CINCINNATI — Joey Votto got a big payday by staying in a small market, agreeing to a $251.5 million, 12-year deal with the Reds on Wednesday that is the longest guaranteed contract in major-league history.
The agreement adds $225 million over 10 years to his previous deal. It includes a club option for 2024, when the 2010 National League MVP turns 41.
After watching NL Central rivals Cardinals and Brewers lose their first basemen to bigger markets, the Reds secured Votto with a package that eclipsed Ken Griffey's $116.5 million, nine-year deal from 2000 as the largest in franchise history. In the majors, it trails only Alex Rodriguez's $275 million and $252 million deals, both over 10 years.
"Is it risky?" said owner Bob Castellini, who sought a lot of outside advice before signing off on the deal. "No doubt. That's the environment we live in, especially as a small market. We feel Joe will be a cornerstone."
It wasn't easy for Votto, 28, to make such a long-term commitment. He decided he had found contentment in Cincinnati.
"Maybe I could have found that elsewhere," Votto said. "Maybe not. But I like what I've got here."
In other Reds news, utility player Todd Frazier was optioned to Triple-A Louisville.
STEP FOR PETTITTE: Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte pitched a scoreless inning in his first game since ending a one-year retirement in an 8-3 win over the Mets. In other Yankees news, the team acquired catcher Chris Stewart from the Giants for minor-league right-hander George Kontos. Catcher Francisco Cervelli was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
SCARE FOR HUNTER: Angels outfielder Torii Hunter tweeted that Newport Beach (Calif.) police responded to a burglar alarm at his Newport Coast home and drew guns on him until he produced identification. Police spokeswoman Kathy Lowe confirmed that police responded to an alarm call and cleared it as "unfounded." In subsequent tweets, Hunter praised his security system and the police.
ACEVES TO CLOSE: Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said right-hander Alfredo Aceves will begin the season as the closer, replacing right-hander Andrew Bailey, out at least until July after right thumb surgery.
DODGERS: The team is inviting fans to watch tonight's season opener at San Diego for free at Dodger Stadium.
GIANTS: First baseman Brandon Belt made the opening day roster and could earn the starting nod, sending former Ray Aubrey Huff to left. … Rookie Hector Sanchez earned the backup catcher job.
INDIANS: Oft-injured centerfielder Grady Sizemore, who had back surgery last month, went on the 60-day disabled list. The team also purchased the contracts of former Rays right-handed reliever Dan Wheeler.
METS: Right-hander Jon Niese agreed to a five-year deal worth $25.5 million in guaranteed money.
NATIONALS: Left-hander John Lannan requested a trade a day after his demotion to Triple-A Syracuse.
ORIOLES: Left-hander Brian Matusz, who posted a record-high 10.69 ERA last season, earned the No. 4 starting job.
TWINS: Right-hander Scott Baker went on the disabled list with tendinitis in his pitching elbow, and right-hander Jason Marquis, who missed two weeks of spring training to tend to his injured daughter, was optioned to Double-A New Britain.