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View Full Version : Aging ballplayers... should we resign a 30 year old Votto?



cincrazy
02-11-2012, 06:46 PM
http://joeposnanski.si.com/2012/02/10/aging-with-chart/?sct=hp_t12_a1&eref=sihp

I think this is a wonderful article by Joe Posnanski breaking down how ballplayers age, and I feel any Reds fan should read this with the Joey Votto situation looming. Votto will be entering his age 30 season in the first year of his NEW long term contract. Studying some of the numbers and looking at baseball history, should the Reds REALLY lock up Votto long term, even if they get a "discount"? I'd be interested to hear some of your responses. Do we follow our hearts or our brains when it comes to this contract discussion? Obviously, this could also apply to Phillips.

dougdirt
02-11-2012, 07:03 PM
I am against signing anyone at 30 or older to more than a 4 year deal. It simply doesn't pay off well. Toss in a small market team with limited funds.... and its a no brainer.

mattfeet
02-11-2012, 07:07 PM
I am against signing anyone at 30 or older to more than a 4 year deal. It simply doesn't pay off well. Toss in a small market team with limited funds.... and its a no brainer.

That said, I think Votto is the player that won't want a much longer contract. that, or he'll demand a long deal since it might be his last. Two ways to view it.

Matt

dougdirt
02-11-2012, 07:10 PM
That said, I think Votto is the player that won't want a much longer contract. that, or he'll demand a long deal since it might be his last. Two ways to view it.

Matt

Votto is going to get one big contract. You can be he will be asking for 9 years and will probably get at least 7 from someone.

CySeymour
02-11-2012, 07:13 PM
Votto is going to get one big contract. You can be he will be asking for 9 years and will probably get at least 7 from someone.

There's no other way to think about it. Someone is going to pony up tons of cash for a lot of years. As much as I love Votto, do so just wouldn't be in the Reds best interest.

Vottomatic
02-11-2012, 07:15 PM
Joey is my favorite player. But more and more I'm ready to let him walk. I don't like watching a superstar decline at age 37 and 38, and they're still getting paid ridiculous amounts of money. It just makes me bitter.

Part ways when it's time and go young again.

vic715
02-12-2012, 12:01 AM
4-5 years at the most.I'll almost bet in 5 years the Angels are going to regret signing Puljos to 10 years.

Phhhl
02-12-2012, 12:33 AM
He's my favorite player in a lot of years too. Dead serious, smart, professional. Works hard, stays out of trouble and, most importantly, produces. He is everything I would want a Cincinnati Red to be. But, I'm not going to let all the garbage we are about to hear bother me this year, or next. Votto is going to be in someone's column or television commentary every day for the next two years, and it's all going to be about what's going to happen two years from now. Well, we already know for certain that he is going to be in another uniform.

It is the same thing that happened with Fielder. It went on for two years, and it was the most boring topic in baseball. Then, one day, the Tigers stepped up like drunken sailors and blew all their money on a guy who is as likely to eat himself into a diabetic coma as win a world championship there in the next 10 years. Fielder right now is not as good a player as Votto, and Sir Cumpherence is not worth even close to what the Detroit Tigers are paying him. What do you think Joey is going to get? Frankly, I am just glad the club recognizes what the window of this franchise is and is trying to capitolize on it to some extent.

But, even if the Cubs or Cardinals invest the type of money he is bound to get, I can't imagine that type of contract ever working out for the vast majority of all teams in baseball, and would never want to see the Reds cripple themselves that way in a fit of meloncholy.

757690
02-12-2012, 01:33 AM
Three points on this matter:

1) This is the strongest argument against the DH rule in my opinion. The DH allows the American League to nab all the superstars at this point in their career, because they can afford to put them at DH at the end of these long contracts, allowing them to offer more years than any National League team. Until the DH is eliminated, the NL will always be inferior for this very reason.

2) Votto currently has all the earmarks of being one of the anomalies. First, he already is at 1B, the least valuable defensive position, and still has top value. He's not going to lose much defensively, as most of his value come from offense. He is in great shape, and has a good body type for aging well, not too big or small. Most importantly, he is an extreme professional, who is driven to be the best. Of course, injuries are unpredictable, but if Votto can steer clear of any major injuries, he should be able to stay better for longer than most MLB players.

