MLB Trade Speculation: Ranking Teams' Chances to Land Joey Votto This Winter
The 2011 season hasn't even ended yet and it seems like attention is already turning to the offseason movement that is priming to take place.
Players like Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, C.J. Wilson and possibly C.C. Sabathia will highlight what will be a busy offseason for a number of teams willing to spend.
There has also been increasing chatter about the possibility of Joey Votto leaving Cincinnati. While the Reds' GM has said that they're not shopping Votto, that certainly doesn't mean that a conversation won't take place.
Keeping in mind what teams already have in place, as well as what Votto could command in salary, only a few teams seem like legitimate candidates to even get into discussions over his services.
As we've seen in past offseasons however, anything can happen.
30. Kansas City Royals
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
A multitude of factors make the Kansas City Royals non-contenders to acquire Joey Votto.
With have Billy Butler locked in at first base through 2014 (club option for 2015) and the lowest payroll in baseball, it's virtually impossible to see a team like this landing a $100-plus million player.
29. Pittsburgh Pirates
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
The Pittsburgh Pirates experienced a revival of sorts in 2011, as they hung tough in the NL Central, a division that produced both teams in this year's NLCS.
But the Pirates' youth showed, and in time they faded from contention. They're heading in the right direction as a franchise, but with a farm system ranked in the bottom third of the league, and the league's third lowest payroll, they certainly won't be suiting Votto up in the near future.
28. San Diego Padres
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
The San Diego Padres would love to replace the offensive productivity of Adrian Gonzalez with a player of the caliber of Joey Votto, but they simply don't have the resources or interest to pursue such a venture.
Their farm system does rank among the best in baseball, but adding a player like Votto would mean bringing on a salary that would account for roughly 50 percent of their 2011 payroll.
27. Arizona Diamondbacks
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
The Arizona Diamondbacks found what could very well be their future first baseman in Paul Goldschmidt in 2011.
The rookie turned many heads this season, as he hit eight home runs in the final two months of the season and provided some key at-bats during the NLDS against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Assuming Goldschmidt continues to develop, the D-Backs would have (and may already have) no reason to pursue anything involving Votto.
26. Oakland Athletics
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
The Oakland Athletics entered the 2011 season with a payroll hovering around $66 million.
The numbers surrounding bringing in Votto certainly wouldn't work for the A's, as his salary alone would add another 35 percent or so to the A's payroll, a steep amount for a team that boasts a low operating revenue.
25. Houston Astros
Bob Levey/Getty Images
After finishing the 2011 season with an astounding 106 losses under their belt, the Houston Astros are back to the drawing board as they prepare to enter a 2012 season that certainly won't get any easier.
Despite trading away great players in recent seasons, the Astros didn't get a great farm system as a result and are now in need of creativity to get a deal done—but don't expect Joey Votto to head to the lone star state should he change scenery.
24. Los Angeles Dodgers
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The Los Angeles Dodgers have two immense young talents in Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw, and fans should have some reason to believe that the team can at one point return to greatness.
But off the field issues with ownership are preventing that from happening at this time and will likely prevent any real moves from being made on any high-priced talent out there on the open market.
23. Minnesota Twins
G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images
If you thought it seemed like nothing in 2011 went right for the Minnesota Twins, you'd be right.
Narrowly escaping 100 losses, the Twins' biggest need this offseason will be improving on health. Having stars like Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer out for the majority of the season isn't a good recipe for success.
With Morneau at first base, the Twins won't have any interest in Votto, but I'm sure they'd love to have a first baseman with his durability right about now.
22. Boston Red Sox
Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images
After such a disastrous end to the 2011 season, the Boston Red Sox will certainly look to turn the page on this year as they head into the 2012 season with a new management team.
While they will need to make a move this offseason, it won't be at first base. Adrian Gonzalez will be manning first base for the foreseeable future and recent developments involving the Red Sox pitching staff will likely force the team to seek out arms this winter.
21. Chicago White Sox
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Kenny Williams has never shyed away from making a big deal when it comes down to it.
But with Paul Konerko leading the Chicago White Sox at first base and Adam Dunn's contract on the books, there really isn't a place for Votto on the roster.
