The Cincinnati Reds had an incredibly busy winter inking Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, and Johnny Cueto to long-term deals that will keep the young core together through 2013. They also tried locking up 27-year old starting pitcher Edinson Volquez to a long-term deal, but as Mark Sheldon of mlb.com reports, their attempts were denied.
"They were offering me a four-year contract, the same as Johnny Cueto, but I felt it wasn't right for me," Volquez told the Dominican publication El Caribe in a recent interview. "I talked to the lawyer and the general manager of the team and we all agreed on only one season."
"They were offering me a four-year contract, the same as Johnny Cueto, but I felt it wasn't right for me," Volquez told the Dominican publication El Caribe in a recent interview. "I talked to the lawyer and the general manager of the team and we all agreed on only one season."While it's definitely a risky move for Volquez to leave all of that guaranteed money on the table, it's probably the right move at this time. If he was to sign an extension right now, it'd be based on last year's inconsistent performance, and not the kind of dominant performance he's shown flashes of exhibiting during his three seasons with the Reds. While a new deal on par with Cueto's four year $27M would provide tremendous security, it would likely come at the cost of a far more lucrative deal down the road. Considering he's still three years away from free agency, he has plenty of time to show the Reds (and the baseball world) that he can recapture his 2008 form. If he can, more power to him. If he doesn't? Well, he could be looking back at this day wondering if he made a major mistake.
Volquez is only 19 months removed from Tommy John surgery, and has likely not fully recovered from the procedure. His command is very inconsistent, and he still walks far too many batters (5.03 per nine innings), both of which common occurrences during the first few months after returning from the procedure. While pitchers typically improve quality in both of these areas during their second season back, command and control has been an ongoing problem for Volquez. As a result, he'll need to show he can make big strides in these areas going forward. If he can't harness his control, it's unlikely he'll ever reach his potential of being either a true ace or quality number two starter.
Next season, Volquez will make $1.625M, and will have two more seasons of arbitration eligibility after that before becoming eligible for free agency. He went 4-3 with a 4.00 FIP and a 67/35 K/BB ratio in 62-2/3 innings in 2010.