Will Reds' icon Joey Votto retire after the 2023 season finale?

Today could be Joey Votto's final major league game.
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

Soak it in, Reds fans. Game 162 of the 2023 season is likely to be Joey Votto's final game as a member of the Cincinnati Reds.

Votto is in the final guaranteed year of his contract. The Reds maintain a $20-million club-option for the 2024 season with a $7-million buyout. Reports indicate that the Reds has no plans to exercise the option and Votto will become a free agent after the season.

After bidding farewell to the home crowd at Great American Ball Park last Sunday, today's game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium is likely to be the six-time All-Star's last in a Reds uniform. But will Votto retire after this season?

Will Reds' icon Joey Votto retire after the 2023 season finale?

While the decision to bring Joey Votto back to Cincinnati is a discussion to be had between the former MVP and Reds' brass, the decision to retire following the 2023 season lies with Votto alone.

There remains the possibility that Votto and the Reds could come to an agreement on a new deal this offseason, but with so much young talent on the team, it's questionable how the veteran fits into a lineup with Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Spencer Steer.

If Votto were to return in 2024, it would have to be on a part-time basis. I'm not sure that's in the cards for Votto who prides himself on suiting up and playing every day. But, at 40 years old, his skills have diminished to the point where the 17-year veteran is no longer an everyday player.

But if the Reds and Votto are unable to reach an accord, would the future Hall of Famer be able to find work elsewhere? There are certainly teams who would consider brining Votto into their clubhouse, but are there any contending teams who would see Votto differently than the Reds do?

Tune in on Sunday afternoon, Reds fans. The 2023 season finale may not just represent Joey Votto's final year in a Cincinnati Reds uniform, but it could be the final time he sets foot on a major league diamond.