20. Detroit Tigers
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
The Detroit Tigers present another situation where a team is already so offensively equipped, Votto wouldn't have a chance to make his way to first base.
Votto would fit in well in the Tigers roster, but with one of the most prolific offensive players in Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers will be set for years to come at first base.
19. Philadelphia Phillies
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
The Philadelphia Phillies are another franchise that suffered a disappointing end to the 2011 season.
After compiling one of the best pitching rotations known to man, the Phillies failed to make it past the NLDS and were sent home with many questions and an injured superstar.
There will be points to be addressed this offseason, but first base likely won't be one of them as Ryan Howard should return to form from the Achilles injury he's currently recovering from.
18. Colorado Rockies
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
The Colorado Rockies can appreciate how a slugger can succeed in the home run friendly confines of Coors Field, but it seems unlikely the team would invest the money in Votto.
A more likely option this offseason for the Rockies would be a multi-tool player like Michael Cuddyer who will come with a lower price tag.
17. New York Yankees
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
With Mark Teixeira locked in at first base through 2016, you'd have to think they'll pass on any opportunity to acquire Votto.
The Yankees are the biggest spenders in baseball, but all signs point to them spending on pitching this offseason.
16. Texas Rangers
Tom Pennington/Getty Images
The Texas Rangers have been rumored as a team that will make a strong push to sign C.C. Sabathia should he decide to opt out of his contract with the New York Yankees.
If that somehow ends up happening, it's hard to believe they'll be able to find funds to bring Joey Votto on-board as well, especially considering they'll likely want to prepare for the time when they'll need to open their wallets to retain Josh Hamilton.
15. Atlanta Braves
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
While the Atlanta Braves do have the type of prospects that the Cincinnati Reds could benefit from having, it doesn't seem likely that Votto would fit in a Braves uniform.
As Freddie Freeman continues to grow in his role of an every day first baseman, the Braves will find that they're well equipped as-is.
14. Baltimore Orioles
Jorge Lemus/Getty Images
The Baltimore Orioles have made strides in the right direction since bringing Buck Showalter in as manager.
They're still quite a ways off from contending in the always dominating AL East, however, so it would seem unlikely the Orioles would find it worthwhile to invest such a massive sum on a single player.
13. Washington Nationals
Hunter Martin/Getty Images
The Washington Nationals have seemed to tap themselves out of funds with their signing of Jayson Werth to a $126 million contract this past offseason.
Another consideration that will probably keep them from signing Votto to a long term deal would be the upcoming contract of Ryan Zimmerman and the payouts that Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper will undoubtedly get (albeit a long ways down the road).
12. Anaheim Angels
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
The Anaheim Angels can never be counted out when it comes to bringing in a big name, evidenced by an opening day payroll that this year exceeding $141 million.
They may have an interest in bringing a dynamic offensive player like Votto, but they have their own high-potential first baseman in Mark Trumbo, who hit an impressive 29 home runs this season.
11. New York Mets
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
A top priority for the New York Mets this offseason will certainly be in retaining Jose Reyes if possible. He proved his worth to the team this season and the fanbase certainly wants to see him stay.
If he does end up leaving, the Mets could pull from their pitching prospects to help the Reds improve on their rotation issues, while filling the gap that Reyes' departure would leave.
10. Tampa Bay Rays
J. Meric/Getty Images
The Tampa Bay Rays illustrated this fall that a team can't count themselves out until the very end, as they advanced to the ALDS thanks to an extremely impressive fall.
It doesn't seem that everything is positive in Tampa though, as the ownership has grown weary over a lack of support for the team and indicated that the payroll will reflect that.
True that it could be difficult to trade for and then extend a player that will command more than $20 million annually such as Votto, but with a pitching nucleus already in place, an offensive weapon like Votto could propel the team once again in the tough AL East.
9. San Francisco Giants
Win McNamee/Getty Images
The reigning world champion San Francisco Giants have to be disappointed with how their 2011 season turned out after enjoying such success just a year ago.
After missing the playoffs this season, the Giants head into this offseason likely prepared to spend as they look to improve.
