Saturday morning the Cincinnati Reds announced that they would not be picking up Joey Votto’s option for the 2024 season. Later on the media spoke with President of Baseball Operations Nick Krall about the decision, where he noted that it “wasn’t about the money” but that the club didn’t have the playing time for Votto. This morning it was Votto’s turn to talk, though he didn’t chime in on the decision. What he did do was talk to, and thank Cincinnati and Reds fans.

Here’s the transcript from the video:

“Hey, Happy Sunday morning.”

“I wanted to speak directly to you all. After yesterday’s news, I just wanted to say thank you. If this is the last time I’ll play as a Cincinnati Red I want to speak out loud my gratitude. I want to thank the community. I want to thank Cincinnati for being so welcoming. I’m from Toronto, Canada, and when I came to the US as an 18-year-old it was an intimidating experience. I grew comfortable and eventually made it to Cincinnati. And that was another intimidating experience.”

“It blossomed into the best stretch of my entire life. And it’s because of the Cincinnati community that I felt welcomed. The people on the street that would say hello, that would wish me and the team well. The first responders in the community that were always available and made me feel safe and cared for.”

“Coming from a big city, it was such an enjoyable experience living the daily routine in Cincinnati. The travel to and from, seeing familiar faces on the street, driving through the city. It’s like I never once got to know how Cincinnati’s road were, no matter if I used the maps tool on my phone or my car – but it was such a charming experience. I laughed about it this summer, about how I still didn’t recognize some of the roads and I had been here for 17 seasons.”

“I just want to say thank you to all the Reds fans in Cincinnati and elsewhere. I couldn’t have loved an experience more. And I’m so proud to have been able to play for the oldest Major League team. To have played for a team that just was endless gifts coming my way. I’m so humbled, I’m so grateful, and it couldn’t have happened without all of you – the Cincinnati community.”

“I’ll always be a Cincinnati Red. The memories are endless. The growth as an individual – I’m so thankful. I just want to say thank you and I’ll always, always have a great deal of love and Cincinnati has such a special meaning to me. So, thank you, and until next time.”

60 Responses

  1. TR

    And thank you, Joey, for what you mean to the Reds and their fans.

  2. Votto4life

    As always a class act. It’s weird how the Red organization treats its aging heroes. Unless, you were a narcissist, degenerate gambler from the west side, then you are golden.

    • Old-school

      We all love Votto

      We just disagree on his role. There seems to be 3 factions

      A.) pay him $20 million and play 1b every day to hit 4th and CES and Steer can be filler and rotate around as Bell sees fit.

      B.) bring him back in a reduced role as a bench bat and lefty DH against righties but CES is the regular first baseman

      C.) part ways now and move forward

      Im amenable to option B but it seems JV is not.

      Are you option A?

      • Melvin

        I don’t know of anyone who is for option A. Optoin B sounds fine with him getting more playing time if he earns it. I do understand, unfortunately, the fact the David Bell might play him too much no matter his poor performance.

      • Mark Moore

        Well-stated, Old-school. I don’t like “C” but it’s better than “A” in my opinion. Even with “B” you still have the HDTBell factor (as I see it). Krall has to limit the “toys” because that’s just the way this organization operates due to the mind-set of the ownership. I don’t like it, but I have to live with it like everybody else. I’d love to be proven wrong.

      • Jim Walker

        OS>>> But do we really know your option B is not amenable to Votto?

        Krall has about as much credibility with me as the rest of the Reds front office and ownership; and, $3 Confederate bill has more credibility with me than any of them.

        They are trying to paint a narrative that places them in a favorable light. Their statement says they can’t give Votto the PAs he “deserves” and slams the door on a possible return by Votto. Meanwhile, Votto says “if” I’ve played my last game with the Reds.

      • Melvin

        “Krall has about as much credibility with me as the rest of the Reds front office”

        Are you in a round about way saying you don’t trust them? 😉

      • Mike

        I was struck by the line “IF this is the last time I’ll play as a Cincinnati Red”… maybe they agreed to let him go to free agency and maybe if he’s not rubbed up by a team with a decent offer he’ll return next year on a one year deal… well I can hope, can’t I?

    • MK

      You make this sound like a Reds thing.
      Babe Ruth ended with the Boston Braves.
      Hank Aaron ended with the Milwaukee Brewers.
      Willie Mays ended with NY Mets
      etc., etc., etc.

