The Cincinnati Reds have a decision to make on Joey Votto and the 2024 season here soon. The club holds an option on his contract for next year. They can choose to bring him back by picking up his option for $20,000,000. Or they can buy him out for $7,000,000 and allow him to become a free agent. There’s also an option of simply trying to renegotiate with him before he would become a free agent. Votto, at the conclusion of the season, was non-committal towards whether he wanted to retire or continue playing.

A few days later he seems to have made up his mind that he would like to continue playing. This morning on the Dan Patrick Show, Votto said that he would like to play at least one more year. And that while he hopes that is with the Reds, that if they don’t pick up his option he appears open to playing for another organization.

To be specific with what Votto said, he was asked about “if you had your druthers” with regards to returning to the Reds, he said “Yeah, of course.”

Patrick followed up by asking “but if the Reds decide they are not going to exercise that option”, Votto said “Then I’ll have a new experience,” and later continued “If not, then I’ll have a new experience. I’ll be a free agent for the first time in my professional baseball career. I don’t know how excited I am about that.”

From there the conversation went in other directions, including Votto’s willingness to be the backup boyfriend for Taylor Swift. If you have Peacock you can go back and watch the entire 14-minute segment.

It seems as obvious as it can be that the Cincinnati Reds will not be picking up Joey Votto’s $20,000,000 option. They’ll instead pay him $7,000,000 to buy out that final year. What isn’t clear is what happens after that. Votto was clear earlier today that he plans to continue to play, whether that is in Cincinnati or elsewhere (though he did note if no one in baseball has interest, he’s applied to chef school so he’s got his future lined up otherwise). What the Reds want to do, though, is unclear. They likely don’t want to pay him $20,000,000. But would they be open to bringing him back in 2024 at something lower than that?

If they are, then the question becomes what role would that be in? And if it’s not a “mostly starting unless a tough lefty is on the mound” kind of role, would Joey Votto be open to that in order to play one more in Cincinnati? Would another team be more open to giving him a bigger role – at least until he proves otherwise (which may or may not happen) – and that would push him to signing elsewhere even if there were some interest from the Reds?

We’ll find out in about a month on the option, though we all know how that specific part will play out. After that, though, is where things will get more interesting.

A few hours before Votto’s appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, Jason Linden wrote all about Votto here on the digital pages of Redleg Nation. If you missed out on it, you should check it out.

If this is it for Joey Votto in Cincinnati, well, then we’ve got this moment following his final home game at Great American Ball Park to remember.

187 Responses

  1. LDS

    Sad decision on his part. There comes a time when we all have to hang it up. The ego is trumping the brain (and the body). Once again, he’s failing to abide by the statements he’s made about retirement previously. He’s no longer starting caliber. He’s approximately league average like the Reds outfield is approximately league average. A team doesn’t win a World Series with league average performance.

    • Greenfield Red

      I’ve mentioned several times, I think he’s of a “me first” guy than most on RLN think he is. I think it will play out that way. It’s an opinion based one one personal experience when he was in uniform at Spring Training.

      I hope he is elsewhere in 24.

      • LDS

        Having watched him these last few years, I suspect your right. He’s not helping the team, he’s padding his HR stats, going for Walker’s total and Bench’s.

    • Alex Reds

      I disagree. Never doubt a healthy Joey, even at 40. The shoulder was causing Votto enough issues that he struggled. If he felt he could get healthy this off-season, then I think he would want to play again. He must believe he can get healthy or he would hang it up. I saw enough this year to believe that Joey can still perform if healthy. He hit a lot of homers, and a lot of very far homers. He was really on fire when he was healthy. Pujols struggled, then he had his bounce back year. It can happen. It’s best for everyone that Joey comes back to the Reds. No team is going to offer him $13M. The Reds should absolutely bring Joey back. The $7M buyback is a sunk cost. Offer Joey about $5M-$7M to come back in 2024, and offer him no guarantees of starting and playing time. Let him be a positive influence, fan favorite, mentor, and if he performs well, then he can start. Win win for everyone.

      • Colorado Red

        On man always wins.
        Joey , is selfish and now fat.
        He cannot hit, field, or run.
        The glory days are over.
        Time to hang it up.

      • Melvin

        FAT??? hahahaha 😀 I don’t think so. He may very well be the best “in shape” player on the team.

      • Mario

        I was an outspoken supporter of Votto’s this year believing he would bounce and possibly lead the team in homers. He hit a few and his OPS was respectable but he was mostly hitting mistakes. I don’t look up fan graphs but I think his average was terrible vs off speed pitches. He can time up the fastball but curves made him look silly. I don’t see a spot for him on the team next season. Vs RHP, I would not bench CES, Steer, Fraley, Benson, or Friedl and the three of Elly, Marte, and McLain are everyday players. Barring injury, I’m not even sure where to play India vs RHP. Gotta have a bench but players like Votto, Senzel, and India have to willing to play the role.

      • Mario

        Should have mentioned that if healthy, I consider Friedl, CES, Steer, McLain, Elly, and Marte to be everyday players. Barring a trade or big free agent signing, platoon roles in LF and RF. I would have CES and Steer sharing 1B and DH with both of them being an option at 3B if injuries hit. Some speculate about Steer becoming the permanent LF but is there enough AB’s for Fraley, Benson, Friedl? I am also counting on Blake Dunn also being on the OD roster. I think TJ Hopkins can make a contribution during the season as well. Guy struggled as a rookie but he’s not a bad player but he’ll most likely start in the minors until needed.

      • Thatthathadhad

        What if he is mostly not interested in retiring the same year as Miggy, Greinke, Verlander , Kershaw, Scherzer all possibly pulling the pin.

      • Nathan Howell

        Joey 2021
        36 Homers
        Injured Joey 2022-2023
        25 Homers
        He deserves a proper Miguel Cabrera style sendoff with it being a retirement celebration. A little bias here with this opinion but I can’t help it with my favorite Red of all time. I’ve been watching him tear it up since I was 13 and if he says he still has gas in the tank pick up that option and go get some starting pitching. Only two or three acquisitions and this would have easily been a playoff team.

    • mac624

      What’s he got to lose? If Joey wants to continue on, he certainly has the right too regardless of how you think. For all you know, this decision could get him a ring. It’s definitely going to net him several more million dollars. I’d say he’s making a great decision based on money alone!

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      A league average hitter should hang them up? If that were the case there wouldn’t be enough players to go around in this game.

      • LDS

        The Reds should move on even if Votto doesn’t want to. Bell will start Votto ahead of CES far too often if they bring him back and CES will likely we’ll exceed league average.

  2. Old-school

    The next question becomes if the Reds are amenable to bringing back Votto on a 1 year deal but for a far reduced salary and reduced role,( say 1 year and $3-$5 mil in new money beyond the already spent $7mil) as a part time DH and back up 1st baseman 1-2x a week) would Votto be willing to do that? I assume the Reds could move forward now and negotiate a new deal with Votto now if both parties are willing? the real question is does Votto want to come back to the Reds in a reduced role and reduced salary or does he want to be a FA and maximize his 2024 options regardless of being a Red.

    • Alex Reds

      No team is going to offer Votto a guaranteed starting job. If they do, it’s not guaranteed anyways, it’s a lot like Samaje Perrine who was told he would get more playing time on the Broncos this year, and he’s getting less playing time with Broncos than he had with Bengals last year. I don’t think Joey will be tricked by playing time guarantees. I think Joey would take a little less money to come back to the Reds.

    • Jim Walker

      Votto’s statement on the Patrick show was basically putting the Reds onto the clock to settle his situation by the end of the World Series, the start of free agent season, if they want him back.

      The $7m option buyout is a sunken cost anyway; so, why wouldn’t they go even as much as another $5m to bring Votto back and thus avoid putting a huge public relations damper on what should be an off season of exciting anticipation?

      An effective marketing and merchandising effort built around Votto’s farewell season would probably bring in a huge portion if not all the new money in excess of the buyout anyway.

      • Pete

        Jim, this is certainly a good point but rather than put the Reds on the clock I really believe Votto put them in a box. I hope I am wrong, but I’ve always said Joey Votto makes a decision whether he comes back or not and he’s made it.

