Why does Cincinnati Reds legend Joey Votto catch so much flack?

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) walks through the dugout.
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) walks through the dugout. / Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

Joey Votto's 2022 season is over. The longtime Cincinnati Reds first baseman will undergo season-ending surgery on Friday. Votto the injury dates back as far as the 2015 season and he's has been able to play through the pain until now.

Votto received an MRI after the team's road trip and despite his attempts to strengthen it, the rotator cuff will need to be repaired surgically. The hope is that Votto will be able to rehab over the offseason and return to the field next spring.

While many fans expressed sadness after hearing that the six-time All-Star would not be returning to the field this season, there are several fans who want to see Votto ride off into the sunset and just retire.

Why does Cincinnati Reds legend Joey Votto catch so much flack?

Joey Votto is among the best players to ever wear a Cincinnati Reds uniform. Votto's name belongs alongside such greats as Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Pete Rose, Frank Robinson, and Joe Morgan. Once his career is over, Votto's No. 19 will be hanging high above the crowd at Great American Ball Park.

But for some reason it seems that Votto's greatness is lost on some of the Cincinnati faithful. Sure, Votto is an odd cat. Some might use words like quirky, peculiar, or mercurial to describe the Cincinnati Reds first baseman.

Those may all be accurate when it comes to describing Votto during off-the-field interviews or press conferences. But there are other words that can be used to describe what Votto brings to the game of baseball. Greatness, brilliance, and excellence are words that come to mind.

You may not like Joey Votto the person (whatever your reason may be), but you have to respect the fact that over the past 16 years he's been synonymous with Cincinnati Reds baseball. Were it not for Votto, the Reds would have lost all relevance in the national media from 2014-2018.

Don't blame Joey Votto for signing his massive contract extension.

Something that always comes up when discussing the greatness of Joey Votto is the massive 10-year/$225M contract extension that runs through the 2023 season. The Cincinnati Reds also maintain a $20M option with a $7M buyout for the 2024 season.

It's fair to point out that in three of the past four seasons Votto has failed to play up to the level of play that his contract commands. That is a perfectly fair and legitimate argument, and Votto himself would probably agree with your assertion. In fact, he'd probably say that he's underperformed every season since signing that contract extension.

But major league contracts are a two-way street. The Cincinnati Reds and Joey Votto's representation agreed to the terms of the deal. The Reds brass knew that they'd be paying an aging Votto to play baseball into his 40s, and yet, they offered the contract to him anyway.

Miguel Cabrera, at age 39, is making $32M this season while posting a .639 OPS. Miggy is also signed through next season for an additional $32M. From 2016 through 2021, Albert Pujols was paid over $111M by the Los Angeles Angels while hitting just .247 with a .719 OPS.

Both Cabrera and Pujols were selected to the All-Star Game this past July and were celebrated for their accomplishments, but neither has been relevant for the last four or five years. Votto was in the discussion for NL MVP last year, and did so with an injured shoulder.

Joey Votto may go down in history as the most under-appreciated player in Cincinnati Reds history. While his 2022 season may be over, his career with the Reds will continue into at least next season and perhaps beyond. Take a moment to just appreciate what Joey Votto brings to the game of baseball. There will not be another one like him anytime soon.