OH NO VOTTO!
OH NO VOTTO!
by Robb Hoff
July 16, 2012
Just when it looked like clear skies, smooth sailing, easy money....etc., the sky darkened, the wind howled and the terrain was destroyed like the fist of hell ascended from the earth and....well, maybe not all of that.
But the Cincinnati Reds will be without the services of All-Star first baseman Joey Votto for the foreseeable future, most likely until the middle of August due to knee surgery for a meniscus tear.
Todd Frazier will replace Votto at first base in the short term, but the Reds could become buyers before the non-waiver trade deadline in a hurry if they can get a big-league left-handed hitting first baseman from a non-contending team for a song and a dance.
Without a trade, the most likely scenario will be that minor leaguer Neftali Soto will join the team and sub for Frazier when Frazier has to play third base to give Scott Rolen a break. Unfortunately, Soto is a low average hitter and a right-handed batter, which won't help the Reds add to the sole left-handed hitter in their lineup, Jay Bruce.
The Reds could try to land a left-handed hitting first baseman like the Chicago Cubs' Bryan LaHair, but the prospect price is likely to be too steep for LaHair. Otherwise, a left-handed veteran bat like the San Diego Padres' Mark Kotsay might be the best fit for the cost it will take to bring Kotsay to the Reds.
Hopefully the absolutely worst case scenario is that Votto is out until the beginning of September (six weeks). That would mean the Reds would have to claw their way through 44 games without their superstar
The Reds will be doing well to win half their games without Votto and that won't be enough to maintain a comfortable lead in the N.L. Central.
The knee injury could be a lot worse, but it's going to take it's toll on the 2012 Reds. Reds' fans better hope this isn't the start of what the Indians' fans have had to endure with the demise of the once-MVP-caliber hitter Travis Hafner, whose career nose-dived after a plump contract extension.