Joey Votto is in the final guaranteed year of his contract. The now 40-year-old has a $7,000,000 buyout for 2024 or the club can pay hims $20,000,000 to return and play. It seems quite obvious at this point that the team is not going to pick up that option. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Votto won’t return in 2024 – the two sides could come up with a new deal for next season.

What seems strange, though, is that we are entering the final homestand of the 2023 season and the team nor Votto has indicated anything about next year. After spending his entire career with the same team, winning an MVP, and being one of the best hitters in baseball for over a decade, the fans don’t have any clue if the next five games are going to be their last chance to see him play in person.

C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic asked Joey Votto about that prior to Monday’s series opener against the Minnesota Twins.

“I don’t think about that,” Votto said about if he’s thought about this being his final homestand.

“I’ve had moments where it’s crossed my mind. The nice thing about playing competitive ball is like you’re thinking about today’s game, performing well, and yeah. You’re so caught up in the game, the competition that day.”

“It feels like this past year plus for me, personally, has gone by really quickly. It’s been a whirlwind. Since leaving surgery I’ve either been rehabbing or attempting to get back in games or being in games, and trying to find a competitive style while also doing the rehab, trying to get back to a strong place physically. It’s just gone by so quickly. ”

“As far as this being my last homestand. If that’s the case, I can’t – I don’t want to say I can’t do anything about that, but I’m just having a really good time playing in really meaningful baseball with some FUN teammates. However it shakes out, I’m good. I’m good. I just want to help out. I just want to play. All I’ve ever wanted to do is play. It’s the most important thing to me. ”

Fox 19’s Joe Danneman shared the entire interaction on twitter. You can watch the video below.

So where does that leave the fans? Well, the same place they were – without much of an idea of where Joey Votto stands or where the Reds stand when it comes to having any sort of formal recognition of Votto’s time in Cincinnati or if there will be another opportunity to give him such recognition.

It will be disappointing if there’s no such “Joey Votto day” kind of thing at Great American Ball Park. But maybe that’s by design. Joey Votto may not know what he wants to do for 2024. The Reds may not know entirely, either. That leaves everyone in a tough situation.

173 Responses

  1. Rednat

    i just now realized this could be Joey’s last home stand. definitely will try to get down to see him as much as possible. he looks pretty good at the plate right now. i certainly hope he comes back next year.
    i could actually see Joey maybe playing one more year for the big club then maybe play a few more years at AAA as like a player/mentor type position. maybe they could spread the 20mil over 4 years or something.

    • MK

      If you could get $7 million for doing nothing, would you take $5 million for playing?

      Should they waste a 40-man or a 26-man spot on a .210 hitter that can’t run, plays one position below average? And do you think he will get better as he enters his mid 40’s as 4 more years will make him 44. Please tell me which hitter has accomplished this positively? Like all great players , his time has come and gone.

      • RedBB

        Yes….he can still get on base and has power. His OPS is .815 since returning. He’s also a veteran voice that can guide and make these younger players better. I wouldn’t pay him more than a couple million though. I’m guessing he would accept that. I would…

      • RedBB

        Also with any major surgery it usually isn’t close to 100% until the second year after surgery. That would be next year. He’s an above MLB hitter still (OPS+ of 103). Only 5 starters on this team have a higher OPS+. He’s also slugging .458. Only 3 Reds are higher.

        Plus he will put fans in the seats just by being on the team. Not something to ignore. If he puts even just 1K more fans in the seats and they each spend say $30. That’s $2.5M in extra revenue.

    • SteveAreno

      Awesome legacy. He’s probably not satisfied with his .208 batting average and wants a better ending like most at the end of a baseball career

  2. Beaufort Red

    Even if they restructure his contract, no thanks. The money aside, Votto has no place on next years team. CES needs to play full time. With all the young studs even Steer may see more time at 1st or Stephenson occasionally. If fans feel bad that Votto won’t get a proper sendoff, it’s because he can’t commit to his status next year. Sure give him a Joey Votto Day, but the Reds have bigger fish to fry this last 2 weeks. The less distractions the better.

    • 2024WSChamps

      All three of those guys you mentioned are right handed. Votto offers a platoon option and hits for more power than any of them (even still). Stephenson is a catcher only at this point, people in here need to accept that. The fact that anyone thinks Stephenson would ever be a better DH/1B option than Votto is flat out wrong. CES can play 1B most days, Steer should primarily be 2B or LF next year imo

      • J

        Bro if you don’t think the future infield is Marte (3b) , Elly De La Cruz (ss) , Matt McLain not Steer (2B) , CES (1B) idk what to tell ya lol nah jk but I think Steer is gna be primarily the LF but also see starts when off days take place at RF , 2B , 3B , 1B cause let’s face it Steer belongs in the lineup everyday !! Atleast to me that should be the plan !! And YES you can also still have Votto on the team and not take anything away from CES as Votto can DH , right/left pinch hit atbats , etc with the occasional start at 1B !! He’s got power still and will always get on base at a decent clip !! If they can work something out and not pay him that full $20 million then it could very well be worth it with still such a very young group!!

      • J

        Bro, pick a new name. That name is taken.

      • greenmtred

        I was wondering. The exclamation marks seemed out of character.

    • Votto4life

      “The Reds have bigger fish to fry this last two weeks”

      Wow. Yeah, like trying to back into the third WC spot only to be eliminated by the Brewers in two games. Yes, that is much more important than honoring one of the greatest and best loved players in the team’s history”.

      So funny, how people on here are people always whining how they don’t want to just sneak into the play-offs, but want a team that can go deep into the playoffs, yet when they get a sniff of a Wild Card spot (with 5 other teams I might add) it’s like it’s the greatest accomplishments imaginable.

      A Third wild card spot means you’re simply the best of the worst. It’s the NHL without the skates.

  3. MK

    Can’t believe they would pass up a sellout goodbye Joey game.

    Maybe the ownership wants to avoid negative fan reaction during the pennant race.

