It seems as though the idea of Joey Votto returning to the Cincinnati Reds in 2024 may not come to fruition. Per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Votto and the Reds appear to be on their way to a breakup.
According to Nightengale, the Reds have no intention to exercise Votto's $20-million club-option for the 2024 season. That's hardly surprising given Votto's performance the past two seasons.
But Reds fans have been holding out hope that Votto and the Reds can come to an agreement on team-friendly contract that would allow the former MVP to retire as a member of the only team he's ever played for. That seems like a long-shot.
Reds' star Joey Votto has shown little interest in a part-time role
If there's any hope of Joey Votto returning to the Cincinnati Reds in 2024, he would have to take on a lesser role. It appears as though, at least according to Bob Nightengale, that Votto has shown little interest in a part-time role.
We've seen this type of thing with aging stars like Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera in recent years. Pujols played in 109 games for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2022 and received just 307 at-bats. Cabrera's final season in Detroit saw him play in just 98 games while receiving 334 ABs.
The Reds infield is full of talented, young players. Noelvi Marte, Spencer Steer, Elly De La Cruz, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Jonathan India, and Matt McLain all need at-bats. If Votto is unwilling to accept the fact he not an everyday player at this stage of his career, then he's unlikely to return.
The Cincinnati Reds already have 10 players vying for nine spots in the starting lineup for next season. Even without adding any free agents during the offseason, it's already difficult to see a scenario in which Votto is part of the Reds roster.
For those Reds fans clinging to the idea of Joey Votto returning in 2024, it may be time to give up on that dream. Bob Nightengale sees the Toronto Blue Jays as an ideal fit for Votto next season.