cincinnati doesn't offer a long-term deal. Votto leads the National League in batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage and is second in RBI and third in home runs. He's just three homers and three RBI away from leading the league in every triple crown category and has a 1.023 OPS since the All-Star break, so he's showing no signs of slowing down.
The Reds have enjoyed three-plus seasons of dirt-cheap production from their first baseman, but that's about to change. Votto goes to arbitration for the first time this winter and he's comparable to a group of first basemen that earned significant raises in their first seasons of arbitration.
To determine how much Votto can expect to earn in 2011, let's compare his numbers to the ones some current first basemen had entering their first seasons of arbitration. Here are the stats Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Justin Morneau, Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder and Mark Teixeira had leading up to their first arbitration seasons, plus the salaries they ultimately agreed to.
Please note that Fielder, Teixeira, and Pujols signed multi-year deals that included their first seasons of arbitration. 'Age' shows the player's age at the time of the signing, not his current age.
Votto’s rate stats are comparable to Cabrera’s, but Votto has played significantly fewer games than Cabrera had. Fellow-Canadian Justin Morneau had similar homer and RBI totals to the ones Votto has now, but worse rate stats.
Howard and Morneau, both super twos, parlayed MVP seasons into substantial raises, but Morneau settled for a modest $4.5MM salary, whereas Howard signed for a record-setting $10MM. Votto, an MVP candidate this season, could ask for something in between. It would not be unreasonable for him to seek a $7MM salary through arbitration this offseason if he keeps hitting like this.