Bleacher Report's contract projection proves Reds were right to let Joey Votto walk

It's almost March and Joey Votto remains unsigned.

Cincinnati Reds designated hitter Joey Votto (19) reacts
Cincinnati Reds designated hitter Joey Votto (19) reacts / David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Joey Votto is practically begging teams to sign him at this point. The former Cincinnati Reds star took to social media recently and vented his frustration by threatening not to return his shopping cart. It hasn't been confirmed, but it would seem that Votto's lack of 'cart etiquette' wasn't enough wasn't enough to warrant a new contract. So, the saga continues.

It's been a long, drawn out offseason for the 40-year-old, who is a free agent for the first time in his career. The Reds declined Votto's $20 million team-option for the 2024 season, and instead paid the $7 million buyout.

But according to Bleacher Report, Votto's 2024 salary is unlikely to even come close to what he would've made had he remained in Cincinnati. Votto's projected salary for 2024 is estimated at $2.5 million.

Bleacher Report's contract projection proves Reds were right to let Joey Votto walk

There was no way the Cincinnati Reds were ever going to pay Joey Votto's $20 million team-option. Having just shelled out $50 million for his injury-riddled performance in 2022-2023 that yielded a slash line of .204/.317/.394 with 25 home runs and 79 RBI, Cincinnati was not about to hop on board for Year 3 of Votto's decline.

To Votto's credit, he was recovering from a severe injury last season. However, his performance was not enough to warrant the Reds to bring him back in 2024. Furthermore, Cincinnati's roster is undergoing an overhaul that has barely been able to carve out a role for Jonathan India.

The former NL Rookie of the Year is logging reps in the outfield to ensure he'll receive adequate playing time during the upcoming season. Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, Spencer Steer, and others are the future of the Reds franchise.

The cold hard truth is thatJoey Votto's career is coming to an end, and no team is going to spend heavily on a player who's skillset is diminishing. Votto had a resurgence in 2021, but he couldn't maintain that level of play over the past two seasons.

It's troubling to see such an iconic player coming to the realization that Father Time is undefeated. Whether or not Votto eventually finds a new team this spring remains to be seen. But as little more than a left-handed hitting DH at this point in his career, his options are limited. A return to Toronto may still be in the cards, but the rumor mill has been rather quiet of late.