        So it comes down to is it going to be a baseball decision or a public relations decision. The former is Nick, Krall and the latter is Bob Castellini, we will find out soon enough.

      • Jim Walker

        @pete>> Why is it not a baseball decision?

        Who would be a better 26th man for the Reds roster than Votto? That should be the baseball decision gauge, not Votto compared to his younger self. With the 13 man pitcher limit, he would not cost them a pitcher. His 2023 OPS+ was 98. How many last guys on a roster are league average hitters? Worried about him versus LH pitching? His 2023 OPS vs LH pitchers was .897.

      • Pete

        Of all first baseman in MLB with a minimum of 200 PA’s he is ranked 37th with a wRC+ of 98. He is slow and a poor defensive player. He has a WAR of 0.0 so he is exactly replacement level. He is injury prone and 40 years old. David Bell will play him, and bat him in the lineup, where he is the least qualified on a 26-man roster. Whatever they end up paying him I would find it highly unlikely they couldn’t get better (objective) value on the free agent market. If it is strictly a baseball decision, it’s a no brainer. Nick Krall should make this decision if the team is dedicated to maximizing the teams potential – he is the expert not Bob or Phil Castellini.

      • Michael E

        Pete, that is my biggest worry too, Votto will start and often. You don’t pay a guy 8 figures to sit on the bench, maybe the Yankees or Dodgers, but no other team.

        I believe they’d be best served paying him the 7 million and waving goodbye. They already thanked him with the $250+ million they’ve paid him.

        If he would agree to $10 million and a reduced role of pinch-hitter and part-time starter, say no more than 50 starts, then okay, but otherwise, forget it.

  3. Beaufort Red

    So if Votto is willing to go somewhere else, let him go. What team is gonna risk a decent contract for a 2year Mendoza line hitter in decline. Of course he’s gonna say next year will be different. A hitter of his caliber the last two seasons would be hard pressed to get a contract north of 2 million. Remember no team has the sentimental attachment the Reds have. And if Votto hits like he has the last 2 seasons are the Reds gonna cut bait mid season? Another dilemma! It’s a new era with a bright future, time to move on.

    • Pharmer85

      Totally agree. If he’s on the team Bell will play him way more than he should, taking at bats away from younger, more productive players who need to continue in their development. And he says he wants to play “at least one more season”, so this thing could drag on for another year. That’s the last thing the Reds need. Time to move on

      • Bob Purkey

        If the Reds want to pay him the $7M buyout, plus a couple of million in incentives, fine, otherwise Joey can try to go find another team that will pay him more money.

        The Reds have a 5-6 year window now with their young players. Go get a decent SP and a RH hitting OF with some pop, using SOME of Joey’s previous salary to fill those needs.

        Time for Joey to retire or play at an extensively lower rate for 1 year!

      • greenmtred

        I would assume, then, that you are opposed to the Reds getting a veteran starting pitcher this offseason? After all, Bell might pitch him every 5th day, thus depriving a young pitcher of the opportunity.

      • greenmtred

        My above comment was in response to Pharmer85.

  4. Pete

    OK then. It now becomes who’s decision is it now to make. Bob Castellini or Nick Krall? Place your bets gentleman.

    As far as Joey is selfish, or not, really can’t say. But I will say this professional athletes are normally the last ones to know when it is time to quit. He is certainly not alone.

    • Jim Walker

      This is an ownership decision. If the decision is ‘No’ the ownership may try to pass it off as a PoBO decision; but, don’t be fooled.

    • JayTheRed

      Joey has definitely put the ball in the Reds court after today’s comments

  5. Roger Garrett

    I said this on another thread in that Joey is at best a part time DH that can only help this team if he bangs.Bell just like almost all managers uses the DH to rest his regular guys from playing in the field and to get his bench guys some at bats.Joey’s at bats then are even reduced and it just doesn’t work.Just for the record CES has to be the starter at first for lets hope the next 10 years and Speer and TySteve also can play there and well Joey just doesn’t fit anywhere.

    • Beaufort Red

      Amen. And like i said , will the Reds be willing to cut bait mid season?

    • Michael E

      He’d make a nice late-inning pinch-hitter too. He still has the power to reverse a game, just losing his contact ability and k-rate going up.

      Again, though, only if he renegotiates down to 10-12 million. Anything beyond 5 million more than the buyout means one less possible FA pitcher or just a lower quality one. They REALLY need a proven, solid if not great SP. Imagine someone inserting between Greene and Abbott, with Lodolo, Williamson and Connor fighting it out for SP5 and next-up starter (injuries are a given).

  6. Jim t

    Enjoyed watching Joey play through the years. Wish he retired last year and was given a send off. That didn’t happen and I believe it is time to move on. 1st base is now CES’s position. The youth movement has arrived and is in motion. Best of luck to Joey and hope he remains connected to the team and city. Put Jim in the booth with Larkin

    • Reds fan in Mexico

      I had the same thought on working him info the announcing rotation. Honestly, I
      always thought the Reds would sign Larkin as manager and Joey could have slid right in. But sadly,that wasn’t the case. Votto as an analyst in the Reds booth would be amazing!

  7. docproc

    Joey is a 40-year-old player with a bum shoulder who hit .202 this season with a negative WAR. He hit .205 last season with a negative WAR. He made 25 million in each of those seasons, so we don’t “owe him” anything as some have suggested. And he had a very nice sendoff in his final home game. Let it go, Joey.

    This team is filled with young talent, including plenty of players who can man 1B and DH. CES and/or Steer shouldn’t lose a single AB next year to Votto.

    And I say this will all due affinity for Joey. He’s been a great player for the Reds and I wish him well. But his run here is done, unless it’s as a coach or broadcaster.

    • JayTheRed

      A while back I suggested a coach / player. I don’t know if that is allowed in today’s baseball but could be an interesting option.

      • Dean

        Why would you suspect Joey would be a good coach. I love Votto. My fav player of all-time. But we were never getting a Jeter-like guy who held teammates accountable. That’s simply not his make-up.
        I wish so much he was the type of guy who would’ve taken Billy Hamilton aside, and said, “Billy, why are you swinging for the fence in batting practice? You need to work on pounding the ball into the ground or bunting nonstop if you wish to help this team win.”
        Those conversations never happened. He leaves the coaching to the coaches, and he goes about his own duties. Nothing wrong with that. But for $250m, it would’ve been nice to get the intangible leadership. We didn’t.

    • greenmtred

      His BA was low. His OBP was .314–not great, but not terrible. His OPS was the 8th highest on the team, with two of the guys ahead of him–Martini and Marte–having few enough at-bats to be in small sample size territory. He is 40, but he played this past season less than a year removed from serious shoulder and biceps surgery and none of us can accurately say how much that affected him. In sum, I think that Jim Walker makes an excellent point: Joey may well be the best 26th man the Reds are likely to have. On the other hand, it’s true, as somebody else said, that if time weighs too heavily to be partially negated by recovery from injury, it would have to be far more difficult for the Reds to cut him than would be the case with any other 26th man who wasn’t performing.

      • Jeremiah

        I think that is part of everything too, if he’s really bad, it would be really hard to just cut Votto as opposed to someone like Nick Martini. It could be a dicey situation. But Votto is smart too and maybe he’d know it’s time to retire mid year if that situation occurred.

      • VaRedsFan

        @ GMR…If he’s treated like a 26th man, than that would be fine. But you and I both know that Bell won’t do that.

      • greenmtred

        It would be difficult for any Reds’ manager to give Votto a very diminished role, VaRedsfan, but Bell, despite the the constant narrative that he won’t play young players, fielded a very young team this year, probably because he had good young players. I do agree: If Joey started at first a significant number of games and CES sat, I’d be upset. Unless, of course, there were circumstances we don’t expect: Joey tearing the cover off the ball and CES slumping or injured.

      • VaRedsFan

        GMR…respectfully disagree.
        The failing players were constantly in the lineup until Krall removed them from the team.

      • greenmtred

        You missed all the games in which EDLC, McClain, Steer, Benson and–later Marte and CES started? For that matter, Friedl , Fraley and India are young players. Abbot’s a rookie and he pitched every fifth game until he got worn out. Bell, like most or all managers, uses all 26 players. It’s a long season and tiredness and injury have to be accounted for. Handedness splits and more specific match-up issues, too, which a lot of you guys disregard but which are real and are observed by all managers.