      Baseball players get older and their skills diminish. To say the Reds owe Joe something at the expense of team competitiveness is BS. Joe has been paid well for his vauable contributions. He will be a rich man for the rest of his life which is all that he is owed.

      • AMDG

        Agreed. There is such a thing as holding onto a diminishing player too long.

        The objective of a baseball team is to win games, not to excessively hold on to them for nostalgic purposes.

        It’s the same reason people moved on from from VHS to DVD’s and from outhouses to indoor plumbing.

      • Mike

        I still have a Beta VCR… really lol

  3. Beaufort Red

    Votto4life, first you said you want Votto to go to the Cardinals and hope they win the World Series . Then you trash quiet possibly the greatest and most beloved Red ever. Not to mention trashing the West Side. Are you sure you’re a Reds fan? I suggest you become a fan of whoever takes on Votto.

    • Votto4life

      Thanks Beaufort but I have followed this team since 197, I attend about 20-25 games a year. How many do you attend? Regardless, I am really not interested in Your “advice”.

      As for Pete Rose is concerned, he was a disgrace to the game, that is why he received a PERMANENT ban. It was in all the papers. You should google it. In addition, you might want to research Pete’s “relationship” with14 year old girl, Oh wait, I am sorry, he thought she was “16” I forgot.

      • Beaufort Red

        Well last response to you Votto4life. Been a Reds fan since 1961. From 1995 til 2015 was a season ticket holder while living in ATLANTA! Tickets I didn’t use went to Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Probably make about 15 to 20 games a year now while living in SOUTH CAROLINA! Gone to every spring training since 1990. Care to keep making comparisons? I didn’t think so. And yes Rose had his warts but i think you would be in the minority in your trashing of him and the West Side.

      • Doug Gray

        Being in the minority of people who trash Pete Rose says a lot more about the majority.

      • Brian Rutherford

        Beaufort, respectfully, if having relationships with teenager is just a “wart” for you I shudder to think what would he would need to do to disqualify him as a Red. Most of his teammates didn’t come to his defense. He is a trash human being and I’m saying this as someone who had his poster in my room and wore his number in little league.

    • LDS

      Votto had a great career, perhaps mired by his performance the last couple of years. Nonetheless, there are a number of former Reds that I’d choose to build a team around before choosing Votto.

      I wish him well, but I really hope he retires now as a Red and they throw a big shindig for him next year.

  4. MBS

    Votto is a thoughtful guy. I’d love it if he has some role in the organization in the near future.

  5. Kevin Patrick

    Please allow this forum to be a celebration of Votto at least for a little while people. One thing is for sure…the emotional response we all have to Votto is testament to his being so endearing to all of us…for whatever reason. Nobody is on trial. So blessed to be a Reds fan and to have enjoyed Votto.

  6. old-school

    This thread went downhill fast. Nothing like a Pete Rose hijacking to drive things into the ditch. Sigh. Im absolutely not a defender of Pete Rose. Great player …bad person…..but V4L couldnt debate the merits of not picking up Votto’s options and instead chose to drop a nuclear bomb by invoking the lightning rod of Pete Rose and compare Pete and Votto……as if Pete has anything to do with the last 24 hours yet here we are……..

    • Hanawi

      I think it’s an apt comparison because there is a significant portion of the fan base like Beaufort that holds Rose in higher regard than Votto despite the obvious character differences and the fact that Votto was a better player. I’ve said it before but the “Charlie Hustle” ethos is strong in Cincinnati and many would rather see a team of Ryan Freels than Joey Vottos. The sentiment around Votto shifted big-time when he signed his contract, which makes me think a lot of it is due to jealousy.

      • Beaufort Red

        You really couldn’t type with a straight face that Votto was better than Rose. Votto may not even make the HOF. We’re talking about on field performance. If not for his transgressions, Rose would have been a first ballot inductee.

      • Harry Stoner


        Now we’re moving from Rose’s “warts” to his “transgressions”.

        Keep the euphemisms coming.

        A debate about Rose doesn’t belong in a discussion about Votto.

        RLN can turn into a barrel of crabs at a moments notice.

      • Melvin

        There’s one thing Votto has that Rose will never have. It’s called class.

