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  • Could the Brewers Somehow Land Joey Votto?

    Jake McKibbin

    Desperate times call for desperate measures. The Brewers’ first base situation is certainly desperate right now. Let’s talk measures, baby.

    Image courtesy of © David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

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    The Milwaukee Brewers received news that Rowdy Tellez could be out for up to a month, having broken his finger shagging flies during batting practice, a truly freak injury. That being said, he was performing poorly over the last couple of months, anyway, and the Brewers could do with a significant upgrade at a position that should be occupied by a quality batter. Owen Miller, after a hot streak in May, has cooled off considerably once pitchers worked out not to throw high and tight to him, and is more valuable as a versatility option or to face left-handers than to be an everyday first baseman–meaning the Brewers have a pressing need. 

    The Cincinnati Reds have just called up Christian Encarnacion-Strand, who has been tearing up Triple A and is more than ready for his opportunity at the major-league level. With a plethora of quality hitters (particularly in left field and first base, meaning Spencer Steer will likely rotate between the two), there is a possibility that Joey Votto represents a surplus to requirements in the state of Ohio.

    Trades between divisional rivals seem impractical, but there’s the potential that both sides benefit from a trade of a higher-quality back-end starter than what the Reds currently have for the high-priced contract of Votto at first base, who isn’t quite the force he once was.

    Votto’s current line looks good, with a .951 OPS including a .351 on base percentage, as well as being a quality veteran presence. He’s hitting the ball at an average of 91.3 miles per hour, with an 11.7% walk rate (albeit an inflated 29.9% strikeout rate), and he’s slightly outperforming his expected numbers so far (in a small sample) this season.

    That being said, he’s a fairly reliable .800 OPS hitter when he’s healthy and fit. He has an expected slugging of .711 on four-seam fastballs, and could be a potent hitter vs right-handed starters, really making a potent top of the order with William Contreras, a fully-firing Willy Adames, and Christian Yelich.

    Screenshot 2023-07-18 060755.png

    One thing you can’t do is fall behind in the count, because once you’re in a fastball count to Votto, he will do damage, and a pitcher who can’t land his breaking pitches for strikes will struggle. The 39-year-old has limited range but very good hands at first base, likely more reliable there than Owen Miller and certainly more of a cleanup hitter.

    While a big addition (especially if he hits one of his hot streaks), he’s not the Joey Votto of old, and that brings his price down substantially, on top of the $10-million salary the Brewers would have to pay over the balance of the season if they got him at the deadline. The Reds are in dire need of pitching, given the poor performances of the likes of Brandon Williamson and Luke Weaver and injuries to both Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo.

    So, it depends entirely on what the Brewers are willing to give up, and how the Reds stand in terms of contending at the deadline. You would imagine that they would take Wade Miley in a heartbeat, but alas, he’s just hit the 15-day injured list with elbow discomfort. Could the performances of Colin Rea or Julio Teheran be acceptable for them? The Brewers also have Robert Gasser waiting in the wings, having worked out his command issues from earlier in the season, and he’s striking out batters in high numbers in Triple-A Nashville, ready to fill a slot should the Brewers need him. Gasser himself would be much more appealing to the Reds, of course, but the Brewers might be as reluctant to give him up for an aged Votto as the Reds would be to give up Votto for a fungible starter.

    The other thing the Reds need is some form of offensive catcher, a position they have almost no production from, and you could add someone like Alex Jackson to sweeten the deal. 

    What would you be willing to trade for Joey Votto?

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    You couldn’t talk either team into making this trade for obvious reasons. I wouldn’t give up much more than Rea or Teheran, and with Miley injured again trading either one would compromise any depth we have remaining at SP. I also doubt Rea or Teheran would be enough to pry loose Votto and we would need to sweeten the pot with an additional prospect. Also you need to take account of votto’s age and injury history.

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    Sixto pretty much said it all. Only would add that Votto would have to approve as well since he is well beyond 10 and 5.

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    I would give up a lot more than what you guys are suggesting, but there's no way it happens unless the reds go on a 20 game losing streak or the Brewers drastically overpay. Like Black and another lesser prospect (20-30 rank) or two.

    Votto has been exceeding expectations this year (while healthy), but he's due for a regression. 

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    DuWayne Steurer
  • Brewer Fanatic Contributor
  • Posted

    If the Reds are out of contention to the point of trading Votto, why would they be considering Miley?

    In the same vein, Colin Rea is 33 and a career negative WAR pitcher. I know they shouldn't expect much for Votto, but if they're going to literally get a bag of nuts for him, why not just ride out the season, and sell some tickets and jerseys?

    There's no value to the Reds with guys like Rea or Miley in the short or long term future if they're not contending, so this makes no sense. 

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    Just crazy…. No way for numerous reasons and I will save everyone time without listing them since you all know them.

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    Jake McKibbin
  • Brewer Fanatic Contributor
  • Posted

    3 hours ago, Team Canada said:

    Yeah, I don't really follow this article at all, no offense.

    Of course! I was trying to find something that suited both needs, an MLB for MLB trade and fix both teams needs (while factoring in vottos contract, though I think there's rumours the only place he would go is the Blue Jays in Canada)

    With CES and Spencer steer both rookie's, I can see a chance for a Votto trade there, but obviously unlikely for Brewers


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