  8. KetteringRedsFan

    Actually, the real questions are right in front of you:

    (1) Has Joey figured out what his role will be once he is not an active player?
    (2)…and would that be in the Reds organization?

    which asks the management question:
    (3) At what price and what form does the transition take (i.e. player vs player-coach vs coaching or development – with different pay and performance scales for each
    (4) instead of a lump sum, can we reach an annuitized or deferred structure to spread the payroll cost? At a net $2MM or so per annum, the spectrum opens up

    There may be a better solution than either Scylla ($20M), Charybdis ($7MM) or Door Nr. 3 (None of the Above)

    • VaRedsFan

      It’s not about the $$$… It’s about production. It’s about taking time away from more productive players. It would be about Bell giving him too much playing time no matter how bad he is. (Moose/Meyers/Renfore/Bader).
      You have to take away those options for Bell. He’s proved time and time again he doesn’t know how to handle it.

      • greenmtred

        You need to consider the options available. When Moose and Meyers were getting playing time, the young guys were mostly still at AAA or AA. Renfroe and Bader were picked up in hopes that they could add some needed depth in the outfield–remember that Friedl has dealt with injuries, and Fraley was injured. The team has depth in the infield but not the outfield and it would have made no sense to acquire them and not play them. The Reds were, starting with McClain’s arrival, fielding one of the youngest lineups in the game. Bell, like all managers, plays who he has.

      • KetteringRedsFan

        I wonder if you actually read through the premise I posted. This wasn’t presented through the lens of JV remaining an active player much longer. It was about the total value he brings to the Reds through the total value he can still bring – as a coach, or in the broadcast booth, or as a roving instructor/ambassador through the club over two/three years or more. It also postulated that any contact would be deferred or actuarialized to hold down the annual cost maybe 2, 2+ MM.

        Would he play some next year? Possibly/probably, depending on his health. I suspect that the most you will see is 1 additional season, maybe, and then a switch to a non-playing role still associated with the Reds. If he’s platooned or DH’d, that is that much less impact on production. Don’t expect him to be more than a situational or part-time player.

        Total value proposition:
        (a) How much additional Votto merch do you move? (OK, I started off with one of the weaker cases)
        (b) What’s the comp for Reds’ broadcasters, even if he’s part-time?
        (c) How much added value is created if Joey can improve the performance of young Reds at the plate?
        (d) How much value is created by JV’s personal glow/brand.
        Taking all these factors into account, JV doesn’t exert a fiscal drag.

        The catch in all this is that Joey hasn’t figured out Act 2 yet.

      • Michael E

        “You have to take away those options for Bell. He’s proved time and time again he doesn’t know how to handle it.”


  9. JB WV

    When he becomes a free agent how much demand will there be for a 40 year old, mediocre first baseman? If the Reds offer him $3 million that’s probably the most he can get. I love the guy but that’s reality. And he’s not going to have an increased role on another team.

  10. Frankie Tomatoes

    I don’t want to see Joey Votto in another uniform. That’s going to be weird.

    Does anyone know how to look up or maybe know the answer to how long someone played with one team before spending one final year somewhere else? What was the longest time? Votto would have to be close right?

    • Beaufort Red

      Who cares. These are the type of decisions the Reds have made that have historically been to the detriment of the team. 50 million the last to seasons for very little. Joey should understand, It’s a business.

      • Doug Gray

        I think that a lot of people care.

        And yes, the Reds didn’t get $50M of value the last two seasons. They also didn’t pay him all of money they should have for the excess value he provided early on in that contract. That’s just how it works. The team gets tons of excess value early on and then they overpay at the end. Votto earned every penny of his contract and probably got underpaid on the whole.

      • Tom Reeves

        Votto is one of the few players in baseball history who got a mega contract and actually performed better than the contract. It’s almost never worth it to sign a player to a mega contract.

      • greenmtred

        It’s a business, but it’s a business whose success is based entirely on the players. The sport caught people’s imagination–became the national passtime–because the players were not faceless cogs in a wheel but were, in many cases, larger than life. Legends. Joey Votto has been the face of the Reds for years and is one of the greatest players in franchise history, and he has shown extraordinary loyalty to the team during a period of general failure. To regard his place on the team next year as a business decision only is to deny what made baseball special.

      • Pete

        @green What you saying is it is a PR move. Nothing is necessarily wrong with that but there can be little doubt it is style (loyalty & respect) over substance (ability & durability). There is a price to be paid either way but we should be honest with ourselves.

        Is there any creative way to do both? Show respect to Joey but at the same time put together the best 26-man roster to win games – it will require imagination on a very high level but ultimately it is worth it.

      • greenmtred

        Pete: I’m not really saying that it’s a pr move, though the Reds pr people would, of course, use his return for pr. I’m saying that it’s a human move: baseball is a human game and humans have complex reasons for their decisions. But one of those reasons is reciprocal loyalty–something that many would say human decency demands: he was loyal to the Reds in an era when that is a rarity, and now he wants to give it a try for another season, preferably with the Reds. He could be a very effective ph, dh and occasional starter if his healing progresses well. I’m doubtful that he would, in that scenario, take many starts from CES, though any time he did start, the narrative here would immediately ramp up.

      • greenmtred

        As a footnote, I would say that loyalty and respect, as values, define substance.

      • VaRedsFan

        @Green. I don’t understand you saying he’s been loyal. He signed a 10 year contract. He was contractually obligated to be loyal.

        He has indeed been a great player, a great person, and a great teammate.

      • greenmtred

        He wasn’t forced to sign that contract. He certainly could have gotten a comparable or better offer from other teams–teams with better prospects of getting to the post-season. For that matter, he could have requested a trade. How many other superstars in the past several decades have stayed with one team for 17 years?

  11. SR

    Let’s look at Votto for the last 10 years. He is a perennial slow starter. Every year. Often sub .200 average for earlymonths and that is historically playing everyday to get in the groove. In no circumstances is he going to play everyday in 2024 so it’s possible he may never hit that stride, but Bell will wheel him out there, hoping he catches lightning in a bottle. The FO has to know the odds of him hitting well are not good at all.
    I see Votto as next years Miggy if they sign him, and he will take at bats away from younger players. He will be taking up space on the roster of a team trying to turn the corner and secure a playoff spot.

  12. Old-school

    Is Votto $7 million buyout part of 2024 budget or 2023 budget?

    • Jim Walker

      Count me clueless on this. I’ve read in the past that teams charge buyouts to the completed season (i.3. 2023) but I’ve seen articles and sites saying this year that pending buyouts will go against 2024.

      • Old-school

        Idk but logically it does seem like the 5 days after World Series is that transition period to declare 2023 v 2024 and any contractual agreements during those 5 days after the world series that commits money to 2024 are 2024 and any optional decision that shuts down a commitment to 2024 should be a 2023 thing

        I dont know

      • Old-school

        Prelim info I got is Votto buyout counts toward luxury tax for the Reds but not 2024 payroll. That would mean Votto is essentially already a FA and Reds can do what makes sense fiscally in constructing their roster for 2024

        Any accounting gurus or cba experts chime in.

      • Jim Walker

        You are making sense. What I recall from the past is that the Reds needed to put money toward the just ended season or it was going to negatively impact their revenue sharing position but the details have long since escaped me.

    • Colorado Red

      Does it matter?
      The Reds are not, nor will ever be, near the cap.
      I think it 2024, but it reality, it does not matter.

      • Jim Walker

        No, I don’t think it really matters (unless of course you are the Castellini’s and when it gets paid could result in less revenue sharing money 😉

    • Michael E

      Either way, it matters nothing.

      The Castellini lead group isn’t pushing any payroll limits in the next 100 years and they’ll be sure to remind us all of the 7 million lost to buyout Votto if/when they don’t sign any decent FA in November/December.

  13. JB

    Let him test free agency. I don’t see any teams willing to give him much or a starting gig. Yeah maybe he can catch on with a team that won’t make the playoffs but the Reds are young and getting younger. There will be plenty of guys to fill those 13 spots..

  14. JayTheRed

    If he could bat .250 on base of at least .320 and hit around 20 to 25 home runs then resign him at a lower deal.

