Reds report card: Grading Joey Votto's concluding (maybe) 2023 season

Joey Votto returned midway through what could be his final season with the Cincinnati Reds.

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

No one knows what the future holds for Joey Votto. To be honest, I don't even think Votto knows what's in store for him next season.

The six-time All-Star made an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show a couple weeks ago and let the world know that he intends to play again in 2024. Will that be in a Cincinnati Reds uniform? We'll have to wait and see.

The Reds hold a $20-million club-option, which they're unlikely to pick up, that also contains a $7-million buyout. If this truly was Votto's last season in Cincinnati, how will it be remembered?

Reds report card: Grading Joey Votto's concluding (maybe) 2023 season

Let me be clear, this is a grade for Joey Votto's 2023 performance. Not his career as a Cincinnati Red, just this past season. And while it's been well-documented that Votto underwent shoulder surgery and may not have been fully healed, this grade is reflective of the performance that we saw in 2023.

Okay, with that out of the way, let's just call the 2023 season one that Votto would probably rather not include on what's sure to be his Hall of Fame resumé. Votto turned 40 years old this past season, and it showed.

While the former NL MVP gave a valient effort, the results just weren't there. Even Votto himself, during an interview with Dan Patrick, admitted that his last two years were crummy. Votto admitted to not being heathy in 2022 or 2023, but again, he's going to be judged on the performance that he put forth.

Votto grade. C-. .202/.314/.433 14 HR 38 RBI. . Joey Votto

Joey Votto was limited to just 208 at-bats this past season and only hit .202. The 2023 season marks the second year in a row that Votto has hit below .210 and his on-base percentage was well below what fans have come to expect from the veteran first baseman.

Most of Joey Votto's numbers from 2023 are very similar to what we saw in 2022. According to Baseball Savant, his average exit velocity (89.3 mph) was down a touch, his barrel-rate (11.0-percent) was about the same, as was his walk-rate (11.2-percent).

Now some people will point to Votto's extremely-low batting average as justification that he had a bad season. But that's not the best way to accurately evalute players in today's day and age of baseball. However, Votto's .747 OPS and 99 OPS+, combined with -0.1 bWAR don't paint a rosy picture either.

While Joey Votto deserves an A+ for the totality of his career, there's no way any objective Cincinnati Reds fan can look at his performance in 2023 and see it as anything other than below-average. If this is Votto's final season with the Reds, it didn't go the way he wanted.