For the first time in over two years, there are questions about Joey Votto’s future with the Cincinnati Reds organization.
The Reds have a $20 million team option for 2024 with a $7 million buyout. Votto turned 40 years old in September, making his buyout all but inevitable. Spencer Steer and Christian Encarnacion-Strand have taken over at first and DH respectively. This would appear to be the perfect moment for Votto to head off into retirement.
Joey Votto still hoping to get one more year with Cincinnati Reds
But that is not the case. Votto said on the Dan Patrick Show that he wants to play for at least one more year. While he indicated that he wanted that final season to come with the Reds, he would be open to playing for another team if need be.
It should not come to that. Votto is a Reds’ legend. He will always be remembered with the white C on his red cap. He is one of those players who should spend their entire career with one team, a throwback in a time of mercenary players and teams unwilling to spend to keep their talent. It would look as strange as Harmon Killebrew with the Royals, Eddie Mathews with the Astros and Tigers, or Hank Greenberg with the Pirates.
Chances are, some team would give Votto a chance. He still has some pop despite his age and recent injury history, his 4.1% home run rate over the past two seasons right at his career average. His veteran presence as a mentor would help a young team. But none of that means that Votto should leave the Reds. Even if he has something left in the tank, it just would not feel right.
Joey Votto wants to play one more year whether or not he returns to the Cincinnati Reds. Hopefully, it will not come down to a departure.