  4. RedsGettingBetter

    I would bet for another Votto season staying “healthy”, Reds being a strong contender even to win the WS, so Votto and the team can plan a very special retirement day in GABP

  5. Optimist

    He’s in the Nelson Cruz/Carlos Santana phase – they are somewhere between $6-$12m/yr. on 1 year deals. Everyone realizes Joey is not worth the 20m option, but he’s also more valuable than the Myers/Renfro/Baders on the market this off season.

    The bigger issue may be the roster spot – seems like Stu is the 13th position player at present, but there could be some very interesting MiLB pressure going into spring training, and that will likely be upgraded. They’ve been very good at cutting loose underperforming signings, but doubtful they’d anticipate that outcome for Joey in mid-season 2024.

    • Jon

      On the other hand, they kept Casali around for over half the season this year before he disappeared to the IL never to be seen again.

      • Optimist

        Jon – Casali is at $2.5m with a nominal (even for the Reds) buyout. That’s Bader/Renfroe territory. Joey is worth more than that as a DH.

        Jim – All true, regardless of the accounting, the buyout is already paid and done with. I still wonder if it comes down to the roster spot. I doubt anyone would offer more than $6-7m for Joey as a FA, but would the Reds even offer $4-5m knowing there could be a mid-season DFA/release AND wanting to add a FA OFer in the off season?

        It’s a bit odd, but if next season was a “transition” year, it would be a very easy mutual decision – however, given this season as the unexpected transition year, next season is one of justifiably high expectation and preparation.

    • Jim Walker

      I’d guess any extension ahead of the off season option call date would start with the option buyout ($7M) as the floor and build from there.

      From a bean counters point of view, I believe the buyout would go onto the 2023 books while any extension ahead of or instead of the buyout would go 100% onto the 2024 books. Perhaps then it comes down to a matter of trust even if the team and JV agree, with the option being bought out and Votto technically becoming a free agent ahead of signing a pre agreed 2024 contract.

      • Rod Andrews

        I think that pre agreed deal is possible. No one is going to offer him $10, I don’t think, in free agency, so something like this could possibly happen

    • RedBB

      No way a team pays him that next year. Not with that shoulder… He’s more like $2-4M

      • Jim Walker

        They are paying him the $7M come heck or high water, whether it is a simple option buyout or wrapped into a 2024 deal. Even if the CBA and MLBPA would allow it, Votto is not going to (and should not) forfeit a cent of that buyout amount. Even with it, by WAR value standards, he has outperformed the salary of his entire contract from inception to end.

      • RedBB

        That $7M is gone as he’s owed that no matter what they do. It’s spent money that makes no difference in the equation. I’m talking about on top of that $7M.

    • mac624

      I was thinking the buyout plus 2 million would be 9 million for a 1-year deal. Platoon guy with leadership? Seems tempting because I think the Reds will look for that kind of a deal for someone for next year’s club if Votto doesn’t return. The age is scary, but Votto offers a lot for a platoon guy that goes beyond batting average. Roster crunch aside, we saw what the current team looked like when the leaders (Votto, India, and Fraley) were not around to play. Reds will still be extremely young next season, so a solid veteran is going to be needed somewhere. Whether that’s Votto or someone else, we shall see.

      • Daytonnati

        Didn’t they give Will Myers $7.1 mil?

  6. Pharmer85

    This should be the last few games for Votto with the Reds. He’s had a nice career, probably a Hall of Famer. At his current level of production though it makes no sense to bring him back. He’d just be holding back younger more productive players since, no doubt, Bell would run him out there way more than he should.

    • RedBB

      I disagree. He will easily make the team $2.5M-$5M just in ticket, concession and merchandise sales. If he stops hitting…..simple just put him on the 60 day IL for shoulder soreness. He won’t hold back anyone if he’s not hitting.

      His current level of production is still above MLB average. OPS+103 and 109 since his return. That’s better than the Reds team overall which is at 97.

  7. MBS

    If Fraley sticks as the DH, and you have CES at 1B, where does JV play? I doubt he wants to play as a backup to those 2, and the money it’d cost to have him in that role seems like it could be better used on pitching.

    I think this is his last year as a Red.

    • wkuchad

      Fraley will be an outfielder next year, not DH

  8. Melvin

    Votto will be back for 2024 with the buyout and the new contract. Big Bob will see to it. Like it or not. For the record I’m okay with it. I think we all underestimate how tough it is to come back from those surgeries and how well he’s done considering. Next year he will be stronger and better than this year. Sorry to disagree with so many. 🙂

    • Jason

      I agree with this.
      I think he’s been a positive influence on the young guys which can’t be overlooked.
      I don’t believe he’ll be playing all the time anyway. So I don’t think he’ll stunt the growth or playing time of others.

    • David

      “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best thing”

      I hope Joey CAN come back and play some meaningful baseball in 2024, but only time will tell. I have not been the hugest Joey Votto fan, but Joey is a great guy, and has had some really great years, playing many years for frankly lousy team. I HOPE that next year’s team will be pretty good.
      It’s not too late to announce a Joey Votto day for Sunday, Sept 24th. It would pack the stadium, for the last home game of the year. The fact that the Reds have NOT announced such a thing tells us something, that he may be back next year.
      Joey could DH some, and play some first base.
      CES gets the lion-share of playing time at 1st base or DH
      Stephenson, if he is back, will not be DH-ing as much next year (a guess).
      I am not the biggest Fraley fan, and he might get traded this off-season (not worth that much on the market). He gets hurt too often, etc., and is frankly a kind of lousy outfielder.
      Also, Senzel will be non-tendered this off season, so he will be off the 40 man.
      Kevin Newman should NOT be back, but you never know.
      I would think Barrero gets a 40 man slot and a 26 man roster spot (unless he gets traded too). He is out of options.

      The 40 man and 26 man roster will look a lot different in 2024 (at least to start the season) than it did in 2023. I actually think that, barring some injuries, etc., the starting rotation will be set with 5 good young starters, again, barring a big trade or free agent signing. Which ones is still up in the air, though.

      • Chris

        Senzel will NOT be designated. That would be stupid. He mashes lefties and this team has had problems with lefties for years now.

