Reds: Mark Payton should be optioned if Joey Votto returns on Tuesday

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 25: Mark Payton #34 of the Cincinnati Reds catches a fly out. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 25: Mark Payton #34 of the Cincinnati Reds catches a fly out. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

All signs point to Joey Votto returning to the Cincinnati Reds lineup on Tuesday. If that happens, Mark Payton should return to Triple-A. The former Oakland Athletics prospect had success in Triple-A back in 2019, but he’s failed to recapture that magic.

The Reds are carrying an extra outfielder for the moment. In addition to Payton, Cincinnati also has Jesse Winker, Nick Castellanos, Tyler Naquin, Shogo Akiyama, and Scott Heineman on the 26-man roster.

If Joey Votto returns on Tuesday, Mark Payton should be sent back to Triple-A.

Frankly, Mark Payton just doesn’t seem to be a major league talent. The 29-year-old has received 20 at-bats this season, most of which have come as a pinch hitter. Payton has just three hits in those 20 ABs and has a career-OPS of .422 in the major leagues.

Payton’s last hit came on May 29th versus the Chicago Cubs. While the longtime minor league outfielder is a solid defender and can play all three positions on the outfield grass, that’s not enough to maintain a spot on the 26-man roster. In fact, I think Payton may do well to survive the entire 2021 season on the 40-man roster.

As more players start to make a name for themselves in the minor leagues this season, the Cincinnati Reds will be forced to make a few moves. Payton may have one of the most precarious spots on the 40-man roster among the position players.

Joey Votto is ready to return to the Reds this week.

Every report suggests that we’ll see Joey Votto return to action this week, perhaps as early as Re-Opening Day on Tuesday, June 8th. Votto had been sidelined with a broken thumb that he suffered during the interleague series with the Chicago White Sox back in the first week of May.

Votto has been on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville for the past week. During that time, Votto’s gone 4-for-21 with a double, a triple, and two RBIs. Votto had been the Louisville Bats’ DH during the early-going, but took over first base duties during the last two games.

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Hopefully, Joey Votto isn’t the only star who’s ready to return to the field. Reports suggest that Mike Moustakas, who recovering from a heel injury, may be headed out for a rehab assignment I the near future. Aristides Aquino returned to his old stomping grounds at Slugger Field this past week as well.