How the Blue Jays' pursuit of Shohei Ohtani could push Joey Votto back to the Reds

The Blue Jays were thought to be a rather obvious landing spot for former Reds first baseman Joey Votto.
Cincinnati Reds infielder Joey Votto
Cincinnati Reds infielder Joey Votto / Emilee Chinn/Cincinnati Reds/GettyImages

While the Los Angeles Dodgers have long since been viewed as the most likely landing spot for Shohei Ohtani, they're not alone.

The Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Angels, and Toronto Blue Jays are all believed to be in the mix for the best player in baseball.

Recent reports suggest that the Blue Jays are making a major push to bring Ohtani to the Great White North. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required), the Blue Jays are believed to have met with Ohtani at the team's facility on Monday.

If the Blue Jays sign Shohei Ohtani, will the Reds be Joey Votto's only option?

If the Toronto Blue Jays were to sign Shohei Ohtani to, what industry sources believe will be, the biggest contract in the history of baseball, then Joey Votto might be on the free agent market for quite some time.

As is it, the former Cincinnati Reds first baseman can't have a very active market. Votto is 40 years old and coming off back-to-back seasons in which he's been a below-average hitter. Votto is also not the most versatile player either, with first base being about the only position on the field he can play.

But, if the Blue Jays were to sign Ohtani, Votto's chances of returning home to Toronto will certainly take a hit. It was assumed that Votto would be a good fit with the Blue Jays and could fill in as the club's designated hitter in 2024. However, if Ohtani inks a deal with Toronto, that job will belong to him.

Which brings us back to the Cincinnati Reds. I know, I know. We all thought that after the club declined to pick up Votto's $20-million option that his time in the Queen City was over.

While some fans held out hope that Votto and the Reds could come to an agreement on a one-year, team-friendly contract, Cincinnati's president of baseball operations Nick Krall seemed to suggest that there wasn't enough playing time available for one of the franchise's most iconic players.

However, if Shohei Ohtani signs with the Toronto Blue Jays, don't be shocked if the Cincinnati Reds and Joey Votto come to some sort of agreement during the offseason. If Votto's market is what most people think it is, then the Reds might be his most logical landing spot.

Of course, a reunion with the Reds would have to come with the understanding that Votto is no longer an everyday player. While it's certainly not a slam dunk, it's definitely not as far-fetched as you might think.