      • doctorrockett

        Agree. I like Senzel and to be honest I don’t think he’s done. He’s a heck of a lot more valuable than Barrero. Potential comeback player of the year next season for Senzel.

      • Rod Andrews

        I have to disagree on Fraley. The guy can flat hit, and if he, like several others, stay healthy, he’ll be a very good hitter. His defense is not that bad, but I think DH will be a major part. Didn’t write him off yet. Give him a full healthy season, and I think you’ll be surprised.

  9. Klugo

    It’s how Votto wants it. I dont think he’d want a big hoopla, even if he could have one. He’s a class act and it’s about the team, THIS team right now fighting for the playoffs. He’s not worth $20M, but I’d love to have him back in a smaller role and for less money. I dont see it happening and I dont think Votto would harbor any hard feelings. He’ll go into the HOF a Red.

    • Jim Walker

      The $7M is a sunken cost whether paid as a buyout or the floor in a 2024 deal. My best guess is it will come down A)Does Votto want to play B)The type of role the Reds promise him and C)Then if they can agree on how much money in addition to the $7M.

      If both are serious about getting it done, the Pujols farewell deal $2.5M (plus the $7M) should be a good bell weather for them. Maybe go to $10M total.

  10. Stock

    I think he comes back next year and the Reds make some off-season trades to reduce the regulars on offense. Currently for next year:

    IF/DH: CES, Steer, India, McLain, EDLC and Marte
    OF: Fraley, Friedl, Benson
    C: Stephenson
    Bench: Senzel, Newman, Votto, 2nd Catcher

    Others: Fairchild, Barrero, Hurtubise, Hopkins, Dunn

    The Reds have at least one more spot than positions. I would trade India and possibly Fraley.

    • Ozzie

      If JV agrees to be a role player for less than 20M I think he will be back. He seems excited about this young core and does want to be part of a WS push.

      I don’t think they trade any of the IF because any number of those guys could be transitioned to the OF. Elly or McClain can play CF. Steer, CES or India can play LF. Depth is important and we don’t know which positions these guys are going to settle into yet. I also think there is something to India’s leadership.

    • Beaufort Red

      You would trade India, the heart and soul of this team , for a non productive FORMER outstanding player is crazy. Sure the Reds may have better 2nd basemen but they definitely have better 1b basemen and DHs. I’m glad you’re not making the calls. This is the kind of stuff that former Reds management would do. Successful teams put the best 26 players on the roster and move on from the past. Votto will never say “I think it’s time to call it a career”. He always says” I feel like I’m almost there. Im happy with where I am”. It’s a business.

      • Stock

        Interesting how you think good teams move on from a player such as Votto. I agree with putting your best 26 players on the team. But teams should put their 9 best players in the lineup. India does not qualify as one of the best 9 players for the Reds.

        Why should the Reds trade India:

        1. He will not sign with the Reds long term (see Scott Boros).
        2. Defensively he is a weak link in the Reds infield.
        3. Offensively he is not as good as CES, Steer, McLain, EDLC, Marte, Fraley, Friedl or Benson.
        4. Every game he plays in front of one of the players in item 3 he weakens the team both offensively and defensively.
        5. If he were the team leader everyone claims he is the Reds would not have been 27-33 prior to the arrival of EDLC. Reality EDLC is the leader of this team.
        6. A team leader and team player does not bash management because of an incorrect diagnosis of an injury. He sucks it up and thinks about how he can help the team.

        Small market teams have to adapt and move on in various ways. If they have an excess players at a position or group of positions one should be traded.

        If a player reaches year 3 or 4 in the majors you chould consider trading them. Tampa Bay does this all the time. They have traded Archer, Snell, Delmon Young, Matt Garza and Evan Longoria just to name a few.

        India qualifies in each of these scenarios.

      • greenmtred

        You’re seeing a vastly different EDLC than I am. It has been a long time since his first few weeks.

    • mac624

      I personally don’t see them trading India or Fraley. I think they roll into next season with pretty much everyone listed there except Senzel and Newman. Fairchild will take one spot on the bench and maybe Barrero or whomever as the super sub and a 2nd catcher. Add another arm to the bullpen that can close and spell Diaz and one starter/long man and that’s going to be how it looks come April 2024. The thing that held this club back the most was youth and injuries. Can’t do much about the latter, they happen, and youth grows up as the years go by. I don’t see trading your leaders (India and Fraley) at this point unless they hood wink someone for an All Star.

    • MBS

      Obviously none of us know what they’ll do, but this is how I see it.

      INF: McLain, EDLC, India, CES, Marte

      OF: Benson, Steer, Friedl

      DH/C: Fraley, Stephenson, (Maile / FA C)

      That’s 11 no doubters, so only 2 spots to fill. 1 should be a 4th OF, and the last spot could be a myriad of people.

    • Rod Andrews

      Fraley and India are worth much more than Barrero and Dunn. Barrero is an infielder who has never proven himself beyond 3A, and Dunn will never make the team, or will be a fill in back and forth from Louisville. Fraley and India are both starters, or of that quality.

    • greenmtred

      I’m going to raise, with great reluctance, the possibility that EDLC is not a starting infielder (or outfielder) next year. That would change the allotment of infield positions and playing time substantially. We’ve all been watching this: he’s gone from being unable to hit or lay off breaking stuff low and outside to being largely unable to hit anything. When was his last home run? I certainly hope that he’s able to right the ship over the off season (and improve his defensive fundamentals), but I have to think that his confidence is shattered.

  11. RedBB

    I think it depends on Votto. He is already owed $7M buyout next year which the Reds will definitely do. If he agrees to say a $1M contract the Reds may bite as he has been productive since returning (.815 OPS) and there is still power in that bat. The Reds also need a veteran leader on this team and Votto fits that to a T.

    • Optimist

      The buyout is a buyout – it’s not for next season, it’s to close the books on this season. It makes Joey a FA for next season. There are 2 questions – 1 – is there a spot for him on the roster next season; 2 – if so, how much will they offer? I think #1 is the bigger issue.

      • Capnhook33

        I believe the buyout counts against the cap next year though so if you paid a buyout plus 4 mil his cap hit would be 11.