    • Beaufort Red

      Snd if he doesn’t? You gonna cut him mid season?

      • Tom Reeves

        If he doesn’t it’s probably because he’s hurt and needs to on the IL. There are options beside cutting him.

    • mac624

      He’s not going to reach those benchmarks as a part time guy. At best, part time, he’s a .220 (maybe) with 15 to 17 HRs. His power plays to part time playing, but his average will not. Personally, I would like for the Reds to just take a wait and see approach. See what the market looks like and what else the Reds can do this winter and go from there. If it gets into January 2024 and Joey is still out there and there’s an open spot, then see if you can work a deal. .220 with 15ish HRs isn’t a terrible bench piece with his leadership and knowledge, but I think the Reds should swing higher at least early on this winter. By no means should they be scurrying about trying to please Joey Votto.

      • Broseph

        Probably the most reasonable approach I’ve read this far. For the franchise, Votto still matters. He’s back and forth my favorite Red to see play next to Larkin. Yet there should be no rush to fill a spot to appease Votto or the fans. Winning matters now.

        He still has value, can hit some HRs prob pull his Avg and OBP up a bit being near 100% now, but see what else’s is out there first, and if there is space, a $3-5M contact isn’t bad.

    • Optimist

      Carlos Santana was paid 6.75M this season essentially for that production with 600+ plate appearances. Joey will either have better % numbers but lower totals since he won’t get enough appearances, or he’ll retire/be released by mid-season.

  15. BK

    Melvin said it well in the other post, it really comes down to a medical decision. It is well within the realm of the possible that Votto will improve physically as he get further away from his shoulder surgery. None of us have insight into his prognosis, but the Red’s do. League average hitting works well in a bench role. Provided the price point is reasonable, this would be a relatively low-risk signing as Votto could be placed in the IL if his shoulder barks. However, having a player that could step into the lineup and deliver league average results while another starter is on the IL has value. Playoff teams typically have this level of depth.

    • Melvin

      I believe if Votto truly is healthy next year he will be more than a league average hitter for whatever it’s worth.

  16. Eddiek957

    I remember Davey C leaving the Reds and getting cut in spring training. Joey is done. Great career but his time has come. As I have said before I’d hate to see the Reds have to DFA Joey

  17. Jimbo44CN

    Such love shown on this site for one of the best players and best all around people to ever play for the Reds. A great represenative for the team and this town.
    OMG, bring him back next year and let him have the proper send off he deserves. As for being a poor defender? Baloney, he is just as good as any bench player in the league at first. God almighty haters gotta hate.

    • Beaufort Red

      Don’t you want to put the best players on the roster? The last 2 seasons Votto has received 50 million for little more than a below average player. We need the money for our weakness, starting pitching and the bullpen. We don’t need it to go to a below average DH. I’m a Reds fan not a Votto fan.

      • greenmtred

        You shouldn’t compare him to the best players on the roster, though: you should compare him to the likely 26th man.

    • VaRedsFan

      When is the last time you watched a Reds game with Votto @ 1st?
      It’s obvious that it’s been a while, or you would know.

    • doofus

      Joey Votto is allergic to leather. Hate has nothing to do with what is true. Seriously, why would the Reds want to pay someone millions just to be as good as any bench player?

      • greenmtred

        I saw him make a lot of decent plays, actually. He’s had years when he got in the habit of cutting off the second baseman on grounders and then be out of position to make a good throw. But I didn’t see that this season. He mostly handled what was hit to him and caught the throws from the infielders. You know–what first basemen do.

    • doofus

      So the Reds should spend millions for a player whose best years are behind him just to give him a proper send off in 2024?

    • Michael E

      The Reds are NOT the Yankees, they can’t afford to pay a has-been big money for nostalgia.

      Try to imagine, its mid April, 2024, Votto has been signed for lets say $14 million, he’s starting 5 days a week, hitting .180, strikeout rate around 30%, making us wonder if its Moustakas or Votto and Bell can’t help but plug him in because he WAS one of the best in the game.

      If you want to give up 3-6 wins next year, then pay Votto and regret it 22 weeks and be glad for 3 or 4 weeks when he actually goes on a little .400 4HR run a couple of times.

    • Michael E

      The love shown was when he was performing. The love shown by ownership AND fans was the $250 million plus he got along the way.

      This is baseball, not family, you can be nostalgic and lose big or be wise and win big, moving on even before maybe you should.

      I still am fond and respectful of Joey Votto, the all-star, but he is NOT that person any more. He is a civilian now, not a full-time MLB player, much less anything resembling an all-star.

      Save that money and go ahead and try to extend EDLC, CES, McClain, buying out arb years and one or two years of FA…like a SMART, non-nostalgic franchise, say, the Braves. Give those guys $50, 60 or 70 million or whatever for 7 or 8 years.

      • Michael E

        oh and try to extend Abbott if possible, but focus on the hitters as we know pitchers can and do get injuries, still if you can cost-control Abbott and lock him up for next 7 or 8 seasons, do it.

  18. Brian Rutherford

    I would love to have him back if it doesn’t break the bank. He was great with the other players and I think that would continue.

    He has never shown selfishness with the fans and I would say has shown the opposite. He loves the City and the franchise and whenever he is on national shows he always speaks highly of the fans experience here.

    Give JDV, not Colin Moran, Vossler, Newman, etc. He is way more valuable to the team in many ways.

    • VaRedsFan

      What if he hits like Moran/Vossler?

      • greenmtred

        That’s a risk you take with 26th men. That guy, on any team, isn’t going to be a star.

      • BK

        Put him on the 60-day IL because he’s hurt.

  19. AJ from Hamilton

    RLN commentators seem to be split pretty evenly on whether to bring JV back, presumably for a few million above the $7m he’s owed whether he comes back or not. I understand both sides of the argument, but assuming he’s amenable to a part-time role (and I can’t imagine another team offering him a starting gig), mostly pinch hitting and maybe DHing once or twice a week at most, I would be for bringing him back. I do think the shoulder injury had a lot to do with his sub-par performance in 2022-23. What I’d like to see, though, is Votto signing a minor league contract and using spring training in effect to make the team. Then perhaps the salary could be tied to at bats, home runs, whatever. This might seem disrespectful and he might not accept the offer, but the point would be to ensure he’s healthy and swinging the bat well by March 28. Ideally, he makes the team, hits 15-20 home runs with a decent batting average, and he becomes an integral part of a winning team, going out with a much louder bang than he does if he quits now. The Reds ought to be able to market this last year in somewhat the same way the Cardinals did with Pujols a few years ago.

    If the Reds don’t make JV this sort of offer, I would be surprised if Toronto doesn’t.

    • VaRedsFan

      It’s not about the $$$… It’s about production. It’s about taking time away from more productive players. It would be about Bell giving him too much playing time no matter how bad he is. (Moose/Meyers/Renfroe/Bader).
      You have to take away those options for Bell. He’s proved time and time again he doesn’t know how to handle it.

      • wkuchad

        I think he’s proved more times than not Bell does know how to handle it – look at 2023 as a whole.

    • Michael E

      The key point you left out. Could David Bell manage this right? I fear he starts Votto way too often while hungry young hitters, needing the ABs to improve, are picking splinters out of their thighs. Bell, like quite a few managers, love veterans, no matter how truly AWFUL they are. Votto is decent, but he won’t get better than the 2023 version, which is just barely replacement level.

  20. Amarillo

    He’s still much better than whatever Quad-A waiver wire type they’d pick up when someone inevitably gets injured.
    It’s not like we are close to our payroll capacity. We could still pay a high tier starter, a decent outfielder, a set-up man, and Votto and we would still have a payroll less than this year.

    • Colorado Red

      No, he is now the AAA waiver wire type player.
      No better.

      • Amarillo

        He was a league average hitter this year.

      • Pete

        He was a 37th best hitter at first base. Hardly league average, considering the position that he plays

      • Jim Walker

        @Pete, Votto’s 2023 OPS+ was 99. 100 is league mean/ average. By the numbers, he was 1% below the mean. That’s still a marginal league average offensive player, regardless of where he ranked among any specific position.

      • Melvin

        Not bad for a guy coming back from major shoulder surgery.