With speculation surrounding the notion of Prince Fielder in San Francisco, it would seem fitting that Joey Votto's name would also enter that mix should Fielder end up elsewhere.
8. Milwaukee Brewers
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Much like the St. Louis Cardinals, bringing Joey Votto to town probably wouldn't be the first choice for the Milwaukee Brewers, as they'd love to keep Prince Fielder at first base for years to come.
At this point it seems unlikely that Fielder will be staying in Wisconsin, meaning that the team will need to look elsewhere when filling the offensive void that would be left.
They gave away a number of their trade chips in acquiring Zack Greinke this past offseason, so it's not certain what they'd have to offer, but they may, if nothing else, give a call should it come down to it.
7. St. Louis Cardinals
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Joey Votto clearly wouldn't be a first choice for fans in St. Louis. They're most certainly still hoping that their team will do whatever it takes to re-sign Albert Pujols to a long term contract so he can retire a Cardinal.
If that doesn't workout however, they'll need to replace that offensive production somewhere, and offering up a strong package of pitching prospects would possibly be a good start in bringing Votto over to fill the void.
6. Cleveland Indians
David Maxwell/Getty Images
As fans in Cleveland saw their team emerge from the cellar of the AL Central in 2011, they were given a new sense of hope for the future of their franchise.
They'd no doubt love to work towards bringing Joey Votto across to Cleveland, but a number of factors would seemingly prohibit that.
First, it's not entirely certain they'll be able to put together a package of prospects that the Reds would agree to. Even if they did manage to agree upon that, it would seem unlikely that the Indians would be willing to pay the amount that Votto will be due.
And finally, with a very left-handed lineup, the Indians would probably prefer to add a player hitting from the right side to balance things out more.
5. Chicago Cubs
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
The Chicago Cubs are preparing to rein in a new era of baseball as Theo Epstein comes to town giving fans the hopes of a rebuilding that will pay dividends.
There's no doubt that much attention will be paid to whether or not a big move is made to bring in a free-agent slugger like Fielder or Pujols, but it could also be possible that a player such as Votto could be brought to town.
The Cubs have the funds necessary to keep him around and can provide enough pitching prospects to possibly gain the interest of the Reds' front office.
4. Florida Marlins
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
The Florida Marlins have a relatively low payroll by league standards, but will likely be looking to make some big acquisitions in the near future as they prepare to open up their new stadium in 2012.
With revenues set to increase dramatically, the team may look to complement their addition of Ozzie Guillen as manager with the addition of another slugger.
There hasn't been any substantial discussion surrounding Votto heading to Florida, but Marlins beat writer Joe Capozzi indicated that they might be looking into it.
3. Seattle Mariners
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
The Seattle Mariners don't typically shy away from spending, as they've spent big amounts on free agents in the past.
In some instances it has come back to haunt them as productivity doesn't always reflect the investment, but that can't deter an organization from future spending.
With Justin Smoak not seemingly ready to emerge as a star in this league, the Mariners could be wise to put together a package to bring Joey Votto across the country to build a successful team alongside ace Felix Hernandez.
2. Toronto Blue Jays
J. Meric/Getty Images
As rumors have started to swirl more feverishly regarding the status of Joey Votto, the Toronto Blue Jays appear to be one of the few teams confirmed as being in the mix of a pursuit.
It would make sense that the Blue Jays would want to bring Votto (a native of Toronto) back home, so to speak.
The Blue Jays do have a relatively low payroll ($62.5 million entering 2011), so extending Votto long term would be a challenge, but if they deem enough upside in having the hometown talent on the field every night, they could work to get a deal done.
1. Cincinnati Reds
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
When it all comes down to it, you'd have to think the Cincinnati Reds will end up retaining Joey Votto.
GM Walt Jocketty has stated that the team isn't shopping Votto around, and while that in no way indicates that they wouldn't listen to offers that are received, he's just too valuable to let go.
If the Reds do commit to Votto for the long term, they could then shop around Yonder Alonso among other prospects in hopes of finding formidable arms to help alleviate the struggles their staff experienced in 2011.