      • Doug Gray

        There is no cap in baseball. But even if we are talking about the luxury tax…. the Reds aren’t going to spend 200M, so it still doesn’t matter.

      • Melvin

        $200 million? Yeah I was thinking the same thing. If Big Bob spent that I think we all would just drop dread from shock. 🙂

      • Capnhook33

        Yeah I didn’t mean like a hard cap, I guess I call the luxury tax threshold a soft cap. But ownership will still count that dollar amount for next year when saying hey fans look we spent 100 mil, when in reality it is 93 or whatever.

    • J

      TRY STARTING PITCHING 5.50 PLUS ERA HELD THEM BACK AT TIMES !! IT’S ODD BECAUSE AT TIMES SOMEONE WILL STEP UP LIKE CONNOR PHILLIPS JUST DID BUT AS A WHOLE OUR STARTING PITCHING JUST HAVING A 4 50 ERA WOULD MOST LIKELY HAVE US IN THE TOP 2 SPOTS INSTEAD OF FIGHTING FOR THE LAST 2 WC spots

  12. Ozzie

    If send off is the issue, they can sign him for one series next year and send him off the first week of the season. He absolutely deserves a send off, a thank you, for his career as a Red. But if both sides are unsure of what they want going forward the send of issue is easy. It can happen next year early in the year. I think they (both sides) are wise not making this an issue as the team is focused on pushing for the playoffs. The Reds appear, by not publicly committing to next year, to not be picking up his option. If that’s the case ii still seems smart to not make it an issue. If they were10 games out of the playoffs then maybe they make a different decision and use the last home stand to celebrate his career.

    • Rod Andrews

      They could have a day for him next season whether he’s with the team or not.

  13. old-school

    Votto made the comment “its out of my hands”. Wittenmyer had a similar article and the tone was basically piling on the Reds that Votto is worth $20 million. Krall was basically we will have to see where we are in the off-season.

    Votto wants to play but he wants to play every day including against lefties and make $20 million to do so. I dont see him taking reduced money in a reduced role and that’s the only way I would bring him back. Hes shown many times this year for short periods of time he hits well with power but then the shoulder and grind of playing every day catches up on a 40 yo body. If he agreed to say a total of $10-11 million( $7 million payout plus $3-4 million in new money) to be a back up 1b/dh and spot hitter in the order as the 26th guy…then ok. I just don’t see that happening and as many have commented, they need that roster spot and budget to fill holes to compete for an NL championship.

    • J

      @CFD3000 Well Said !!! I was born in the 70’s sooo ALL the exact same players are a part of a lifetime of Fandom!!!

      • greenmtred

        J: is this guy your doppelganger? Or is it possible that you’re bored and attempting to confuse us?

      • Harry Stoner

        The opportunities for J to argue with himself would be truly expansive.

      • greenmtred

        The same thought occurred to me. And he gets to chastise the alter ego in a dignified way.

    • Tar Heel Red

      >old-school, I agree with you. I would be shocked if Votto would agree to anything less than the $20M he is owed in ’24…that is, in my opinion, just the kind of person he is.

      The best thing for the Reds to do is immediately announce Sunday, Sept. 24 as “Joey Votto Day” to pay homage, then, after the season pay his buyout, thank him for his time as a Red and wish him luck.

      With all due respect, his MLB career is over and the money saved by not picking up his option could (and should) be spent on other team needs.

      • Jimbo44CN

        How do you know what kind of person that Joey is? Cmon. And his career is over? He is still a very valuable if not everyday piece for this team. I really hope they work it out and hes back next year, even in a part time basis.

  14. CFD3000

    I’ll be surprised if they don’t buy him out for $7M, then sign him to a one year deal for 2024 for $3M-ish. IF he’s healthy, he should provide some power with an OPS in the .800 range, and a positive veteran presence. As the final season for an all time great and future HoF-er I have no problem with that. If he’s not healthy I do expect him to retire fairly quietly then transition to whatever role he wants with the team in management, coaching or driving the team bus.

    As a fan, I’m torn between moving on fully to the next generation of competitive Reds teams, and honoring and celebrating one of the best Reds ever, and one of my personal favorites. No matter what happens, Joey Votto has been a treasure for the Reds and baseball, and I feel privileged to have been able to follow his entire career. Along with icons like Larkin, Bench and most of the BRM, and exciting players like Eric Davis, Jose Rijo, the Nasty Boys, Jay Bruce and many others, it’s been so rewarding to be a Reds fan. And this new crop of young studs and stars has me energized again after a long drought for the team. As the Votto era ends, either now or next year, he leaves us with plenty more to root for. Go Reds!

    • RedBB

      Agree, he will also but paying butts in the stands. And we all know the Castellini’s care more about $$$ than anything else.

      • Rod Andrews

        The Castellini s and every other owner in baseball. He’s no better or worse than the rest

    • CI3J

      I’m pretty sure that’s what the Reds are thinking too. He hasn’t been good this season, but he’s still shown some power.

      One final season of Votto being most a DH with a few spot-starts at 1B, with the Reds and Votto both announcing in the spring that “This is Joey Votto’s final season.”, with the planned “Joey Votto Day” at the end of the season.

      I don’t think it would be terrible having Votto as a bench bat. He brings a lot of other intangibles to the team, almost like a bench coach, and, like I said, he still has power and can get an occasional hit. But he should not be playing every day. Maybe 3 days a week at the most.

      If Bell and Votto are both onboard with him having a much-reduced playing role, I say let’s do one final ride with Votto.

      • SultanofSwaff

        You nailed it–Bell and Votto both have to be on board with the vision of the front office. Bell’s deference to veteran privilege and (just speculation) Votto’s desire for a certain number of at-bats may not fit that vision. Joey has spoken in the past of not seeing the pleasure in being a part time player, so it wouldn’t surprise me to sign with a competitive team who can promise him more playing time (hellooo Milwaukee?). Personally, it wouldn’t bother me. Joey’s legacy is cemented in Cincinnati—playing your whole career is rooted in sentimentality, and sometimes that runs headlong into the business side of things.