      • Pete

        Jim, but he is a first baseman/DH not a second baseman, shortstop, centerfielder or catcher. He plays at a position that puts a premium on offensive production, and he’s not doing that very well. I think we are talking apples and oranges here. What we have to ask her sales says, what is the replacement cost?

      • Amarillo

        @Pete the replacement cost is watching our franchise icon playing for another team and Big Bob cheaping out by not reinvesting his 13MM elsewhere.
        I’d rather have Votto as the last guy on the roster than a Jason Vosler type. Also remember the reason Benson started performing was because Votto helped him fix his swing. Having him on hitting coach duties is valuable.

  21. Mark Moore

    As I noted on the other thread about this topic, I’m torn. I don’t want to see Employee #19 in another uniform, but he’s definitely succumbed to Father Time. I don’t want to see him taking playing time from the young core. But when he’s on, he’s a treat to watch.

    My bigger concern is with HDTBell treating him as a “favorite toy” regardless of how he’s playing until an outside force is applied. But you all know my level of appreciation and trust for our illustrious Field Manager.

    • Beaufort Red

      He said he doesn’t care if he has to sign with another team. Why should we care. We gave him a $50,000,000 send off the last 2 years. That’s a lot of zeros for what the Reds got.

      • Optimist

        As Doug noted above, the contract wasn’t 50M for the past 2 years, it was 225M/10 year contract, which he performed far more than capably. The Reds have no complaints about the value they received.

      • Beaufort Red

        Doesn’t matter, it’s time to move on. Sentimentality is not a recipe for success.

      • Harry Stoner

        Neither is knee-jerk “practicality”, or whatever that means.

      • VaRedsFan

        @Optimist – He hasn’t earned his large salary since 2017. So the last 6 seasons, by my count.

      • wkuchad

        VaReds, if you’re wanting to look at individual years, Votto certainly earned his keep in 2018 and especially 2021.

    • Redsvol

      this describes my feelings to a point. I would like him in a very limited role because the team is really void of veterans and could use a couple. But I do wonder how much of a mentor JV really is. A player with his resume is bound to be selfish.

      But it is kind of embarrassing to see JV hack at fast balls he has no hope of getting around on.

      I am not concerned with Bell. He sat JV a ton and/or pinch hit for him during this season where he never would before. If its a 200-300 at bat DH role at 3M$ salary then its probably ok. But I wonder if we should just move on. I’m so torn….

      • greenmtred

        For what it’s worth, a number of players have said that Votto has helped them.

  22. CI3J

    I think it would be nice to have Votto back in a much reduced role.

    Logically, no, the Reds shouldn’t want him back and should use the money they’d spend on him to shore up other parts of the team.

    But nostalgically, I agree with what Votto said: Him going out like this leaves a bad taste. I don’t know for sure that if Votto is given one last chance that he could have a renaissance season where he hits 25 HR with a .280 AVG and .380 OBP, but darn it, I’m willing to give him a shot.

    The Reds have Steer and CES that can play 1B, so it’s not like Votto fills a position of need. But if he can be productive offensively, the team could make room for him as a DH/Bench Bat/1B, in that order.

    So I say give it a shot. Buy him out, and see if he’d be willing to come back for $5M or so. I doubt he’d get a better offer anywhere else, and he doesn’t seem keen on testing the FA waters anyway.

  23. Optimist

    A few comments –

    1 – Salary is likely the least of Joey’s concerns – he won’t play for free, but close;
    2 – Salary is likely not an issue for the Reds – whatever the amount, another team won’t offer an extreme premium;
    3 – I doubt Joey wants to play on a team so bad it would give him 400+ ABs – there are no guarantees, but there are teams that are so bad that would happen;
    4 – Give him an incentive loaded contract (if MLBPA permits) essentially for every 100 ABs; because
    5 – I share his belief that he wants to see if he’s wholly recovered, and if not, I expect he’d retire mid-season, in which case he’d be paid for performance.
    6 – I expect he would be fully recovered, thus a bargain for $5m or less.

    • Melvin

      ” Give him an incentive loaded contract (if MLBPA permits)”

      Sounds wise.

  24. IndyRedsFan

    Question: Doesn’t he HAVE to say he wants to come back in order to get the buyout?

    If there was no option involved, he was just under contract for 20 Million next year, and he said “I plan to retire”, the Reds wouldn’t owe him the $20M.

    So, it seems to me that he has to play the “I’d like to come back” game in order to get the $7 million buyout.

    • Optimist

      IIRC the deadline in such team option clauses is on the Reds – it’s not a mutual option – either select the 20M, or pay him the 7M. Even if not, why wouldn’t he say, essentially, sure – pay me 7M

      • Jim Walker

        I agree with what optimist said. The option is a team only option. They have to pay Votto either $7m or otherwise the contract automatically renews at $20m for 1 year then ends.

        He would be a fool to retire before the option call date. They owe him the money for services already rendered as part of the guaranteed portion of the contract. Like it or not that is how things work on these options.

    • Harry Stoner

      Of course, Votto has to make the call from his side.

      The seeming surpise here is surprising.

      There’s the typcial from any number of RLN types:

      “I know this is all wrong, because I was a business manager….(while my companies went bankrupt time and again….)!’


      “I was in the military for XXX years and baseball should be run like my USMC command….!”

      or whatever.

      But of course it isn’t, nor were most of the fantasies of the great life in early retirees’ imaginations.

      Only the most thick headed amongst us would have guessed that Votto wouldn’t want to return in 2024.

      I doubt Krall demonstrates either the impatience or thick-headedness of RLN critics and will work a reasonable way through this.

      It’s not like this is his trade for Minor or Dunn or signing of Pham or Myers or…..

      • Jim Walker

        Normally I am glad we are spared talking about politics here but in this case wouldn’t it be nice to able to say, I hope the Castellini(s) and Krall have more sense than (name of some politician) when (he/ she) did (whatever dealing with whichever).

  25. Indy Red Man

    When it’s over it’s over. Joey don’t make us get a restraining order

  26. Tim

    I would like to see Joey for one more season and watch him next post season. He’s great for this team if young players. He’s entertaining and that’s why I watch sports. When his shoulder wasn’t bothering him he hit HRs at his best rate of his career. 30 HRs next year as a DH would be really fun. IMHO

    • doofus

      His .200 BA, poor defense and TOOTBLANs are not entertaining.

  27. Hanawi

    There is real faction of the Reds’ fanbase that will never love and appreciate the highest-paid guys on the team. Griffey was the same way. My impression is that it goes back to the “Charlie Hustle” ethos and many Reds fans would be happier if they put 9 Ryan Freel types out there even if it led to fewer wins. Maybe it’s just jealousy that Joey got paid what he did. Regardless, Joey more than earned his contract over its life, something rarely achieved in baseball at the top end of the market.

    I also think its enlightening that many of the arguments against him coming back are because of the manager’s poor decision-making. Joey at $3 million on top of the $7 million he is owed would be a benefit to the team. But, he has to be a part-time player. I’d rather do that and find a new manager if we can’t have both.

    • Jim Walker

      Well, buy out the current manager and make Votto the playing manager at his own discretion to quit playing himself like Rose did.

    • doofus

      How would a 40-something year old player be a benefit to this team? I do not believe that his 2023 numbers are good enough to justify him taking a lineup or roster spot away from CES or Steer.

      The argument that he will provide veteran leadership from the bench does not wash with me, when Krall can go out and get a younger veteran outfielder (a position of need) to fill that role.

  28. Brian Rutherford

    Baseball is special for me as a sports fan because of the nostalgia. No other sport allows you to spend so much time with a person on your favorite team. Baseball has a tradition of honoring players who have been with the team for a long time and I hope they give JDV that chance. In case you haven’t read it this is an excerpt from C. Trent’s article in the Athletic regarding Joey Votto:

    “The day before the last game in Cincinnati, I thought, ‘this might be my last game playing in Cincinnati,’” Votto said during his radio interview. “So I was sitting on my couch at home the night before playing ‘Landslide’ by Fleetwood Mac probably about 15 times in a row, and that part that says, ‘I’ve been afraid of changing because I’ve built my life around you.’ I played that like 15 times and I was bawling thinking about the end of tenure, the end of my relationship with the Cincinnati Reds and the fan base, with the experience. So, yeah, that was the last time I cried and I cried hard, pretty hard.” Run it back one more time

    • Votto4life

      Retirement is always a difficult decision. I felt much the same way about my employer when I retired a few years ago. They give you a card, some punch, a slice of cake and then that’s it. There should be more.

