Re: Votto Trade Value
Here's what I would prefer be the Votto Plan for the next 14-18 months:
Use trade assets to get a thumper for left field to protect Joey in the lineup for 2012. Could even be a one-year guy. Truly go all-in for the Central next year. Hope that you make a splash and win some games, make the post-season and sell lots of seats. Then go back to Joey *next* off-season and talk contract extension. One hopes the good buzz and fun season could get him to bite. Something fair, but not franchise-restrictive. Deferred money etc. If he doesn't go for it, explore a Votto trade that off-season. Can use the money earmarked for him to sign the thumper to a deal, and get other pieces back for Votto.
Note: If the plan bombs next season and 2012 is lost too, then entertain trades at mid-season for both the one-year thumper and Joey.
I have a love-hate relationship with Albert Pujols. Mostly hate.