  15. Brian johnson

    What are the odds that he could come back has hitting coach….

    • TR

      That’s also been on my mind regarding the Reds and Joey Votto. I think Votto will eventually make the HOF but after the first five years of eligibility. My opinion is Votto is one of the all time great players able to get on base with walks and pitch recognition talent. A special assistant hitting coach with the Reds would be a great retirement role for him.

  16. Capnhook33

    It’s hard to tell. I’d be honestly kind of surprised if all of these players are on the roster next year. I’m expecting 1-3 of these position players are sent out to try to get more pitching. Could they spend 8-10 mil on an .800 ops votto? Sure. That’s helpful and not budget busting. They are likely to decline the option and then see how the offseason plays out. But it would not be surprising at all to see them make some moves and then bring votto back for just a small bit more to join the team.

  17. JB WV

    Regardless of whether Joey is back next season, there’s a chance that this is his final home stand. He should be getting a standing ovation every at bat. He’s been more than just a ball player. His interaction with the fans, frank conversation, and sense of humor will be sorely missed. Pay tribute to a great Cincinnati Red, fans. You’ll never see another Votto.

    • Rednat

      good post. It is strange to say, but Joey is kind of like a son to many in Cincinnati. He has matured a lot with his interaction with the fans and media. i can tell he has made an effort to grow and to be more likeable as a player and personality in town.

  18. LDS

    It’s past time for him to retire. Krall needs to buy him out and move on. No restructured deal, etc. Otherwise, he’ll be Bell’s starting 1B most games and will likely hit even worse than this year. He needs to live up to his oft repeated promise and walk away.

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      Votto has a 103 OPS+ this season. He’s been a slightly better than league average hitter.

      • MBS

        Here’s a list of guys with a better OPS+ that don’t make $20M in 24.

        1 McLain 129
        2 Benson 128
        3 Steer 118
        4 Fraley 115
        5 Friedl 110
        6 Marte 108
        7 CES 105

        Hader is being projected at $15M X 5Y, so $13M more for Votto or $15M for Hader? The money needs to go to pitching imo.

      • LDS

        Actually, he hasn’t been. Those numbers area reflection of his swinging for the fences, not his overall play. As MBS noted, that $13m can be better spent elsewhere. It just takes accepting that Votto has had his run and that it’s time to move on. He isn’t helping the team and CES would serve the Reds better. And, as I’ve noted previously, Votto’s numbers more closely align with Aquino than they do Votto’s career. Aquino wasn’t a Reds’ legend and he’s gone. Votto is, but his performance no longer reflects the player he once was. It happens to all of us eventually.

      • wkuchad

        There’s zero chance the Reds are picking up Votto’s option. The $7 million is a sunk cost for services previously performed.

        I don’t fully disagree with you LDS, but it’s not a situation of the $13 is better off being spent elsewhere? The Reds won’t be spending that.

        It could be a question of is ~$4 million worth it to have Votto as a bench bat in 2024?

      • Melvin

        LDS – You mean we all will eventually be “legends” no more. Wow. 😉

      • LDS

        No @WkuChad, even $4M is too much for what Votto brings to the table now. And you’d be talking about $11M – $7M to buy him out and another $4M to resign him. Pass.

      • LDS

        @Melvin, I’m sure some here were legends in some context at some point in time. And I’m equally sure that many of us here probably think we’re RLN legends now. Pretty sure none of us are, but thinking that way keeps the site rocking and that’s got to be good for Doug’s revenue stream.

      • greenmtred

        The numbers are the numbers regardless of how he arrived at them.

    • Rick

      I’m with you on this.
      It’s time to end it with the buyout.
      He’ll always be one of our greatest regular season players, a buyout will not be disrespectful, and it’s also the right thing for the team. Krall knows that, but does Bob realize it?

  19. doofus

    Reds buy-out Votto’s $7mm 2024 option. He signs a deal to play elsewhere. Probably with the Saskatoon Roughriders.

  20. Frankie Tomatoes

    I have tickets for tomorrow’s game. I’ll be standing and applauding for Votto each time he comes up to the plate (with my luck it will be a day he’s not playing and I’ll have to buy tickets to a game this weekend after lineups are announced). He deserves a send off.

  21. BuzzKutter

    Does Joey have any bargaining chips? (Another team that will pay him some money)

    If not then the Reds front office holds all the cards.

    I don’t see anyone wanting to sign him for anything substantial but crazier things have happened.

  22. Laredo Slider

    I can see the Reds using Votto much the same way STL used Pujols his last year. But I would NOT take ABs away from CES. CES, McLain, EDLC, Marte are your future 1B to 3B. DH Votto, if he doesn’t like it move on from him.

  23. Amarillo

    Several people have pointed this out already, but I’ll just reiterate it. It’s not actually a 20MM option, it’s really a 13MM option. The buyout can’t be taken into account in terms of whether he comes back or not.

    Votto has a 103 OPS+ meaning he has been roughly league average when he has played, and 13MM for a league average hitter is a fairly normal amount.

    I also look at the fact that we have used 27 position players this year and 65 players total. I’d take an over the hill Votto over several of the guys we have used. Wil Myers, Henry Ramos, Jason Vosler, Hunter Renfroe have a combined 336 plate appearances. Vosler, Myers, Kevin Newman, and Nick Martini have a combined 29 starts at 1st Base. I’d take Votto starting at 1st for 50 games and getting 300 plate appearances over some of the other options we have used this year.

    • LDS

      Except those aren’t the guys competing for starting time at 1B. It’s CES. At least, compare apples and apples.

      • Amarillo

        It would be wonderful if CES could play 150+ games next year, but the reality is 20% of the roster will be injured at any given time. If we only have 9 players who have the ability to play every day, that’s not good enough. I’d rather have Votto as depth than whichever journeyman AAA player when the need arises.

    • SultanofSwaff

      Good points, but the assumption is that Votto would be healthy to take those starts. He’s 40.

