Joey Votto has been on the injured list for almost two weeks, and is expected to possibly miss the team's upcoming road trip as Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that the former MVP may need a rehab assignment before returning to the Reds lineup.
Votto's 2022 season has not gone as he'd like. After a resurgence in 2021, many Reds fans expected to see the six-time All-Star turn back the clock one more time and lead this young Cincinnati team in 2022.
Votto's performance thus far has been anything but inspiring. The 38-year-old, prior to his trip to the Injured List, was hitting just .122/.278/.135 with no home runs and just one extra base hit. Votto's 13.3% walk-rate is more than acceptable, but his 32.2% strikeout certainly isn't.
Colin Moran has outperformed Joey Votto thus far in 2022.
Thankfully for the Cincinnati Reds, they have a capable fill-in for Joey Votto. Colin Moran has been on fire of late. On the season, Moran is hitting just .215/.289/.431. But since taking over duties at first base and finding a permanent place in the lineup, the former Pittsburgh Pirates infielder has been quite impressive.
Joey Votto went on the IL last Tuesday. Since that time, Colin Moran has seven hits, including a double and four home runs. According to FanGraphs, Moran's slugging percentage during that stretch is sitting at .645 and he has a wRC+ of 154. Moran has 11 RBIs over the last four games and 14 since Votto has been out of the lineup.
Now, am I advocating for Colin Moran to supplant Joey Votto as the Cincinnati Reds starting first baseman? Absolutely not. But an extended rehab stint at Triple-A Louisville might do Votto some good.
The Reds should be in no hurry to bring the former MVP back to lineup if he's still struggling to figure things out at the dish in the minor leagues. Allowing Votto some extra time to figure out his swing might be just what the doctor ordered.
When Joey Votto does return to the lineup, David Bell will not be able to keep Colin Moran on the bench. We should expect Moran to slide over to third base on occasion, or better yet, occupy the designated hitter's role when a right-handed pitcher is on the mound.
Every one of Moran's home runs and each of his 20 RBIs have come against right-handers. Brandon Drury, who's hitting .310 versus left-handers in 2022, could slide into the DH spot when a southpaw is on the bump.
I wasn't a fan of the Colin Moran signing earlier this offseason, but I'm more than happy to admit when I'm wrong. Moran has played very well of late and has filled in admirably in Joey Votto's absence.