Volquez takes chance with 1-year deal

Published 3:48 am Friday, February 18, 2011

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — Right-hander Edinson Volquez gave a lot of thought to the Cincinnati Reds’ offer of a four-year deal. He talked to his family, he weighed the big numbers.

Then, he decided he can do better.

Volquez avoided arbitration by accepting a one-year, $1,625,000 deal. The Reds had offered a four-year contract, trying to lock up another young player with a longer deal.

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Volquez said the offer was for less than the four-year, $27 million that right-hander Johnny Cueto received. He figured that by waiting and having a full season back from elbow surgery, he can get a better offer.

“If I have to, I can show them I can do more than what I did last year,” Volquez said Thursday, after arriving at the Reds’ camp.

The 27-year-old pitcher missed the first half of last season while recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery. He returned after the All-Star break but struggled to get his pitches under control. He finally was back in form in September, going 1-1 with a 1.95 ERA in four starts.

He started the Reds’ opening playoff game against Philadelphia, taking the loss as Roy Halladay threw a no-hitter for a 4-0 win.

On the advice of trainers, Volquez rested the elbow for a month after the season. Then, he watched the Reds spend more than $150 million to sign Cueto, right-hander Bronson Arroyo, right fielder Jay Bruce and first baseman Joey Votto to multiyear deals.

Volquez was the last arbitration-eligible Red to reach an agreement, opting for the shorter deal.

“I talked to my family about it,” he said. “I talked to my mom. She said, ’Do what you want to do, it’s your career. If you feel good with that, go forward.’

“If I pitch good this year, I think I can get more than that for four years.”

The Reds got Volquez from Texas in the trade for Josh Hamilton after the 2007 season. He was Cincinnati’s lone All-Star in 2008, going 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA. He tore a ligament and other tissue in his right elbow the next season. Volquez returned and made a dozen starts last season, going 4-3 with a 4.31 ERA.