    • 13to8to24

      In a perfect world, the Reds buy out Joey & they then agree on a 1 year $2.5 million contract. Joey announces that he will donate his salary to charity. He then gets his farewell tour, continues to mentor the young and hip players, becomes an effective reserve player, and continues to be an amazing ambassador for the Reds & baseball. It will also save the fans & the Reds the embarrassment of finding their annual veteran reclamation project. The best part is that we get to truly appreciate & soak in what has been a Hall of Fame career. I hope that he has an active role with the Reds after he finishes playing. Regardless, baseball will miss Joey Votto on the field.

  24. Mark Moore

    I’m torn. Watching him struggle and sometimes produce is difficult. Pujols comparisons don’t really work for me as Joey was never a massive power hitter. Plus, he never departed for greener pastures.

    Watching what the Tigers did for Miggy makes me wish we had that for Votto. But, as others have noted, maybe he doesn’t want that. I’ll readily admit we just don’t know.

    First series next Spring for the farewell? Maybe that’s the best option. I don’t think JV wants to play anywhere else, especially in some limited capacity. I have to believe he’s battling with what he wants and what Father Time is handing him. Good old Father Time is still the undefeated champion.

    I just want to see our Reds finish strong and get a shot at one October series. However that happens is fine as long as it works.

    • Daytonnati

      Yeah, it would be nice for Joey to have that farewell around the league type tour that Derek Jeter and Albert got and Miggy are getting. Being honored by the opposition in their parks is something he deserves. He has been solid citizen and stand-up guy.

      • Beaufort Red

        Votto can’t even sniff Jeter, Pujols or Cabrera. He’s a legend in Cincinnati but no where else. It would be like if they gave Rolen a league wide last rodeo. Nothing against Rolen of course cause the man is already in the club.

  25. Mark Moore

    Just saw the Phish claimed Matt Moore for their final push. Aggressive move that might help them get there even if he can’t play in October.

    • J

      @ Mark Moore , something the Reds should have done instead of Renfroe and Mike Clevinger instead of NOT at all needed Bader ? lmao

      • J

        Pick a different name. That name is taken.

  26. Roger Garrett

    I don’t see Joey accepting a reduced role or cut in pay and why should he.Already earned and a bunch more of his contract.It was be easy as it has been in the past to just pay him and play him IF there was nobody to replace him.That is not longer true with CES already there and right now needs to play.Just hope both sides can come up with something but I don’t see Joey backing down one bit.Sad ending to a great career IMO.Buy him out looks like the Reds don’t care but if they pay him and he is awful well Joey looks like he just cares about himself.I think both sides care.

  27. Jim t

    Really don’t think Joey has decided if he wants to play next season. If he had the club would certainly have honored him with a day. When Joey makes his decision the club will decide their intentions. Lots of moving parts in this, financial and his role will all need to be considered. Whatever he decides is up to him. Great red who only wanted to play here. Hats off to Joey Votto.

  28. Tom Reeves

    I hope the Reds and Votto find a compromise. Frankly, if he’d take $10m to play (that’s $3m more than letting him walk), then I’d say sign him for his last year and let it be a swan song for real. His OPS is worth $3m (the $7m is sunk either way). I don’t if he takes it but that’s a great win-win for him and the Reds – and a huge win for fans).

  29. RedBB

    Matt Moore was just waived by the Guardians and claimed by the Marlins! He was one of the good relievers they claimed from the Angels. Should the Reds claim Giolito if waived even though he would not be postseason eligible? I would…

    • RedBB

      FWIW Giolito just went 7 scoreless with 12 K’s and 1BB and 2 hits. He has 3 QS’s also in his last 5. Probably an upgrade over any of our current starters this late in the season.

      • AllTheHype

        2 quality starts out of 10 since trade deadline. Bullpen days + Phillips are probably better odds.

      • RedBB

        @AllTheHype he has 3 QS’s in his last 5 and 4/9 since the deadline. Only ER’s count not R’s for QS’s. That’s a 44% QS rate.

        No current Reds Starter has a QS rate higher except Abbott at 49% and he has probably hit his wall with only 1/9 QS’s recently. Only Ashcraft who is done is higher at 58%. Giolito is 52% on the year, which is better than any current Reds Starter

  30. AllTheHype

    On Oct 12, 2004, it was announced that the Reds would not offer 40 year old Barry Larkin a contract for the next year, effectively making the 2004 season his last.

    No “Barry Larkin” day, no swan song, just a quiet end to a brilliant 19 year career spent all in Red.

    Deja vu Votto?

    • Tar Heel Red

      >You know AllTheHype I had forgetten about that. If Barry Larkin, a HOF player and class act of a man who was respected by not only his teammates but also the rest of the league, could not get a special day does Votto rate one? Fair question?

      • greenmtred

        Why compound one grievous mistake by repeating it?

  31. J

    I’d like to see them work out an innovative deal where he returns on sort of a month-to-month basis. Something like a $7 million guaranteed salary plus $1.5 million per month that he plays for the Reds, and either party can terminate the deal by notifying the other party by the 19th day of the month.

    • Doug Gray

      There is zero chance the MLBPA would ever allow such a deal.

      • Optimist

        But would they allow an incentive contract based on at-bats or plate appearances? Small base salary, large bonuses for each 50/100 segments? I think so.

        Still – unlikely – it’s either a small 1 yr. deal (4-5m) or nothing.

        I expect them to spend a lot (for them) for an OFer, which further compresses those sharing time as 1b/DHers.

      • RedBB

        Does the MLBPA even have the right to block individual contracts? If so they never should have approved Ozzie Albies contract…worst most lop-sided contract for a team I can ever remember. There are tons of lop-sided contracts for the player on the other hand LOL

      • J

        That’s only because the Votto Rule hasn’t been voted on yet.

    • J

      Note: this comment was made by the actual J, not the imposter J who’s been commenting it this thread.

      • greenmtred

        The imposter would say that, though.

      • J

        I’m not sure the imposter would use the word “imposter.”

      • AllTheHype

        Maybe you should start posting as @realJ

      • Harry Stoner

        The imposter J wouldn’t be pointlessly arguing with Doug about a his proposed contract arrangement that would be an impossibility.

        Only the real J would do that.

      • J

        I have no doubt the real Harry Stoner would say something as pointless as that.