3) He doesn't need to be a 7 or 6 win player for the entire contract in order for it to be worth it overall. Let's assume a natural regression of production from Votto from age 30-36, the length of a 7 year contract after 2013.

Age - WAR
30 - 7
31 - 6.5
32 - 5.5
33 - 4.5
34 - 3.5
35 - 3
36 - 3

That adds up to 33 WAR over the length of the contract. At around $5M per win, that's $165M of value, or $23.5M a season on average. More importantly, that gets the Reds an MVP caliber bat in the middle of the lineup for around 3-4 more seasons. Add in the extra money from being competitive all those seasons, and I think it makes sense.

Phhhl
02-12-2012, 02:16 AM
Three points on this matter:

1) This is the strongest argument against the DH rule in my opinion. The DH allows the American League to nab all the superstars at this point in their career, because they can afford to put them at DH at the end of these long contracts, allowing them to offer more years than any National League team. Until the DH is eliminated, the NL will always be inferior for this very reason.

2) Votto currently has all the earmarks of being one of the anomalies. First, he already is at 1B, the least valuable defensive position, and still has top value. He's not going to lose much defensively, as most of his value come from offense. He is in great shape, and has a good body type for aging well, not too big or small. Most importantly, he is an extreme professional, who is driven to be the best. Of course, injuries are unpredictable, but if Votto can steer clear of any major injuries, he should be able to stay better for longer than most MLB players.

3) He doesn't need to be a 7 or 6 win player for the entire contract in order for it to be worth it overall. Let's assume a natural regression of production from Votto from age 30-36, the length of a 7 year contract after 2013.

Age - WAR
30 - 7
31 - 6.5
32 - 5.5
33 - 4.5
34 - 3.5
35 - 3
36 - 3

That adds up to 33 WAR over the length of the contract. At around $5M per win, that's $165M of value, or $23.5M a season on average. More importantly, that gets the Reds an MVP caliber bat in the middle of the lineup for around 3-4 more seasons. Add in the extra money from being competitive all those seasons, and I think it makes sense.

Of all these good points, I love the one about the DH. It does address why Pujols and Fielder migrated to the AL the first chance they got. In Pujols' case in particular, coming off a World Championship and being mentioned in the same breath as Stan Musial, it had to be a difficult choice. This salient point speaks to just another thing that is wrong with baseball. And, as much as we love it, it would be remiss to overlook anything that renders it less than perfect. I totally agree!

I think the problem with signing Votto long term simply has less to do with what he is able to do individually than what the effect of a gargantuan contract like that has on the rest of the roster over the course of it. If you project his numbers based on what he does over a 150-160 game sample size over the next seven years, your logic is inherintly flawed from the start. Unless he is Lou Gehrig, he is going to require more time off as he ages. If he happens to be Lou Gehrig, he is still going to have his career cut short by some kind of unforseen anamoly by the end of these terms. In short, the chances of the stars aligning to allow Votto to continue on the arc his playing time has provided during the first half of his career are astrologically stacked against him. It is actually refuted by your first point.

I just think we should all resign ourselves to the fact that Votto is on a two year deal. And, btw, let's pray to God that he performs well enough over those two years to truly make it impossible to sign him for any more than that.

dougdirt
02-12-2012, 02:58 AM
3) He doesn't need to be a 7 or 6 win player for the entire contract in order for it to be worth it overall. Let's assume a natural regression of production from Votto from age 30-36, the length of a 7 year contract after 2013.

Age - WAR
30 - 7
31 - 6.5
32 - 5.5
33 - 4.5
34 - 3.5
35 - 3
36 - 3

That adds up to 33 WAR over the length of the contract. At around $5M per win, that's $165M of value, or $23.5M a season on average. More importantly, that gets the Reds an MVP caliber bat in the middle of the lineup for around 3-4 more seasons. Add in the extra money from being competitive all those seasons, and I think it makes sense.

If contracts were structured that way, they would make sense. But Votto will be getting paid for 5-6 wins each year and is going to kill payroll the second half of that contract. Teams like the Reds, unfortunately, can't handle things like that.

mth123
02-12-2012, 04:18 AM
Three points on this matter:

1) This is the strongest argument against the DH rule in my opinion. The DH allows the American League to nab all the superstars at this point in their career, because they can afford to put them at DH at the end of these long contracts, allowing them to offer more years than any National League team. Until the DH is eliminated, the NL will always be inferior for this very reason.

