Alejo Lopez and Joey Votto have something in common - they were both ejected during their final game with the Cincinnati Reds. Well, I guess technically we don't yet know if Votto has played his final game in a Reds uniform.
Votto has a $20-million club-option for next season, but it seems quite probable that Cincinnati will elect not to exercise that option and instead allow the former MVP to enter free agency.
Reds fan-favorite has new team after electing free agency
Alejo Lopez was easy to root for. A former 27th-round draft pick, Lopez slugged it out for years in the minor leagues before finally getting an opportunity during the 2021 season.
Lopez, who's more of a slap-hitter by nature, was able to grind out at-bats during his time at Triple-A in 2021 and forced the Reds hand. Lopez was hitting so well, the front office had to see if what he was doing with the Louisville Bats would translate to the big leagues.
Lopez got an even bigger opportunity in 2022 when he received 145 at-bats over 60-plus games and hit .262. Lopez, however, did not make the cut over the winter but was invited back to Goodyear on a minor league contract in 2023.
Lopez spent most of last season in the Derby City, but was given a chance to return to Cincinnati after several Reds players landed on the COVID-19-related injured list. Lopez logged a hit in his first at-bat, but was rung up on a ball that was clearly out of the strike zone during his second trip to the plate.
Some Reds fans will remember that Lopez was irate with the home plate umpire and was venting his frustrations all the way to the dugout. Lopez's remarks were apparently so outlandish that the umpire felt the need to eject Lopez from the game.
Alejo Lopez plays the game the right way. The diminutive infielder is the type of player that Reds fans always gravitate towards - gritty ballplayers who hustle down the line and don't take their opportunity to play in front of the Reds fans for granted.
Lopez will now get the opportunity to be part of the Atlanta Braves next season. After being bounced from the postseason for the second time in two years by the Philadelphia Phillies, the Braves will have revenge on their minds when the 2024 season begins next March.