      • greenmtred

        Good point, I guess. Of course, he might say whatever you want him to say.

  32. Rod Andrews

    It’s hard to watch a fan favorite retire, but just like I have seen Rose, Perez, Bench(my all time favorite), Sparky, and others come and go, Joey’s time has apparently come to an end. We’ll get over this ,too .

    • Rick

      Bench was my all time favorite too. All of the BRM were my favorite starting 8 position players. as a unit Although not a BRM pitcher, Jim Maloney was my favorite pitcher as a kid. Jose Rijo my 2nd starting favorite.

  33. Pete

    I believe Joey Votto and David Bell futures are outside Nick Krall’s purview of influence. They are not baseball decisions. I’ve stated before Joey gets the full package and will be returning in 2024. Not even going to offer if it’s good or bad because I think it’s a foregone conclusion.

    • wkuchad

      If by “full package” you mean they pick up Votto’s option for 2024, there’s just no way that’s happening.

      • Pete

        Wish we could bet on that. I believe the Castellini‘s would see this as an insult, and they wouldn’t be wrong. I really don’t think the Castellini‘s are cheap by nature and have shown the willingness to invest when they thought it was prudent. Whether picking up Votto’s option is prudent or not has nothing to do with it. The Reds are real big on honoring their past and at this point let’s face it Joey Votto is more past than present or future.

        He will get the full Monty going away package. I can’t see anything other than this.

  34. LDS

    I see the lineup is out and Bell in his infinite wisdom has once again benched a .300 hitter in favor of Votto. And I see Maile is still day-to-day, does he play if Stephenson goes down?

    • Jim Walker

      Believe I read a couple of days back that Maile could catch if needed. The issue apparently holding/ gripping/ swinging a bat.

    • J

      I see it as benching in favor of Fraley, who really hasn’t been hitting much at all since he returned. But he’s left-handed so Bell can’t imagine benching him today.

      • LDS

        Perhaps, but then I wouldn’t start Fraley either. For that matter, I’d start Marte over EDLC at the moment until Marte’s average starts collapsing.

      • wkuchad

        Didn’t they say last night he’s hitting .300 since coming back from injured list? I know you’re a big batting average fan.

      • Jim Walker

        Fraley’s BA/OBP/SLG/OPS line since he came back on 1 Sept is .281/ .343/ .406/ .749. That’s not great but not a disaster.
        The not as good news is the same line for the last 14 days is .200/ .273/ .250/ .523.
        His 7 day OPS is .400.
        He started well on his return then hit a wall, almost certainly due to his injury.

        Marte in September is .409/ .458/ .523/ .981.
        His 14 day line is .482/ .517/ .630/ 1.147
        Versus RH pitching in September Marte’s OPS is 1.023.

        It is Marte’s day to sit just because Bell has a reason to rationalize sitting him. Things worked out last night with CRS on ice. Maybe they will again tonight with Marte on ice.

      • J

        I’m the real J. The one who thinks Bell pays more attention to his own theories than stats or recent performances when he’s creating a lineup. The J who once again wonders why Friedl is hitting higher in the order when he’s facing a righty despite being worse against righties this year. That’s the J.

      • Tom Reeves

        You really think Bell is smart smart enough to have “theories?!”

        I’m shocked you’d acknowledge that!

    • Ozzie

      I was surprised to see Elly playing SS over Marte. The rest of the lineup makes sense to me.

    • RedBB

      Assume you are talking about Marte. I like Marte and he is playing well but I mean it’s really more of a push. Votto is 4-8 in the last 2 games and had 2 BB’s before then so his OBP is .500 and OPS 1.000 in the last 3 games.

    • greenmtred

      Not infinite, perhaps, but I recall that you have been a proponent of playing guys who hit well the previous game. Votto did, as well as the game before. Consistency may be the hobgoblin of little minds, but arguments lose their force in its absence.

      • Melvin

        “Votto did, as well as the game before.”

        EDLC didn’t.

  35. Mark Moore

    Marte sits … color me NOT surprised because no line-up choices HDTBell makes lately seem to make complete sense.

    • Kevin H

      All jokes aside, Marte should be playing. Right now I would sit De La Cruz.

      I think its a good problem to have though, shows how deep the Reds are, and Sept 19th and still hunt for a Reds October is still on!!!

      • RedBB

        This…that being said Elly is due for a big game. He needs a new family!

    • Melvin

      No big deal. It’s not like we’re in a pennant race with 10 games to go. So we bench one of our hottest hitters this month when he could have replaced the worst hitter this month at SS. MAN YOU’RE PICKY!

      • Melvin

        We also could have replaced the worst defensive player this month….but no big deal. 😉

  36. wkuchad

    I agree LDS, my only change would be Marte for EDLC.

  37. Old-school

    Several posts talking of a joey votto OPS+ 103. Thats means nothing if you are paid $25 mil for 200 at bats.

    Thats in 53 games. The other 100 games his OPS+ is 0. Hes 40 and has a rebuilt shoulder that tires out after the grind of regular hitting. Anyone think Votto is coming back in 2024 and will play 140 games??? That OpS of 103 is an fWAR of 0.1 Replacement level and injured 2024 at $13 mil???? No way. Hes also a first baseman and DH . That position has to produce at an OPS + of 120 . Your not comparing votto to some AAAA player. Its Freddie Freeman and Pete Alonso and Matt Oloson

    Its CES time at first base. Need to give him 140 starts next year at 1b

    • wkuchad

      That $25 million also means nothing. He’s not being paid $25 million this year to produce like a $25 million player. That money is for services performed, and then some. Anything we get out of Joey at this point is just gravy.

      • Old-school

        True… but this discussion is about committing new money to a 40 yo with a reconstructed shoulder in 2024 who couldnt come back in 2023 and sustain production at a level needed for an elite offensive position – first base/dh

    • RedBB

      Did you ever take Economics in college? Cuz that $25M is irrelevant as its sunk costs that you can never get back. That should NEVER influence who is playing or who you sign the next year. If it did then Moustakas would still be on this team as well as Will Myers and Hunter Renfroe and Luke Weaver.

