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04/03/12 9:00 PM ET
Reds players weigh in on Votto's expected deal
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- While Joey Votto was operating at a low profile, and no Reds officials were commenting on his reported new 10-year, $225 million contract, teammates were definitely talking on Tuesday. After all, it's hard for there not to be clubhouse buzz when a teammate just scored a $225 million deal. The Reds were at Great American Ball Park to play an exhibition game vs. the organization's Minor League "Futures" squad. "I'm happy for him," Reds right fielder Jay Bruce said. "I think he's going to be really happy here. It's pretty monumental for the franchise. I know he plans on giving his very best, working as hard as he can work and will continue to work to be the player that earned this contract." Votto was not visible in the clubhouse while the media had access. However, he did take batting practice and participate in the game. During a promotional news conference at a local grocery store earlier in the day to introduce a new cereal, "Vott-O's," he was also not fielding any questions about the contract extension. When word of the deal first surfaced on Monday, it was a stunner for baseball. Votto, 28, still has two years and $26 million remaining on the three-year, $38 million contract he signed in January 2011. At the time, he could not envision a longer commitment and seemed poised hit the free-agent market after the 2013 season. The fact that the Reds are small-market club made it hard to expect signing Votto, now or in two years. He is only the fourth player in Major League history to land a contract that surpassed $200 million after Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. Pujols, the former Cardinals great, signed a $240 million contract for 10 years with the Angels in December. Fielder inked a nine-year, $214 million deal to leave the Brewers for the Tigers in January. "To be honest, I'm surprised," Reds center fielder Drew Stubbs said. "You only expect a few franchises to be in the mix for a contract like that -- New York, L.A., Chicago and so forth. For Cincinnati to step up and be in the neighborhood of that just shows we're making a point to keep up with those organizations to compete and try to be a force in this league." FOXsports.com reported later on Tuesday that Votto would receive a full no-trade clause for the life of the deal, and it has been added to the remaining two years of his current contract. The 2010 National League Most Valuable Player, Votto is a .313 hitter with 119 home runs and 401 RBIs over 617 career games. Last season, he batted .309 with 29 homers and 103 RBIs while nabbing his first NL Gold Glove Award. "I think it was a little bit of a surprise for two reasons," Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo said of the contract news. "First, Joey was so quiet and we didn't hear anything about it until a few hours before it happened. And Joey has a deal he's definitely worthy of, but other players have had to wait to get a deal like that, especially in a market you wouldn't consider a large market. Kudos to him. He works his butt off to prepare for this game. They obviously think that he will be the same guy for a long time."