2) Votto currently has all the earmarks of being one of the anomalies. First, he already is at 1B, the least valuable defensive position, and still has top value. He's not going to lose much defensively, as most of his value come from offense. He is in great shape, and has a good body type for aging well, not too big or small. Most importantly, he is an extreme professional, who is driven to be the best. Of course, injuries are unpredictable, but if Votto can steer clear of any major injuries, he should be able to stay better for longer than most MLB players.

3) He doesn't need to be a 7 or 6 win player for the entire contract in order for it to be worth it overall. Let's assume a natural regression of production from Votto from age 30-36, the length of a 7 year contract after 2013.

Age - WAR
30 - 7
31 - 6.5
32 - 5.5
33 - 4.5
34 - 3.5
35 - 3
36 - 3

That adds up to 33 WAR over the length of the contract. At around $5M per win, that's $165M of value, or $23.5M a season on average. More importantly, that gets the Reds an MVP caliber bat in the middle of the lineup for around 3-4 more seasons. Add in the extra money from being competitive all those seasons, and I think it makes sense.

:thumbup:

Unfortunately, the best incentive that the Reds could offer Votto would have been to include 2012 and 2013 in the deal in place of his current contract. 2012 and, to a lesser extent, 2013 are the years where Votto will be making much less than market and bumping those years to market level would seem to be the only motivation for Votto to sign outside of sheer loyalty and happiness here. He'll get his money in 2014 and beyond and he knows it.

muddie
02-12-2012, 04:24 AM
It is the same thing that happened with Fielder. It went on for two years, and it was the most boring topic in baseball. Then, one day, the Tigers stepped up like drunken sailors and blew all their money on a guy who is as likely to eat himself into a diabetic coma as win a world championship there in the next 10 years. Fielder right now is not as good a player as Votto, and Sir Cumpherence is not worth even close to what the Detroit Tigers are paying him.

Good post. I agree with you entirely. I am a Detroit fan in the American League and this signing made me sick. It was stupid and uncalled for. Detroit will indeed regret this in a couple of years. If Cabrera has the problems at third I anticipate, they'll regret it this year!

redsmetz
02-12-2012, 06:31 AM
If contracts were structured that way, they would make sense. But Votto will be getting paid for 5-6 wins each year and is going to kill payroll the second half of that contract. Teams like the Reds, unfortunately, can't handle things like that.

I've come to wonder why some agent doesn't come to a solution of structuring a contract like a mountain - it raises to it's peak and then lessens as it moves to its conclusion. Arrive at the total dollar amount agreed to and structure it this way.

It's the same reason I wonder about some players not just going into a free agency year towards the end of their career and accept a salary that's commensurate with what they bring now, not what their histories been. Usually this involves a players staying with their existing club, as it happens more and more as players move on (see the example of Roy Oswalt - his market clearly has adjusted). The truth is, even the reduced number is going to be a lot of dough.

MartyFan
02-12-2012, 08:58 AM
I know this will sound ridiculous but I was not in favor of moving prospects for Latos since we are in the one yer window.

Lets be realistic...The Reds are NOT going to resign Phillips...and I cannot blame them, he is 30+ and at 2B. His value is arguably higher now than it ever will be and though I want the Reds to win, I think they need to do it with a younger core and a few crafty veterans who are able to play but still serve as a mentor in the process.

If a deal was out there that could have brought league average hitting and good defense at 2B and LF power/contact hitter along with a legit pitching prospect or two, I would have traded both Phillips and Votto this off season..yes, the Reds fans would have been TICKED but now we have a one year window.

In the new era of baseball, we need to let go of the idea of a player staying with a team their entire career and instead look to sign great young talent, utilize it while it is cheap, develop it further and trade it away when the value is highest...like Votto and Phillips now.

Putting a system like that in place would allow the Reds to be in the hunt for the wildcard and division several times instead of banking on a one year window the team has now.

traderumor
02-12-2012, 09:05 AM
Tough call, isn't it? Votto is an athletic, hard-working guy who is likely to keep a young body through his 30s, but in the post-steroid era, the old norms with age and decline are in play again. In baseball, with guaranteed money on LTCs, I am with doug, not liking deals more than 4 years, no matter whom it is. I would go a step further and not make it age related. The Reds have to decide if Votto will be the exception that will allow them to get their money's worth in a Griffey-like LTC.

