CINCINNATI -- As the Reds were busy signing four of their own players to multi-year contracts this winter, there was a fifth long-term deal that didn't get done. Starting pitcher Edinson Volquez signed a one-year contract worth $1.625 million with the Reds on Jan. 31 to avoid arbitration. According to Volquez, he could have had a much longer deal. "They were offering me a four-year contract, the same as Johnny Cueto, but I felt it wasn't right for me," Volquez told the Dominican publication El Caribe in a recent interview. "I talked to the lawyer and the general manager of the team and we all agreed on only one season."
Cueto signed a four-year, $27 million contract with Cincinnati last month. Volquez did not tell El Caribe the amount of money he was offered. Between Cueto, Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Bronson Arroyo, the Reds spent $151 million in new contracts. Volquez was 4-3 with a 4.31 ERA over 12 starts last season after his return from elbow surgery rehabilitation in mid-July. "The only way we could get the deal done was for one year," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told MLB.com just before the club agreed to terms with Volquez. At the time, Jocketty indicated talks about a longer contract remained possible. Volquez confirmed that notion. "Things are open if I want to sign at Spring Training or at midseason, if that's what I want to do," Volquez said. In 2008, Volquez became an All-Star and finished 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA. In '09, he was shut down by June after only nine starts and needed season-ending Tommy John surgery. Volquez remains under club control for two more seasons, and arbitration-eligible for two more winters, before he can elect free agency. Obviously, he is taking a risk by forgoing the guaranteed years and money, but could get a bigger reward if he fully returns to 2008 form. "Having a good year this season is my mission," Volquez said. "Depending on that performance, we'll look for at least a four-year contract with the team. I can't define the price I'll seek next year, but we'll go for that number of years."