Barry Larkin needs to scoot over and make room for Joey Votto.
The Cincinnati first baseman became the first Reds player voted into the All-Star Game for consecutive years since Hall of Fame shortstop Larkin was selected in 1999 and 2000.
Votto received 5,128,515 votes, outdistancing runner-up Paul Goldschmidt of Arizona by more than 850,000 votes to start at first base for the National League.
It will be Votto’s fourth All-Star appearance, this time at Citi Field on July 16 (7:30 p.m. ET on FOX).
The Reds obviously knew what they were doing when they made Votto the richest player in the franchise’s history on April 4, 2012. That’s when they gave Votto a 10-year, $225 million extension. It was a sign they believe he’s a Hall of Fame-caliber player.
The recent numbers back up the Reds’ beliefs in the talented slugger, who bats third in the Reds lineup.
Votto has led the National League in on-base percentage three years in a row and currently leads the NL this season at .431 (through July 7). It helps that he’s been walked 357 times since the start of 2010.
The Canadian-born first baseman, who won the NL MVP in 2010 (.324, 37 homers and 113 RBI), hasn’t batted below .297 in his six-plus years in the majors. He owns a .317 career batting average with 148 homers and 497 RBI, and he features a .431 on-base percentage and a .512 slugging percentage …
… and he doesn’t turn 30 until Sept. 10.
At that age and with those numbers, the Reds hope Votto is worth the investment.
"We recognize the historical significance of this signing," Reds president and general manager Walt Jocketty said the day Cincinnati announced Votto’s windfall in 2012. "Ownership has committed to Joey, and we anticipate that he will continue to be one of the best players in baseball for the next decade or so."
Votto is making $17 million this season under his previous contract. The extended 10-year deal pays $12 million next season, $14 million in 2015, $20 million in 2016, $22 million in 2017 and $25 million in each of the following six seasons. There is a club option of $20 million with a $7 million buyout in 2024.
Among active major leaguers, Votto ranks first in on-base percentage, sixth in batting average and seventh in slugging percentage. Along with being a four-time All-Star, he’s a one-time Gold Glove winner (2011).
On the Reds’ all-time leaderboard, he’s first in on-base, second in slugging, fourth in batting average and tied with Ted Kluszewski for 10th in at-bats per homer (19.8).
By the time Votto’s contract ends, it will be interesting to see where his statistics rank with the best of all time … and if they’ll be good enough for a Hall of Fame induction.