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.
— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) September 19, 2023
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.