Disclaimer: I am not implying that Votto would take PEDs if available to prolong his career and productivity, I am only talking about how we are already seeing guys 35+ retiring due to lack of interest from fast declining skills. That baseline had changed during the PED era.

IslandRed
02-12-2012, 12:40 PM
If a deal was out there that could have brought league average hitting and good defense at 2B and LF power/contact hitter along with a legit pitching prospect or two, I would have traded both Phillips and Votto this off season..yes, the Reds fans would have been TICKED but now we have a one year window.

Beats a zero-year window. :p


In the new era of baseball, we need to let go of the idea of a player staying with a team their entire career and instead look to sign great young talent, utilize it while it is cheap, develop it further and trade it away when the value is highest...like Votto and Phillips now.

The players with highest value are the ones playing like stars but who aren't yet making a lot of money. Strictly speaking, if we were following that philosophy, Votto and Phillips would have been ex-Reds for awhile now.

As for me, I think it's just as difficult to do it that way as what we're doing. The constant churning of trading off players before you have to means you're never really set up to win unless all the stars align and you hit a bunch of the lottery tickets at once -- and then by definition, if you do, you're about to blow it up and start churning again. And it rarely seems to work unless the club can reinforce it with a number of #1-type talents obtained by being truly bad for awhile, e.g. the Rays.

I tend to favor the model used by the '90s Indians and current Brewers, etc. Once you're in a window, hold it open as long as you can, and worry about the rebuild when the run is over. The casual ticket-buying fan needs to believe that winning is the team's goal and not just an accident.

cincrazy
02-12-2012, 01:21 PM
As Branch Rickey was fond of saying, it's better to get rid of a guy a year too soon than to keep him a year too late. Votto and Phillips are two of my favorite players ever, but the Reds aren't in a position to offer them that kind of money long term.

Couldn't this be the new "Moneyball"? Teams like the Reds and Rays and others passing on offering these long term contracts, while the big market teams ink these guys. You mean to tell me this won't have a huge effect in four or five years? A lot of the Yankees and Red Sox and Tigers of the world are going to be stuck with expensive, old rosters, while the teams that play it smart will stay young and cheap. As the market changes, I think this is the best way to stay competitive. It sucks that we can't keep our stars in a small market, but in the long run, I think we'll be better off for it. The more outrageous these contracts get, the more it plays into our hands later on IMO.

alexad
02-12-2012, 01:55 PM
Votto is not the face of this Franchise. Phillips is the FACE!!! Phillips at 14-16 has more value than Votto at 22-25. I like them both. Phillips has been committed to the Reds. Just look at his community service in the area. Still travels in the Reds Caravan. What does Votto do?? Votto does not like the spot light and CAN NOT handle pressure. He may get a long term contract but what team will sign him when Votto does not want the pub or pressure of being the MAN. In Cincy he is not the man and looks comfortable. Look what happened when he started getting all the coverage during his MVP year. He went down with a mental disorder.

Votto can not handle being the MAN. Albert can and so can Prince. Phillips can handle being the MAN. I just don't see Votto in that category. Thus I can not see teams paying him top dollar and expect him to fill that role.

LegallyMinded
02-12-2012, 02:16 PM
Votto does not like the spot light and CAN NOT handle pressure. He may get a long term contract but what team will sign him when Votto does not want the pub or pressure of being the MAN. In Cincy he is not the man and looks comfortable. Look what happened when he started getting all the coverage during his MVP year. He went down with a mental disorder.

Votto can not handle being the MAN. Albert can and so can Prince. Phillips can handle being the MAN. I just don't see Votto in that category. Thus I can not see teams paying him top dollar and expect him to fill that role.

Actually, Votto's "mental disorder" came in 2009, not his MVP year, and it was related to the death of his father, not increased publicity. If anything, I would argue that Votto has responded admirably to the pressure of being a central player on the Reds: His MVP campaign projected him into the national spotlight, but rather than shrink from the associated exposure, he responded in 2011 with another sterling season.

defender
02-12-2012, 03:44 PM
The article has 2 flaws. It does not factor total player population at each age and 6 war is too much to get enough data. What is the probability Votto produces 4.5 war at age 38 and what will 4.5 war be worth at that time? In 2021 Reds payroll will most likely be at least 150 mil, so paying Votto 23 mil, might be worth it.

dougdirt
02-12-2012, 04:55 PM
Votto is not the face of this Franchise. Phillips is the FACE!!! Phillips at 14-16 has more value than Votto at 22-25. I like them both. Phillips has been committed to the Reds. Just look at his community service in the area. Still travels in the Reds Caravan. What does Votto do?? Votto does not like the spot light and CAN NOT handle pressure. He may get a long term contract but what team will sign him when Votto does not want the pub or pressure of being the MAN. In Cincy he is not the man and looks comfortable. Look what happened when he started getting all the coverage during his MVP year. He went down with a mental disorder.

