3 Reds players whose career in Cincinnati may be over after 2023

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Senzel
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Senzel / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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The 2023 season will focus on a lot of the Cincinnati Reds young talent. But, the Reds still have a few veterans on the squad as well.

But for a couple of players who've been part of the organization for sometime, this may be the end of the road. Whether it's an expiring contract, lack of performance, or a history of injury, there are some players who may be in the home team's dugout at Great American Ball Park for the last time in 2023.

Cincinnati waved goodbye to Eugenio Suarez, Jesse Winker, Amir Garrett, Luis Castillo, and Sonny Gray last season. Which three Reds players may be spending their final year in a Cincinnati uniform during the upcoming season?

1. Jose Barrero may be entering his final year in a Reds uniform.

It may be a bit premature to call the 2023 season a make-or-break year for Jose Barrero. After all, he won't even turn 25 years old until after Opening Day. And, given the Cincinnati Reds track record, it's hard to see the team parting ways with such a highly-touted talent.

But Barrero has done nothing to help his cause of late. The Reds shortstop did not take advantage of the opportunity he was given last summer, and the Reds showed their lack of confidence this offseason by trading for Kevin Newman.

Barrero looked lost at the plate in 2022. The infielder made adjustments over the offseason with new hitting coach Joel McKeithan, so that will be something to watch over the course of spring training and throughout the first-part of the 2023 season.

The Reds had pinned a lot on the shoulders of Jose Barrero, but perhaps their hopes were misplaced. Barrero also has the unfortunate scenario of top prospects Elly De La Cruz and Matt McLain, both of whom are shortstops by trade, knocking on the door of the big leagues. There is reason to believe that this could be Barrero's last season in Cincinnati.

2. Nick Senzel may be entering his final year in a Reds uniform.

There are many throughout Reds Country who believe it's well past time for Cincinnati to have kicked Nick Senzel to the curb. The former first-round is currently rehabbing from offseason toe surgery and has yet to get onto the field this spring.

But the Reds' brass still seem to have a soft-spot for Senzel. When teams spend a first-round pick on an underachieving player, they tend to become a bit bullish. After all, releasing the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft would admit to failure.

Not only that, but the Reds have already traded Taylor Trammell and released Chris Okey. Letting go of Senzel would mean that the team's top three picks from that year's draft are no longer in the organization. Let that sink in for just a minute.

The disappointment surrounding Senzel has less to do with his lack of production and more to do with his inability to stay healthy. It seems like anytime that Senzel goes diving for a flyball or slides into second base, Reds Country holds their collective breath and assumes the worst.

Moving on from Nick Senzel is difficult based on the production that Cincinnati assumed they'd receive from the University of Tennessee product. But injuries have wrecked any real chance that the 27-year-old has of becoming a reliable, everyday player. This could be Senzel's final season with the Reds.

3. Joey Votto may be entering his final year in a Reds uniform.

You know this was coming, right? While a good majority of Reds Country loves Joey Votto, the 2023 season may be his last ride with a wishbone C on his cap. Votto is entering the final guaranteed year on the 10-year contract extension that he signed back in 2012.

Now, Votto does have a $20-million team-option for the 2024 season that includes a $7-million buyout. What that means is that after this season, the Cincinnati Reds will have a $13-million decision to make.

But this decision will be about more than money. Outside of a renaissance season in 2021, Votto's last five seasons have been rather unproductive. At the very least you could call them un-Votto-like.

Since 2018, Votto has made it to just one All-Star Game while hitting .256/.371/.444 with 85 home runs and 276 RBIs. The five years prior to that, Votto went to the Midsummer Classic twice while finishing in the Top 7 of the NL MVP vote three times. He also posted a slash line of .310/.441/.528 with 124 round trippers and 373 runs batted in.

The Reds also appear to moving in the direction of shifting Tyler Stephenson from a full-time catcher to, perhaps, the team's evdryday first baseman in the future. There's also talented corner infielder Christian Encarnacion-Strand lurking in the minor leagues.

Joey Votto will be 40 years old by the end of the 2023 season. The former MVP will likely begin the season on the IL following shoulder surgery that he underwent last summer. Given the Cincinnati Reds emphasis on youth and athleticism. combined with the team's lack of spending, the 2023 season could very well be Joey Votto's farewell tour.

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