Apparently the Reds have a money printing machine stashed away someplace.
Less than a week after the club announced that it signed first baseman Joey Votto to a 10-year contract extension, the Cincinnati press reports that the club is on the verge of inking second baseman Brandon Phillips to a deal that will pay him about $13 million a year for the next six seasons.
The Reds had a payroll of about $80 million in 2011. If Phillips' contract is divided equally, he'll make $13 million as a 37 year old in 2018 while Votto's contract will pay him $25 million that year as a 34 year old -- a total of $38 million for two over the hill players.
Apparently Cincinnati has decided its chance to win is now and the team is willing to go all in at any cost. But its revenue wouldn't seem to support such moves. The small market Reds haven't drawn well in recent year despite their competitive on the field. They finished 16th in the majors leagues in attendance in 27, 327 -- a total of 2.21 million despite the club's many pleas and reduced ticket offers throughout the season.
(I bought tickets from the Reds a few years back to watch the Cardinals play there, so I am on their email list and they were even sending out discount offers to the games Cincinnati hosted against St. Louis. One would think the rivalry over the last couple of years would make those games easy sell outs.)
The Reds were 20th in the majors the year before with 2.06 million total and 25,746 per game.
I just don't see how the team thinks it can sustain paying nearly half its present payroll to two aging players -- especially when Phillips relies on speed to play his game, usually the first thing to leave an older player. But I guess that's their problem and not the Cardinals' worry.