      I hope Joey does play somewhere else next season. I also hope the fans there appreciate him more than Reds fans. He deserves better.

    • doofus

      JV should have listened to “Don’t Stop,” focusing on the line “Yesterday’s Gone, Yesterday’s Gone” 25 times!

  29. Kevin H

    I like Votto and he is a sure bet hall of fame in my opinion. I, however think his time in cincy is done. Reds have the potential for a great infield and Votto doesn’t fit.

    I do wish him well as it’s cool that he is still playing major league baseball at age 40.

  30. RedFuture

    Since there is a DH spot, he can split time between first and DH. Since his career average PAs are 514 and his OPS is .920, I can see giving him a chance to earn the extra $13M by incentive. For each 100 PAs he gets $2.5M for OPS of .920+, $2M for OPS of .820+, $1.5M for OPS of .720+ and $1M for OPS less than .720.

  31. RedBB

    Votto or Senzel for $3M? Easy decision Votto. Plus he will put seats in the stands and will serve as a Veteran force.

      • Michael E

        my vote, unless Votto plays for not much more than the $7mil buyout and takes a very reduced role of pinch-hitter and once a week starter.

    • SR

      Not such an easy decision in my mind. Senzel hits right handed, beats on left handed pitching, can play the outfield and most all infield positions .And he still runs well. Votto can play first and DH, as can Strand, Steer and Stephenson for that matter. I’m not ignoring the history and legacy of Votto, but at some point, the team has to acknowledge his skill sets are eroding. I don’t want to see a shell of the JDV we watched through the years struggling with fastballs he used to hammer or waving with futility at breaking balls or off speed pitches which is what we saw in 2023. Yes, he hit 14 homers off of mostly mistakes and his instincts and skills were good enough to capitalize but that isn’t what a bench guy profile should look like. I don’t want to watch Joey do a Pete Rose on us and hang on past his ex date. He will be another 6 months old by Spring training and skill erosion hits at a lot steeper pace as we advance in age.
      Here’s what I see happening the Reds will sign him. He will make the OD roster and the festivities will begin for his last year. He will play sparingly and his results, if poor,will send him back to rehab, but he will stay and travel with the team and be on and off the roster with lingering injuries, like he did this past year. If the reds trade left handed hitting(Benson and or Fraley) or try to make an outfielder out of EDLC, or deal India or some other infielder, then roster dynamics change and a Votto becomes more viable.

  32. William

    If Votto is medically healthy, give him a reduced contract that is team friendly. I will take his word that he is not finished, but I am not without doubt. Let him know that he will not be starting first baseman. He will get some playing time.

  33. MBS

    .202 BA / No, He’s selling out for power because that’s the only thing he has left.

    Votto may be healthier, and better next year, and he may prove me wrong. I wouldn’t put my money on it, or advise Krall to put the teams money on it. It will also be hard for us to DFA a Reds hall of famer.

    Maybe the Jays sign him, and JV gets to experience playing for his hometown. That also seems like a fun way to end a career.

  34. PTBNL

    If he is on the Opening Day 40, David Bell will defer to him, as he does all vets, and play him more than probably he is capable of. Really doubt DB will make him a full time bench piece. It is not in his nature with how he plays vets.

    How about put him on the TV and radio rotating roster of broadcasters (he now has experience doing that ;)). On the days he is not broadcasting make him a Reds ambassador and a roving hitting instructor in the minors.

    • greenmtred

      The Reds were consistently playing five or more rookies for most of the year and had one of the youngest lineups in baseball. I’d repeat that if I thought it would help jog people’s memories of the very recent past.

  35. Votto4life

    It makes me chuckle when I read some of the comments here. It’s amazing there are still people here who actually believe the Castellinis will reinvest any savings from Joey Votto’s contract back into the team. As P.T. Bartum said “there is one born every minute”.

    After reading comments here over the past year, I realize Reds fans don’t deserve Joey Votto, or EDLC or Matt McLain or Andrew Abbott or any other player.

    Here’s hoping the Castellinis sell the team and the new owner moves it to a city that appreciates baseball.

    • Pete

      I’m betting the Castellini’s’s pick up Joey Votto‘s option. This being said one of the most heart wrenching moments following baseball for over 60 years is the day that Willie Mays decided to hang it up. In my opinion, Mays was the most exciting baseball player ever on a baseball field.His wRc+ his final season was 89 and a WAR of 0.4. Just one year earlier it was it was 132 and 1.8, the year before 157 and 5.9.

      How could a guy that was a superstar two years before he retired call it quits so suddenly in my mind. Because the Mays that you saw on the field was not the player we were used to. I think Joey Votto is showing signs of this as well. I’m praying for him because I do believe he’s coming back. I do not want him to embarrass himself on the field, as I’m sure none of us are.

  36. Tom Mitsoff

    I have not read all of the above comments, so if someone has already made these points, my apologies. I’m fine with Votto coming back as a player who will play if he earns playing time with 2024 merit and not previous achievements. I realize there are those who will point to the fact that he has some decent non-legacy statistics in the last couple of years, but I still trust my eyes, and he is only a small fraction of the hitter he used to be. And on defense, he hasn’t been good for awhile.

    If he and the team can agree on some number between $7 and $20 million to return to the Reds, with the understanding that he will earn playing time based on what he displays in 2024, that’s great. But I believe this team will be in contention in 2024, and to have a non-producing player getting important at-bats due only to his past achievements only is not okay in my book.

    I attended the famous Johnny Bench night in 1983 when he hit a home run on his night. He had already announced his retirement, and the team was pretty bad. It was a glorious night of nostalgia, and I absolutely hope the Reds have a similar night for Votto at some point, because he absolutely deserves it. He also deserves to make the grand tour as the great ones do prior to retirement. But based on what we know at this moment, he is not an everyday major league player any longer. The Reds should make it clear that if he returns, he will receive everyday playing time at first base or DH if his 2024 performance indicates that he should. If he is happy with being a reserve and mentor to young players, that would be fine with me — unless a better lefthanded batting bench option exists that he is blocking.

    • BK

      Well said Tom. The Reds should attempt to resign him IF they think he’ll help the team. It would be a colossal error to get nostalgic in 2024. The Reds medical staff will earn their money on assessing him physically. The Castellini’s can rebuild some trust by leaving the call with the Baseball Ops pros.

    • Mark Moore

      I found some spare points in the cushions, so +2,346 for you, Tom!

    • Melvin

      “The Reds should make it clear that if he returns, he will receive everyday playing time at first base or DH if his 2024 performance indicates that he should.”

      I have no problem with that.

  37. Jeremiah

    My opinion, if Votto wants to try to play one more year, I think he should do it whether it’s with the Reds or with another team. I think from his standpoint, he probably thinks he’d like to see if he could be better with a healthy offseason, and a guy even hitting 240, with a 340 OBP and power has value still, especially someone with his experience. He doesn’t want to go out like he did in 2023 where he was basically rehabbing half the year to get back in playing shape.

    But, I also don’t think the Reds don’t owe Votto anything as far as appeasing his desire to still play. He made a ton of money for the Reds. I don’t think they owe him a spot or should give him 10-15 million based on his “legacy.”

    It sadly rarely ends how you want it to as a legendary player. Think of even Tom Brady. The greatest of all time he had to basically kind of be forced out in some ways.

    If they buy him out, I think then maybe they could resign him adding a few million to the contract for 9 million a year. Even that sounds pretty generous.

    The big thing is does he make them better as a part time lefty power guy? I don’t know honestly. Does he take away from the young guys developing? Sometimes I think the Reds need to completely move on from the 2021 group, having traded Winker, Castellanos, now potentially trading India, and letting Votto go.

    I think this needs to be Steer, Mcclain, CES, Marte’s, Benson’s core squad overall. But I think they do need some veteran leadership as well. I don’t really think Votto is that guy as much as I appreciate him.