      • Old-school

        New money in 2024 isnt a sunk cost in 2023.

    • Jim Walker

      Careful OS, at times you are sounding a lot like me lately. Maybe it’s something about being in a playoff push does to folks that realize it is time to push harder versus being happy the team has done better than expected?? 😉

  38. Kevin H

    Myself if Votto comes back for 1 more year, then it’s as a part time player. The future is now in Cincy. Plus Reds have Hinds, Dunn, and knocking on the door however that has nothing to do with Votto, or maybe it does.

    If EDLC moves to center, then you have Friedl in lf and Fraley in right. Perhaps Dunn as 4th outfielder. Opps forgot Benson.

    Infield of CES at 1st India at 2nd, McLain ss and Marte 3rd. Steer would be a utility player. Hopefully Maile resigns to play along side Stephenson.

    That leaves Votto and Senzel on outside. Maybe reds package a few players for a top starting rotation pitcher?

  39. AllTheHype

    Next year is not gravy, though. Next year is a new commitment, or not.

    Several times Votto has said he won’t play beyond the point where he’s not productive. Well, he’s not productive given his 1B/DH position. Just this year he said “I think I’m going to perform well offensively. If not, I’m going to retire. End of story.”

    He has not fulfilled that. If he wants to play next year, and wants the Reds to offer him a contract, at that point it’s selfish on his part.

    The Reds have already given him, and continue to give him, more starts that he deserves. I’m a Joey fan. But if he pushes the issue on returning, it will be for selfish reasons only and I will be much less of a fan than I am now and have been.

    • AllTheHype

      Intended as a reply to wkuchad above.

    • Pharmer85

      You hit the nail on the head. Time to step aside gracefully Joey

  40. Indy Red Man

    Giving Votto to Bell for another year is like giving a Ford Mustang to a 12 yr old. It has value, but the driver doesn’t know how to use it so it can only be a danger to himself and others. Votto would be fine vs carefully selected pitchers and about 260 at-bats a year, but Bell doesn’t get it. How could anyone sit CES after New York?

    • AllTheHype

      Or Marte?

      I really think Krall released Renfroe (and DL’d Bader) without consulting Bell, for obvious reasons.

      • Jim Walker

        Krall at least had to text Bell and tell him to check that neither Bader or Renfroe were on his lineup card because neither was available any time soon. 😉

      • Melvin

        Bell has Krall right where he wants him now though. He knows there’s no way Krall sends down EDLC so he can play him all he wants no matter how bad he’s doing. 😉

  41. Mark A Verticchio

    I would sit either Fraley or EDLC, maybe Votto but he looked good last night. Regardless Marte should be in the everyday line up with India, Strand, Steer, Friedl, Benson and Stephenson I guess.

  42. Hanawi

    Think some of you guys need to look around baseball at what guys are actually producing for their teams. Votto is still very productive and valuable. They need to limit his innings and give him more rest but that’s on Bell to do. If he comes back on a one year, $10 million deal that would be fair.

    • wkuchad

      I agree with everything but your last sentence. We’re paying Votto a $7 million buyout for 2024. I love Votto but wouldn’t pay him an additional $10 million. Now if you’re talking about $10 million total ($7 million sunk cost + add’l $3 million), I could be talked into that.

      • Hanawi

        Yes. $10 million total, so $3 on top of the guaranteed $7. He might be able to get a few more ($5-6 million) from another team but not sure he would take it to play elsewhere.

  43. TJ

    In my opinion I think he gets the whole $20 million. I believe it’s a matter of getting some money deferred to next year OR even having a cheap option year added on for another buy out. Many different possibilities, but I believe he plays next year if healthy and gets the whole $20 million.

  44. Old-school

    Joey votto in 2023 is being paid $25 million to deliver an fWAR of 0.1 and a bWAR of 0.1

    Wheres the value?

    Pay him $13 more million in 2024 to obstruct and block players like CES and Steer and Marte at a premium position that needs 3-4 WAR

    Reds cant afford to outlay $13 more million to a 41 year old at replacement level or below when the Cards and braves and dodgers have elite first baseman every day

  45. JayTheRed

    As much as I love Votto, I too feel it is time to move on. It’s kind of sad the team has not made more of this being possibly his final Homestand. Maybe that is telling that they do intend to bring him back. I sure hope it is not at 20 million though. That would be a huge wase of money. I would not hate it if they brought him back with the understanding that he is a bench player and with the buyout 7 million maybe offer him another 3 million to make it a 10 million even.

    I am ok if this is it though too. Team will be better off without him but you know how Castellini is about loyalty and blah blah.

    If this is the final season with Voto thank you for giving it your all.

  46. VaRedsFan

    I just read through 150 comments and IndyRed on post # 140-ish is the only one that came up with the correct answer.

    If Votto comes back for whatever amount of money, and is on the roster, Bell will play him 4 outta 5 games, no matter the production.

    There is no Votto will have to agree to a “reduced role”. It won’t happen with David Bell folks. There’s more than enough history to support this.

    For this reason, the Reds will HAVE to pay him the buyout, and let him walk or retire.

  47. e2n2

    Here’s my take (which may be worth less than 2 cents): I think a lot of this decision rides on whether the Reds make the playoffs this year. I feel like Joey wants to experience playoff baseball one more time before he rides off into the sunset. If the Reds make it in this year, he may decide to go ahead and retire after this season ends. If not, he may want to push to play one more year to have an additional opportunity to have that playoff experience.

  48. jmb

    The Reds would be stupid to pick up Votto’s option. To sign him at all would be a mistake. There are not enough infield positions to allow all the players they’ve got to play everyday as it is. He’s created a logjam all season. If EDLC’s defense continues to be poor, he’ll have to be DH (people were saying they waited too long to bring him up: he did start out with a BANG, but he’s struggling mightily now). But you’d still have CES, McLain, Marte, and Steer as an infield. Plus Senzel and India. Steer can be LF, and India could play 2B or 3B. Anyway, having Votto on the team next season would really be disappointing. It’s time to move forward! Maile also should not be resigned!