Votto can not handle being the MAN. Albert can and so can Prince. Phillips can handle being the MAN. I just don't see Votto in that category. Thus I can not see teams paying him top dollar and expect him to fill that role.
Phillips at 14-16 would be just brutal. Fans really don't care about "the face of the franchise". If the Reds traded Phillips tomorrow, less than 1% of fans would stop following the Reds or rooting for the Reds or going to the games. Maybe Phillips can handle being the man in terms of mental capacity, but he can't handle being the man when it comes to skillset, because unfortunately, he has never been an elite level player and at his age, its incredibly unlikely that he ever is.

mth123
02-12-2012, 05:07 PM
Votto is not the face of this Franchise. Phillips is the FACE!!! Phillips at 14-16 has more value than Votto at 22-25. I like them both. Phillips has been committed to the Reds. Just look at his community service in the area. Still travels in the Reds Caravan. What does Votto do?? Votto does not like the spot light and CAN NOT handle pressure. He may get a long term contract but what team will sign him when Votto does not want the pub or pressure of being the MAN. In Cincy he is not the man and looks comfortable. Look what happened when he started getting all the coverage during his MVP year. He went down with a mental disorder.

Votto can not handle being the MAN. Albert can and so can Prince. Phillips can handle being the MAN. I just don't see Votto in that category. Thus I can not see teams paying him top dollar and expect him to fill that role.

Completely disagree with this. Phillips is a nice role player. Votto is the centerpiece of the line-up and the team. Its not about personality, its about production. Votto is well worth $22 Million + per year. Phillips is not worth $10 Million+. He's getting it this year because he has a backloaded deal. It's not the baseline for going forward.

Phillips is a really good player. He's the best defensive 2B the Reds have had (inclusing Pokey, Morgan, Helms, Boone and other gold glovers) in my lifetime. But he is most certainly a role player and not anyone near Votto's caliber.

RedsBaron
02-12-2012, 06:34 PM
:

1) This is the strongest argument against the DH rule in my opinion. The DH allows the American League to nab all the superstars at this point in their career, because they can afford to put them at DH at the end of these long contracts, allowing them to offer more years than any National League team. Until the DH is eliminated, the NL will always be inferior for this very reason.



It is also an argument for the NL to adopt the DH.
The AL is not going to eliminate the DH and if it tries to do so the players union won't agree to its elimination.
I've never liked the DH but it is in use throughout most of baseball and the refusal of the NL to adopt its use puts its teams at a competitive disadvantage.

cumberlandreds
02-13-2012, 08:24 AM
Frank Robinson was an "old" 30 and the Reds traded him. How did that work out? If the Reds get the opportunity they should lock up Votto.

cincrazy
02-13-2012, 08:51 AM
Frank Robinson was an "old" 30 and the Reds traded him. How did that work out? If the Reds get the opportunity they should lock up Votto.

This is a good point. But I'm afraid Frank Robinson is the exception. The Reds also traded for a "young" Ken Griffey Jr. at 30. And that didn't work out so well.

Johnny Footstool
02-13-2012, 09:58 AM
If contracts were structured that way, they would make sense. But Votto will be getting paid for 5-6 wins each year and is going to kill payroll the second half of that contract. Teams like the Reds, unfortunately, can't handle things like that.

So why can't the Reds front-load their contract offer?

Why not pay a player more when he's younger and more productive, with the salary tapering off as the player ages?

CySeymour
02-13-2012, 09:59 AM
So why can't the Reds front-load their contract offer?

Why not pay a player more when he's younger and more productive, with the salary tapering off as the player ages?

You're assuming the player would take that deal, which isn't likely. Players like having the higher salary at the end because it helps them in negotiating their next contract.