    It would be a little weird to see Votto play on another team. But hey, he only gets to do this once. If he signs with Toronto, Boston, etc., I’d love to see him win a World Series and go out with a bang.

    It’s kind of a tough situation all around. I’m a little more open to him returning if works financially then I was earlier in the year. But we will see, it should be very interesting. Let’s just hope he doesn’t like sign with the Brewers! : )

    • David

      Joey Votto has been a great player for the Reds for a lot of years; not quite all 17 years he has been a Red, but most of them.
      He will still be a great guy when he retires.
      He’s 40 years old, has a reconstructed left shoulder, batted barely over 0.200 for the year, and ….he wants to play next year for 9 or 10 million dollars?

      In what world does this make any real sense?

      • greenmtred

        In what world does the amount of money dedicated to professional sports make any sense? Your question is a fair one, but the decision about Votto, while money will be a consideration, probably hinges on other factors as well.

    • Melvin

      I actually think having Votto will be good for all the young guys. They all greatly admire his work ethic. It’s quite obvious that they not only watch but listen intently to what he has to say.

  38. Old-school

    Article in the Enquirer today from Wittenmyer and i dont agree with his conclusion to pick up votto’s $20 mil option.

    Nonetheless, he interviewed reds VP of business operations Karen Forgus and its a 180 degree PR move from Phil.

    She was effusive in her praise of Votto the player person and brand and his connection to the fans of Cincinnati and how that helped the Reds bottom line. She stated categorically ownership is loyal and financially reds had a great year and ownership will take gains and reinvest in baseball operations next year. Wittenmyer said there could be a significant increase in budget.

    Krall “everything factors in with Joey”

    Last quote from Forgus on Votto

    “ I dont think theres going to be a bad outcome”

    • Jim Walker

      Sounds like the Reds semi official reply to Votto that they want him back with assurances to the public that what they spend to bring him back will not handcuff the team financially from making other moves they would have made without him.

      I guess it all comes down to getting onto the same page on time and money. The team may want agreement it is one (more) and done along with cooperation on a farewell campaign to monetize and maximize the return on attendance and merchandise sales.

      • Melvin

        If Votto DOES have a good year I suspect he’ll most likely want to play another year after 2024.

      • Jim Walker

        Melvin>> We don’t know how Votto’s shoulder and other unseen injuries compare to where Pujols was at age 40. However, outwardly Votto is clearly in better physical shape than Pujols who posted an .895 OPS/ 151 OPS+ in 307PAs during his cameo final season with the Cardinals at age 42.

  39. VaRedsFan

    It’s not about the $$$ they may or not give Votto… It’s about production. It’s about taking time away from more productive players. It would be about Bell giving him too much playing time no matter how bad he is. (Doolittle/Strickland/Moose/Meyers/Renfroe/Bader).

    You have to take away those options for Bell. He’s proved time and time again he doesn’t know how to handle it.

  40. AMDG

    I have to wonder how his continued playing affects his HOF chances.

    After his first dozen season, he was a Hall of Fame candidate based on his elite rates.

    He was roughly top 30 all time in OPS+, top 20 all time in OBP, and was producing about 5 WAR per season.

    But his offensive struggles the past 5 seasons have diminished those once elite rates, while not moving any of the stat accumulation totals to elite levels.

    He has lowered his rates to the point where he is just slightly above the group of “very good, but not quite HOF” guys like Jason Giambi, Jack Clark, Brian Giles, Will Clark, etc. Another bad season could secure his spot with them as guys on the outside looking in.

    • Jay

      I agree he’s borderline without any really conspicuous stats, but I don’t think playing longer hurts him. He has higher WAR than any of the other players you mentioned and compares favorably to HOF standards at 1st Base. His cumulative WAR could go down slightly like it did this season but that’s not going to put him in a different class. And they are going to see that his peak WAR7 is outstanding. .. But if he plays another season and hits 30HR, not a totally crazy thing to imagine, he hit 14 in half a season this year – well everyone is going to remember Joey Votto and give him credit and benefit of doubt if ever his name is next to another borderline guy on the ballot. .. I think most people believe Votto when he says he’s more preoccupied with winning a WS with the Reds than he is with HOF and retirement rumors. If it actually happened and Votto was a contributing factor in a Reds’ championship, yeah that sure does help his HOF case.

  41. doofus

    JV should take his 7MM and ride off into the sunset. Become a Mounty or dh for the Saskatoon Roughriders.

  42. Indy Red Man

    “When Votto is healthy”. I keep reading that from his supporters. That’s the problem with aging though? You’re always dinged up when you try to compete with young guys.

    Votto is also a lefty and Bell can’t help himself with a league full of righties. He has OCD I think? Bell doesn’t even like his 2nd oldest because they’re both right-handed.
    Votto gets atleast 250 Mendoza’s next year when he’s not on IL

    • Jim Walker

      Indy>> I am not going to worry about Bell until I feel certain he is going to be there to worry about; and right now, I haven’t quite shaken the feeling that contract or not, Bell’s future might not be as settled as it seems.

      A lot happened in the last couple of weeks of the season. Bell managed the team to a 4-8 finish against opposition an 8-4 finish would not have been all that remarkable against; and, a 6-6 finish, good enough for the playoffs as things turned out, certainly could have and should have been accomplished.

      Meanwhile, Nick Krall was promoted to President of Baseball Operations. Just as notably, Brad Meador who goes back to 2009 with the Reds was promoted from a limited scope VP and Assistant GM (for Player Scouting and Player Development) to Senior VP and General Manager. Additionally, Sam Grossman is an Assistant GM VP. The Reds have two other VP’s, one covering Player Personnel and the other Player Development.

      So where does this leave David Bell the ambitious young guy who wanted an office in the management suites when he was named manager so he could participate in player acquisition, development, and evaluation decisions? If he were a player, I think we’d say he was blocked. What we can say with reasonable certainty is he is the field manager reporting to the GM/ Sr. VP. until we hear differently.

      • Melvin

        ” I haven’t quite shaken the feeling that contract or not, Bell’s future might not be as settled as it seems.”

        Now there’s a refreshing thought. 🙂

      • Roger Garrett

        Yeah I like your points Jim but Bells history as manager and his new 3 year deal speak volumes to me.We can look at his tenure and all the pros and cons but it matters little at all cause as you said he is until he isn’t.I believe and maybe its because I want to that Krall just did what he was told to do regarding the 3 year extension.It was obvious that Krall purged the roster time after time of players Bell insisted on playing that were not performing and it has been so obvious.Big time disconnect with Krall and Bell for sure yet he gives him a 3 year deal.Bell has a job until he doesn’t want a job and after you laid it out as maybe he is now blocked that basically says 3 more years for Bell.I just want the Reds to win titles not just compete or have winning records so I really don’t care who the manager is but again Bell is until he isn’t

      • Jim Walker

        Melvin>> After being the public face of the team day to day through the seaosn, as far as I can tell Bell just disappeared with the player after the last game. Unless I have missed it here or in the Enquirer or elsewhere online, there was no post season exit presser/ look ahead like often even typically happens. Nothing on the coaches etc.

        So now it will probably all break between some of the series; but, it seems strange when we are hearing announcements from other teams.

      • Melvin

        We can only hope. 😉 Wouldn’t that be a great pleasant surprise to hear that Bell has moved on to another position and that Krall and company will do a REAL extensive search this time for a manager not related or like family in any way to Big Bob & Son. It would seam strange after singing him to a three year extension as manager but hey…..the Reds are known for doing “strange things” right?

      • Harry Stoner

        Shuffling stats and reading tea leaves about Bell being sidelined is about as viable as all the hocus pocus / OPsing around to try and promote Fairchild as a viable starting outfielder.

        Appreciation for all the great RLN contributions isn’t diminished by a few red herrings.

        We’re stuck with Bell.

        Fairchild is AAA-1/2 at best.

        Reality reading is rising.

      • Old-school

        I dont understand this narrative.

        Truth- Nick Krall runs baseball operations.
        David Bell is THE manager with a multi-year contract. Redshad a good year with strong attendance and great fan base.

