If Joey Votto never takes another at-bat, he has an incredible legacy to be proud of. Over the course of 17 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, Votto slashed .294/.409/.511 with 356 home runs, 2,135 hits and a .920 OPS. He made six All-Star Game appearances, won the 2010 NL MVP and finished in the top three twice more.
Even for a franchise with an illustrious history, he’s one of the greatest players they’ve ever employed.
Now, for the first time in his career, Votto is a free agent after the Reds declined his $20 million club option for 2024. He will still collect a $7 million buyout from the Reds in 2024 and has made over $240 million in his career, so he’s set financially. He’s also likely done enough to earn induction to Cooperstown one day, and it would be pretty cool for him to enter the Hall of Fame having spent the entirety of his career with one franchise.
However, the 40-year-old told Dan Patrick of the Dan Patrick Show in October that he hopes to play “at least one more year.”
To do that, Votto will likely have to accept a lessened role and perhaps even be willing to take a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. But despite hitting just .202 in 65 games this past season, the first baseman/DH still homered 14 times and posted a .747 OPS in 242 plate appearances, so he should garner some interest.
Here are three possible suitors for Votto’s services.
Toronto Blue Jays
Perhaps not every Canadian was upset to see Shohei Ohtani choose to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Reds 1B Joey Votto will pick up his 6th Tip O’Neill Award tonight. Take a deeper look at one of Canada’s best baseball players ever. pic.twitter.com/zrkr8G1zfL
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 29, 2017
Votto — a native of The 6 — obviously wouldn’t have been a fit at DH if the Blue Jays had signed Ohtani. But in a lineup that’s particularly right-handed, Votto would be a left-handed option, competing for at-bats with Danny Jansen at DH, and occasionally spelling Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at first base.
Votto spending the entirety of his career with the Reds would have been a great story, but so would his going back home to Canada to cap off a remarkable run.
Since winning the World Series in 2019, the Nationals have seen an incredible drain of star power, with Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto, Max Scherzer and Trea Turner among those to have departed in various manners.
Joey Votto bangs. pic.twitter.com/5kfs57jKVK
— Just Baseball (@JustBB_Media) July 5, 2023
Votto may not be someone fans buy tickets to see at this stage of his career, but he is an accomplished player with a quirky personality that could be a good fit for a young team. Joey Meneses will be the primary first baseman for the Nationals, but Votto could get at-bats at DH.
Assuming they don’t trade Corbin Burnes , the Brewers should have a strong pitching staff again next season, with Freddy Peralta the No. 2 to the former NL Cy Young Award winner and Devin Williams at the back end of the bullpen.
However, Jake Bauers is currently penciled in as the starting first baseman, with Tyrone Taylor at DH. Neither are particularly inspiring options.
Joey Votto cuts the lead in half with a two-run shot! pic.twitter.com/qCDKq2BAqd
— Just Baseball (@JustBB_Media) July 8, 2023
Votto has 24 home runs and a .978 OPS in his career at American Family Field, and he would be an interesting addition to Milwaukee’s lineup – although he might have to be willing to compete for a roster spot in Spring Training.