Trade Votto? Oh, no.

Call it a hot stove rumor gone wild, or maybe some fun speculation run rampant. But please, call it irresponsible journalism.

We're looking at you Ed Price and Jeff Fletcher of Fanhouse, who, in their otherwise informative and timely piece on how money woes will force the Reds to cut payroll, suggested Cincinnati has "a decision to make at first base, where Joey Votto hit .322 but prospect Yonder Alonso (.838 OPS in the minors last season) seems close to being ready."

I'm sorry. My eyes momentarily incinerated after reading every other erroneous statement scrawled onto the web during the GM meetings. But did you suggest Alonso replace Votto? Hey, while we're at it, why don't we shelve HD for black-and-white TVs ?

Here's how absurd this is: Alonso could mature into a 10-year All-Star and never become a hitter of Votto's caliber.

In 2009, at 25, Votto battled depression, yet still found the strength (and obvious skill) to post the following: .322/.414/.567. That's good for a meaty .981 OPS, the third-best in the National League behind some overrated clowns named Pujols and Fielder. And lest you believe Votto compiled numbers in a hitters' park, he ranked fourth in the NL in OPS+, slipping behind only Adrian Gonzalez. Guys like Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Braun, Ryan Howard, David Wright and Manny Ramirez wished they were Votto the Magnificent in '09.

A guess here, but could the boys at Fanhouse have floated Votto's name to inject some sauce into an otherwise worthwhile Reds' piece? Only two other reasons are remotely possible: 1) Price and Fletcher know not what they do (cover baseball); or 2) GM Walt Jocketty survived the ice age.

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