        Reds ownership/FO/and business/marketing are all on the same ship. Don’t understand how anyone can claim differently

      • Jim Walker

        @Harry/ OS
        And what if I had written in the 1st week of October 2020 that something didn’t seem settled about Dick William’s situation ahead of his bombshell resignation on Oct 7, 2020? I didn’t of course because that situation was apparently held very tightly between Williams and Bob Castellini right up until Williams announced it as official.

        All I said here was despite Bell having the contract, I couldn’t quite put aside the feeling that something unsettling might be going on behind the scenes.

        Since Bell came to the Reds there has been talk he had a future beyond managing on the field with the organization. Now the reorganization of the front office would seem to have closed those upwardly mobile paths for him. Nick Krall is 45. Brad Meador is 48. Bell just turned 51. That’s two guys younger than Bell with longer tenure in the organization than Bell between him and the spot he might have really in mind when he “came home” to the Reds.

        He would not be the first person to decide to leave a seemingly settled and stable situation in search of greener pastures after seeing their organizational future painted on the wall in such a fashion.

      • Dean

        Jim … Dick Williams did not “resign.” That was a PR move to help him save face. He was never qualified for the job and was a posterchild for nepotism. Easily the worst GM in Reds history.

  43. Rick

    If JV wants to play for one more season that is fine, but not with the Reds. JV has been paid handsomely for his past career, you don’t pay forward for past deeds for an aged out, often injured player rendering diminishing returns.
    I doubt that JV would play elsewhere because he wouldn’t be the big fish in a bigger pond at this career stage with a new team.
    I’ve read some say that he’d be the 26th man(not making 7-20 Mil) money dictates status, always has, always will. Bell, would play him enough to try and eclipse Bench’s team HR title at the expense of other capable players.
    We need to be locked & Loaded to make the playoffs, and to win and advance in the playoffs. Our roster needs to be constructed as such, and to also limit Bell’s sentimental heartstring playing time. Pinch hitting, doubleheader starts would suit a limited role at best.
    Re: The playoffs;
    JV- 11 games
    47 AB’s/ 41 OAB’s
    (1) SF rbi in 2010
    10 singles
    12 K’s
    .244 avg.
    563 OBS%

    His lone rbi was in the 2010 playoffs at when I think he was 27 yrs of age.

    As as soon as a lefty regular goes on the IL, or sits out a few games dinged up, Bell would increase his AB’s vs right handed pitchers.

    • Pharmer85

      Exactly right. JV needs to step aside for the good of the team. Remember, he’s said he wants to play “”at least” one more year, so this thing could drag on for another year or two. Time to cut bait.

      • Rick

        Yes, the absolute appropriate time with all things considered.
        We’ve got a new chapter that has started off pretty good, and it needs to be about them. In 2034 even the media sessions needs to be focused on MM, Steer & Co. Not a sentimental season journey. Let the young guys work and build their own team chemistry without wondering is this still the once superstars team?? Or, be answering questions daily about Votto.
        Cut the cord, fix a stout roster and make the playoffs, win and advance. THE MAIN GOAL!

      • Rick

        Yeah, that “at least” part seems clear to me about chasing Bench and Larry Walker, and it suggests thst it may exceed one more year to accomplish. In all walks of life above the mandaine anyway, the end of careers can be about legacy building, dependant on one’s own personal value system in the (behavioral science aspect). Whether it’s
        a sports superstar, end of term Presidents, Governor’s, Bill Gates types etc. etc. hence, personal goals.

  44. Rick

    It’s being reported that the Cardinals will be in hard pursuit of one or two of, Blake Snell, Aaron Nola and Sonny Gray this offseason.
    With 3 million in attendance annually, and deep coffers, you can bet that both the Cards & Cubs will spend and upgrade their rosters. We must be diligent in our efforts to augment a good competitive roster, and especially in both our rotation and bp. And our reserve position players should be carefully selected to platoon with Benson in RF, and with Fraley at DH.
    Back to the pitching, it would absolutely suck to see Sonny in a Cardinals uniform. And, I hope that they strikeout on all 3 of those starters, highly unlikely though.

    • David

      The Cardinals organization was basically “humiliated” by their season in 2023. They will NOT stand pat. They will do SOMETHING. If the Reds want another Starting Pitcher for 2024 (which they do need!!!!), then they need to get on the stick and get going, because the Cards and the Cubs WILL do something. They have the money and motivation.
      The Cards want to be competitive and winning in 2024, and the Cubs might feel they are just a couple of pitchers away from being divisional contenders (and they probably are right about that).

      • Rick

        In my long baseball life, and especially with our Reds being in the same division, that when the Cards have a clunker of a season they then go top shelve shopping.
        Cubs will too.
        We have to be proactive early in our pursuit of really good talent that will add WAR. A top end starter should be priority one and then work down from there.
        Starting Pitcher
        2- RP’s(backend caliber lefty & righty)
        RH- OF

      • Optimist

        I’ll be cutting and pasting this comment for most of the off season –

        “3 obvious, oft repeated goals for the off season –
        1 – get a good to great starter (Sonny?!?!), likely only via FA.?
        2 – get a proven MLB power-hitting outfielder (may be available via trade)?
        3 – get a new managing partner”

  45. AMDG

    Votto playing next year would be good for Votto.
    (There are 20 million reasons why this is the case)

    But, considering he is coming off back-to-back negative WAR seasons, and is averaging less than 1.0 WAR over the past 5 years…

    Votto playing next year would not be good for the Reds.

  46. Jay

    I don’t blame Votto for wanting to keep playing and I think he is still a viable baseball player, but the politics of the money are that a thrifty team in a thrifty town dropped an incredible contract on him, out of character, and beyond anything they have ever done before or perhaps ever again will. None of his prospective teammates have that to look forward to and it’s a disruptive novelty. I do think Votto is worth a little bit more than his projected 2024 performance on paper, especially to the Reds where he provides some continuity as well as star appeal, a little bit of prestige and happy memories if he somehow has a great 2024 season that pushes him to HOF as career Red. But short of that unlikely turn, his value is significantly less than the 7M buyout. If the Reds don’t begrudge that, I sure do. I wish him well and thank him for his service, but I don’t want him back under anything other than a conspicuously conciliatory team friendly deal, like renegotiate that contract before the option transpires and play next year for whatever Jonathan India gets in arbitration, less if he wants to be a “hero”. Joey Votto has made plenty of money and it has never jived with me that he is coy about it.

    • Optimist

      How is he “coy” about it? Seems like he and the Reds completely recognize the facts of the situation; namely, he’ll get the $7m buyout, and it will come down to a Reds decision to either offer him $2-4M for 2024, or wish him well in free agency. Another team may offer him a bit more, but it’s very unlikely it will matter – it’s largely the Reds decision if they want to make a roster spot available.

  47. Michael E

    Bring him back if and only IF he renegotiates that $20 million down to say 10-12 million. They’d be out 7 million with buyout, but 20 million is waaaaaay too much for a part time player that is more frequently injury prone these days. I don’ much care if he retires a Red. He can if he wants, but if he has to hang on past his due date, then let him move on and put up career worst stats for Oakland/CWS/Detroit or something.

    If he wont renegotiate, buy him out and move on. I thought he’d be smart enough to bough out while still mildly productive, but he seems content to run it back until he’s hitting .190 with a .420 slugging percentage.

    You don’t bring him back for full option salary due to the cost, but also due to the fact you’d HAVE to start a $20 million player over more deserving youngsters. Its would be BAD for development of one or two players, like CES and Marte.

  48. Dean

    Any informed Reds follower would know how this ends. Votto signs 1-year, incentive laden deal for league minimum. Mutual understanding this is not a “farewell tour” or “give you 400 at-bats to see if you can perform.”
    Votto is broken. If his shoulder didn’t recover over time, why would it now? Everyone breaks down physically as they age. When he loads up on the fastball, he can square it, but pitchers will mix it up enough to keep him under .200 and is power will naturally taper.
    I badly want Joey to be part of this group of players who may be able to make the playoffs in 2024, but I just don’t see him having much value.
    Some time in mid-June, with the Reds toiling around .500, he will announce he is retiring, play a final homestand, and probably end his career with a walk or line drive hit to left field.
    I am not betting against Votto. I am simply acknowledging that Father Time always wins, and he really beat Joey 2 years ago.