RedlegJake
02-13-2012, 10:00 AM
Frank was also in the age of the year to year contract and if he'd imploded the Orioles wouldn't have been out anything but a year. You cannot compare deals across these eras anymore than you can compare players numbers.

A long contract is risky - I'd sure rather bet 7-9 years on Votto than on a Fielder body type but its still a risky play. My guess is you'd love the first half of the contract and rue the final half, but in Joey's case a 7 year deal might be very acceptable. He'd be 37 which isn't too old to be producing reasonable numbers although he might be slipping the last year or two, it might not be too bad. He doesn't strike me as a guy who will go suddenly. He isn't a bad body type, out of shape or physically lazy when it comes to working out. I don't see why he couldn't be productive for a 7 year deal but certainly no longer than that. I'd offer more per year to keep it at 7 than stretch the years to flatten the dollars out.

Johnny Footstool
02-13-2012, 10:06 AM
You're assuming the player would take that deal, which isn't likely. Players like having the higher salary at the end because it helps them in negotiating their next contract.

In this situation, Votto would be negotiating his next contract at age 37. He would be due for a huge pay cut, and everyone involved would know it.

Why not just offer the deal? If Votto is the stand-up, straight-shooter type everyone thinks he is, he might be open to this kind of deal.

cumberlandreds
02-13-2012, 10:44 AM
This is a good point. But I'm afraid Frank Robinson is the exception. The Reds also traded for a "young" Ken Griffey Jr. at 30. And that didn't work out so well.

Certainly it's a risk either way. IMO, Votto is worth the risk to sign long term.

MartyFan
02-13-2012, 02:26 PM
Beats a zero-year window. :p



The players with highest value are the ones playing like stars but who aren't yet making a lot of money. Strictly speaking, if we were following that philosophy, Votto and Phillips would have been ex-Reds for awhile now.

As for me, I think it's just as difficult to do it that way as what we're doing. The constant churning of trading off players before you have to means you're never really set up to win unless all the stars align and you hit a bunch of the lottery tickets at once -- and then by definition, if you do, you're about to blow it up and start churning again. And it rarely seems to work unless the club can reinforce it with a number of #1-type talents obtained by being truly bad for awhile, e.g. the Rays.

I tend to favor the model used by the '90s Indians and current Brewers, etc. Once you're in a window, hold it open as long as you can, and worry about the rebuild when the run is over. The casual ticket-buying fan needs to believe that winning is the team's goal and not just an accident.

How is what I am saying different than what the Indians did...look back to the Joe Carter trade...he, Brook Jacoby, Jerry Brown and the young Albert Belle were the hope of the franchise along with pitchers Tom Candiotti, Bud Black, John Farrell and Greg Swindell...all of those guys had ERA's under 4 and logged nearly 200 innings and striking out over 100 batters faced...each of them! They had already traded away Julio Franco who was the other KILLER BAT in their order in 1988 but that got them some of the guys they were able to build on for the 90's...and it continued with that Trade of Joe Carter and then on through the 90's with more trades, player development and signing of veterans.

During the 90's the Indians made it too the WS twice and won their division four or five years in a row?

The Reds have not traded any Currently impacting commodities to get the sort of talent the Indians did back then...not even in trading Dunn and Junior have they done that just yet. Votto and Phillips are the two players who are going to fill in the blanks but not by being on the field with the Reds when they win but instead by being the chips that are dealt to bring in the talent.

Trade Votto as soon as there is a GREAT offer on the table and trade Brandon because undoubtedly the team will get more in a trade than they will in letting him walk...which is what they should do if they do not trade him.

The Brewers are a decent team and have been for the last few years but they are not even close to the class of what the Indians became or even were while they were "rebuilding".

Tony Cloninger
02-13-2012, 09:34 PM
The Reds have a two year window....as I do not view them letting Phillips or Madson and even Marshall walk after this year.....mean that they cannot compete again in 2013. IF Votto is traded after this year...then yes it was a 1 year window then.

IslandRed
02-14-2012, 12:42 PM
How is what I am saying different than what the Indians did...

The Indians did what you were talking about until they were in a position to contend. Then they stopped trading their best players away before they had to and started acting like a team trying to win now instead of later. Which is what the Reds are doing. If you're not optimistic about winning now and would rather place your bet on later, that's fine, but a team that thinks it's contending doesn't do things like trading Votto and Phillips for prospects unless it has no choice money-wise.