Blog Entry

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

Posted on: January 15, 2012 12:28 pm

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The gut reaction to today's Would You Rather Have is the easiest so far and probably the easiest of the entire series. But the gut reaction isn't always the easiest.

Today we look at two first basemen, Eric Hosmer of the Royals and Joey Votto of the Reds. While the easy answer is Votto -- the 2010 National League MVP -- the long view makes the question more difficult. The difference in players today isn't just what they can do on the field at the moment, it also includes the future and how long you can keep a player. So today's question isn't just Hosmer or Votto, it's better put as Would You Rather Have Hosmer for six years or Votto for two?

The case for Hosmer

Hosmer's case comes down to promise (and price). A rookie in 2011, Hosmer hit .293/.334/.465 with 19 homers and 78 RBI in 128 games -- a year before the Royals expected him to land in Kansas City. Hosmer, the third overall pick in the 2008 draft, hadn't played above Double-A before 2011. The Royals started him in Triple-A in 2011 despite a strong spring. He responded by dominating the Pacific Coast League in his first (and only month) at the highest level in the minors, hitting .439 and getting on base in more than half his plate appearances. The Royals promoted him to the big leagues in early May. Not only did he show he belonged, he got better as the season went on, finishing strong by hitting .349 with five homers in the last month of the season.

The case for Votto

This isn't tough -- the former MVP finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2008 when he put up a 125 OPS+ and hit 24 homers. That's been his worst season as a pro. In the last three years he's hit .318/.418/.565 with a 161 OPS+. Think his numbers are inflated by playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park? Think again -- in his career he's hit better away from GABP, hitting .296/.391/.534 in Cincinnati and .329/.418/.566 away from it. Coming up through the Reds' minor leagues, everyone knew Votto could hit, but the knock against him was his glove. Since then, he's turned into a Gold Glove first baseman.

Votto, though, may only be in Cincinnati two more years. Last winter he signed a three-year, $38 million deal covering his arbitration years, but none of his free agent years. Votto will be the premier free agent of the 2013 season at the age of 30 and he won't come cheap. In all likelihood, Votto's pricetag will be more than the Reds can afford and the team's first MVP since Hall of Famer Barry Larkin will be playing in a different uniform. While Votto will be making $9.5 million in 2012 and $17 million in 2013, Hosmer will be making near the league minimum -- and he'll be wearing Royal blue for the foreseeable future.

Our call

In the end, it probably comes down to your team. If you're the Reds and looking to win immediately, you'll take Votto. If you're building for the future and watching your pennies, like the Royals, it's Hosmer. In a vacuum, I'll take Votto for two MVP-caliber seasons over the potential for more in Hosmer. Hosmer's in the Show Me State, and Votto's already shown me he's one of the premier players in the game. But saying all this, I can see a scenario in 2015 that I'm looking back in regret over this choice.

Fan Vote: Would you rather have Hosmer for six years on your favorite team or Votto for two?

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.

Since: Nov 1, 2009
Posted on: January 22, 2012 3:34 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

As a Royals fan I'm glad to be where we are with Hosmer.  Now if Glass would take some of that Votto money that Hosmer isn't getting and sign a legit starter or two I'd be happier.  On an equal team for 2 years, Votto in a heartbeat, but that isn't the question.

Since: Sep 9, 2011
Posted on: January 17, 2012 7:32 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

As a longtime Royals fan I'm just glad we are having this discussion.  If we are talking equal time I'd take Votta for track record.  But 6 years of Hosmer or 2 years of Votto.  I'd take Hosmer.

Since: Sep 9, 2009
Posted on: January 17, 2012 3:24 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

Kind of ironic...I had to spell it out for you. I wonder if you have been hit in the head by a baseball a few times.

Since: Sep 9, 2009
Posted on: January 17, 2012 3:18 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

I guess the columnist didn't dumb it down enough for you to make it obvious he understands they are at different points in their career.  Next time rather than just post a the column first so you don't look stupid.  He clearly states that Votto has already proven himself, while Hosmer is cheaper and has great promise....thus the question of what would you rather have, a guy about to break out for 6 years...or a guy at his peak for 2.

hahahah..I'm the dumb one because I said I would clearly have an MVP right now? You should reread my post tard. Damn people that think they know baseball. At this point its ridiculous to take Hosmer over Votto. Yes in four years Hosmer might be better but any baseball fan worth his salt knows that you take the proven MVP over the potential stud. Its how teams like the Yankees continue to win. I know, I know you are an idiot and cant comprehend success vs potential to be successful. Lol, some baseball fans...  

Since: Dec 10, 2009
Posted on: January 17, 2012 3:19 am

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

hosmers a great up and coming player but to ask him or votto is upsud votto is a top 3 first baseman in baseball and may be getting even better hosmer may end up being great but votto is already there ill take that everytime over so called "potential"

Since: Aug 2, 2011
Posted on: January 17, 2012 12:02 am

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

Votto but would keep tabs on Hosmer's progress over the next two years

Since: Nov 22, 2011
Posted on: January 16, 2012 11:40 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

I think in taking who would you rather have, you have to go with the more proven guy. Votto is a beast and Hosmer has a lot of power, but Votto has proven he can do it more than one year.

Since: May 15, 2007
Posted on: January 16, 2012 5:25 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

Hosmer has all the upside in the world,


 I would love to have a dollar for kids that have come to the big leagues with "all the upside in the world". I am not saying he won't pan out, but you never know. Give me the guy who has done it for 4 years and won an MVP already.

Since: Jun 16, 2011
Posted on: January 16, 2012 4:15 pm

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

I'd rather have Votto for the rest of his career.

Since: Feb 18, 2008
Posted on: January 16, 2012 11:54 am

Would You Rather Have: Hosmer or Votto?

Give yourself the best chance to win for the next 2 years ... so, take Votto.  Then, assuming you did choose wisely, take the money you earned (tickets, concessions, parking, apparel, etc.) and use it to pay him for another 4 years.  Then, for those 4 years, you've got someone who HAS won an MVP, rather than someone who COULD win an MVP.

Bottom line, yes, you do have to keep an eye on doing well later, but even a team like the Reds (budgest-wise) has to pull the trigger on trying to win now ... when a true opportunity presents itself (remember, the Reds have only made the playoffs once in the last 16 seasons).

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or