Well, you heard it from the horse's mouth - Joey Votto would like to play for at least one more year. At least that's what he said on The Dan Patrick Show this morning. Whether it's with the Cincinnati Reds, or another team, Votto intends to play in 2024.
So, what the heck, right? C'mon, Reds! Just pay him the $7-million buyout and then offer Votto an incentive-laden contract that might enable him to make another $3-million. Why not? He's Joey freakin' Votto!
Yes, there's a strong case to be made that Cincinnati and Votto should work out an amicable one-year contract that would allow the former NL MVP to retire with the only team he's ever played for. While that may be the popular sentiment among the fanbase, is it the wise move?
Is it wise for the Reds to re-sign Joey Votto for the 2024 season?
The short answer to that question is - it's complicated. Joey Votto has been a staple in the Cincinnati Reds lineup for a over 16 years, and it would be heartbreaking to watch the future Hall of Famer suit up in another team's uniform to play out his final major league season.
But if Votto were re-sign with the Reds, how much is he really going to play? As currently constructed, I honestly don't see a scenario in which Votto is little more than bench bat who'll occasionally get an opportunity to be the team's DH and fill in on occasion for Christian Encarnacion-Strand at first base.
The Reds currently have 10 players competeing for nine spots in the everyday lineup. Encarnacion-Strand, Spencer Steer, Noevl Marte, Elly De La Cruz, Jonathan India, Matt McLain, Jake Fraley, Will Benson, TJ Friedl, and Tyler Stephenson can all make the case to be on David Bell's lineup card every day.
So, as it is, Bell's going to struggle to find adequte playing time for all the young players on Cincinnati's roster. That doesn't even include the right-handed hitting outfield bat that every Reds fan wants the team to sign this offseason.
Throw in a backup catcher, and you're already sitting at 12 position players. But couldn't Joey Votto still occupy a spot? Sure, but that's it. You've now exhausted your roster spots.
So I'll ask again, is that wise? There's now no spot for Jacob Hurtibise, who excelled in the minor leagues this past season. Blake Dunn is making his way up through the minors as well. And you've also go Rece Hinds making noise down on the farm. These players need at-bats.
As much as Reds fans may hate to admit, it might finally be time to move on from Joey Votto. And for those who claim he didn't get a proper send off, I don't know of anything that could have been better than the standing ovation that the future Hall of Famer received during his final game at Great American Ball Park.
If Votto hopes to re-sign with the Cincinnati Reds, it won't be as an everyday player. Frankly, I don't know of too many other teams that would give him that opportunity either.
Money is not the issue. The Reds have more than enough payroll flexibility to offer Votto a fair contract. The biggest issue is whether or not Votto fits with next year's roster. As currently constructed, it doesn't seem like a wise choice. But things can change.