        Rose was a very flawed even scum bag type of person who could do one thing really well that even we can tell kids to emulate. That one thing is playing baseball. Other than that forget about him. The only reason he even comes up at all in discussions is because he was a big part of arguably the greatest team ever assembled. That team was the Big Red Machine of 75 & 76.

      • Chris

        Votto was a better player than Rose? LOL. You’re kidding right? If you mean to say Votto is a better human being than Rose, then I’m 100% on board, but not a better baseball player.

    • PTBNL

      Amen! Let’s keep it about celebrating a great player and not trashing another player who didn’t need to be in the conversation. (Sounds like PDS).
      Votto, thank you for your years as loyal Red. Glad I got to see you in AA just starting out too, as well as many games at GABP.
      Smart move by the Reds? We will see next year, especially if the Reds actually invest some of the extra cash into a player or two. We can always hope.

      Go Reds.

    • Brian Rutherford

      Excellent point old-school. Losing Joey Votto from the Reds is hurtful but I truly think it was the right decision for the team. As much as I will miss him, I am looking forward to watching this new crop of Reds and hope they have storied careers like JDV and lead the franchise to a championship in the near future.

    • Votto4life

      What is there to debate? Yes I would have picked up the option. The teams owes him that. He deserves a half way decent send off. He certainly deserves more than a few crass lines on Tweeter.

      This is especially true as I know the Reds will not invest any savings back into the team.

      How about Old School, still expecting the Reds to have a $120,000 in 2024? Or are you gonna back track now that the off season is here?

      • Votto4life

        * $120,000,000 (although let’s be honest, if it wasn’t against the CBA, the Castellinis would no doubt have a payroll of 120 K)

      • Chris

        What do you mean the Reds owe Votto another year? What do you base that on. You seem to be a slow learner. I guess the Reds owed Larkin that final contract too, right?

  7. JayTheRed

    Really glad they didn’t pick up that option because he doesn’t want to be a player who is used randomly and sparingly. The big question is, Is there a team that would let him play almost every day? I don’t think there is. Unless it’s a rebuilding team looking for a leadership role.
    Wonder if he would sign for 5 million somewhere? Or with Cincy? He already got 7 million. I just feel like he doesn’t have a good fit with the Reds anymore. Too many infielders

  8. Jimbo44CN

    Thanks for all the years and being a great player as well as a great asset to the team and the city. Will miss you greatly.

  9. Optimist

    The more I see from the past few days, the more it seems like it will be decided late in Spring training.

    Looks like Joey will have to decide between 1- lots of playing time on a lousy team; 2 – a few $ more and some playing time in Toronto; 3 – a sort of Corky Miller role on the Reds, very few ABs and perhaps retiring late in the season if there’s IL time involved.

    I’ll be very surprised if any decisions are made this calendar year, mildly surprised if in January, and expecting a mid-Feb/start of Spring training.

    If he’s unsigned on March 15th he’s almost certainly retired, in which case the Reds retain him in some capacity.

    Very similar to the Ichiro situation, but without the promotional start, and goodbye, in Japan.

  10. LDS

    So will the Reds bring him back as a bench player? Yesterday’s comments suggested Krall had closed that door. Reports today suggest otherwise. And beyond Votto, will the Reds sign any FAs this offseason?

    • Optimist

      They’ll certainly sign FAs – the better question is will they sign good ones?

      • LDS

        Mlbtraderumors referring to articles by Sheldon and another by Goldsmith. And yes Krall isn’t a great communicator

    • DaveCT

      As much as Ive learned to appreciate Krall’s ability and skill in acquiring talented-layers, his communication skills are still questionable at best, possibly very lacking.

      • Melvin

        “his communication skills are still questionable at best, possibly very lacking.”

        haha Yeah. That’s for sure

    • greenmtred

      I took Krall’s statement, possibly, as a step in the negotiation process, making clear, respectfully, that a large role as a player with the Reds isn’t non the table for Votto.

  11. CI3J

    I think Votto could still be a decent LH bench bat/DH. I’d be shocked if any team offered him a starting job.

    So all things considered, if the only thing being offered to him is part-time playing, would he:

    a. retire

    b. return to the Reds for one last year, return to his familiar surroundings, and have a proper retirement tour

    c. sign elsewhere

    I don’t think Joey would take option c. Too much inconvenience for not enough return. He’s been a Red for life, and he has said he doesn’t want to play elsewhere and have to move to a new city.

