Was Sunday Joey Votto's final home game in front of the Cincinnati Reds fans at Great American Ball Park? There are some who want no part of Votto returning to Cincinnati in 2024, while others long for one more year of the 40-year-old donning a Reds jersey.
Votto has been a bit of a polarizing figure over the past few years. Receiving an annual salary of $25-million while performing well below expectations has made some fans bitter toward the Reds first baseman.
Still others see Votto as one of the greatest Reds players of all-time and look forward to the day when his No. 19 will hanging above the playing surface at Great American Ball Park.
How might Joey Votto fit into the Reds plans for 2024?
Whle Joey Votto gave an impassioned speech to the Cincinnati faithful on Sunday afternoon, there's a chance that the six-time All-Star could return to the Reds clubhouse in 2024. While this is the final guaranteed year of Votto's 10-year extension, the club maintains an option for 2024.
That team option is worth $20-million and contains a $7-million buyout. The Reds seem unlikely to being Votto for $20-million next season, but there's a chance the two sides could come together on a one-year deal for 2024.
But with so many young players currently on the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster, and many more coming up through the farm system, is there really room for Votto on next year's team?
The short answer is yes, with a but. Yes, the Reds could absolutely re-sign Votto to a team-friendly contract for the 2024 season, but he'd have to accept the role of a part-time player. I'm not sure that's in Votto's DNA.
With Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Spencer Steer both showing that they have the ability to play first base, Votto's role with next year's team would be that of a designated hitter. And even that would be on a part-time basis.
Joey Votto puts so much time and effort into his craft that it's difficult to envision the former MVP accepting the idea of playing part-time. But whether it's with the Cincinnati Reds or another organization, Votto is unlikely to be an everyday player.