    So really, it’s all about if Joey would come back to the Reds in a reduced role, and if the Reds would want him back. Perhaps they could entice him by offering him a player-coach position, and that would remove some of the sting of not getting consistent playing time.

    If b. doesn’t work out, then a. wins by default

    We’ll see how it plays out over the next few months.

    • Redsvol

      totally agree with this. A player of Joey’s stature and experience is not going to enjoy going to a different organization and battling for playing time……unless its for significant $ and a good likelihood of playoff contention.

      Love Joey Votto. Hope he finds what he wants – whichever option it is. Great Red and representation of the organization. Personally, I feel its time to move on. But I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to a part-time DH only deal.

  12. Redhaze

    Joe Kelly is now a free agent. If healthy, he would be a great addition to the bullpen.

  13. Mark Moore

    Finally watched the video while I was grilling some pork chops. What a great guy. I hope there is a small role for him in a Reds uniform, but I still kind of doubt there will be. Ideally (to me) we’d see a 1-day type contract and a retirement. Then wherever it goes from there (like the booth) it goes. He’s got the ability to make Sadak and Larkin better (and that’s saying something).

    • west larry

      I agree with almost every thing you said. The only slight disagreement is that
      I would like to see a one series contract – so that fans would have three different games to cheer Joey, and one of the games might be a blowout where he could bat a few last times.

      • Mark Moore

        Agreed. A single-series contract or a homestand contract would be good. It definitely doesn’t have to be a 1-day thing. But a limited-time engagement would be better IMO.

      • Melvin

        I would say either Votto is going to help or he’s not. To have him for a few games taking ABs that he shouldn’t could be detrimental to the team. We’ve all been reminded this year how one game can make a difference when it comes to making the playoffs. I personally think he’ll help the team this year if he accepts a “earn your playing time” role. The team really does need a veteran to help the young guys and give them someone to look up to. Who else better than Joey Votto. That’s a reason for his roster spot. To win.

  14. CFD3000

    IF there is any future for Joey Votto as a Red, he will have to earn his playing time. I don’t think at this point in his career he is owed anything – except respect. He’s earned that a million times over. But I also still believe that IF he is healthy Votto will be a very productive hitter. Only time will tell on that, and I’ll be watching and rooting for him wherever he plays next year.

    Watching Joey Votto play baseball for my favorite team in all sport has been one of the joys of my life as a baseball fan, and I feel incredibly fortunate that he played so long for the Reds. He is clearly a future Hall of Famer, having helped transform what we think of as a great hitter. Batting average is a measure of the past, having been supplanted by OBP, slugging and OPS. And that’s partly because of Joey Votto. He led the league in not getting out seven times. But as important as that, he’s become a fine representative for the Reds and baseball. And that makes him even easier to root for. I tip my Reds cap to Joey Votto and hope that he’s fully healthy again next year and “doing damage” on a regular basis, in Cincinnati or if not then for another team preferably NOT in the NL Central. Good luck Mr. Votto, and thank you!

    • wkuchad

      I could not have expressed my feelings any better than that CFD. Well said!

  15. Still a Red

    The only reason I can see for Joey to continue on is to burnish his career stats to ensure a place in the HoF…I’m not sure it’s a given (at least on the first ballot…don’t forget a few year must pass and the memory of him among writers may fade). And I’m sure the last two years have left a bitter taste. What stats might he need to burnish??? What stats get you in these days? No longer BA. HRs might still be a stat although probably replaced with OPS. WAR? In any event this will not happen in Cincinnati. Can’t imagine he would get more than a platoon position somewhere. Could he hit for a high OPS in Toronto?

    • Tar Heel Red

      Still a Red – you touched on a couple of points that were recently discussed on MLB Network. Two pundits, both of which have HOF votes, brought up the very things you said, that…

      1) Votto, while he will probably get in eventually, is not a slam dunk for the Hall of Fame (they used Jason Giambi as a comp for Votto). Their numbers are very similar, yet Giambi is not in the hall.

      2) They both felt the longer that Votto continued to play at his current level is actually hurting his HOF chances. as it leaves a sour taste in the voters’ mouths. And because of this…

      3) …Votto is not a first-ballot Hall of Famer

    • greenmtred

      But maybe he simply still loves to play the game.