As the Cincinnati Reds turn their focus to emerging talents, veteran first baseman Joey Votto finds himself on the cusp of free agency. The storied franchise has chosen not to activate the $20 million option for Votto's 2024 season, marking an end of an era for both the player and the team.
Drafted by the Reds in 2002, Votto has been the cornerstone of the Cincinnati franchise since his major league debut in 2007. The Canadian-born player quickly ascended to become a pivotal figure in the lineup, clinching the NL MVP award in 2010 and signing a mammoth 10-year, $225 million deal in 2012, underscoring his value to the team.
Votto's Reds Era Ends
Despite the imminent end of his contract, the 40-year-old Votto was informed by Nick Krall, the Reds' President of Baseball Operations, of the strategic shift towards youth and development, thus ending his continuous stint with the club.
In lieu of the option, Votto received a $7 million buyout – a small consolation for a career that has been intrinsically linked with the Reds' identity. Reflecting on the close of this chapter, Votto's response was imbued with both the shock of the new reality and the poignancy of his extensive tenure with the Reds.
"It's an experience that’s new to me. I’m at a bit of a loss of words. It’s a challenging experience. It’s prompting reflection and gratitude and thankfulness for what is and has been my time as a Cincinnati Red.
It’s been so special," Votto shared, his legacy with the team undeniable. Votto's tenure in Cincinnati has been marked by remarkable achievements, etching his name second in homers (356), doubles (459), and OPS (.920) on the Reds' all-time lists.
Additionally, he's fourth in career hits (2,135) and boasts a .294 batting average. His recent seasons may not reflect his peak performance, with only 156 games played and a batting average hovering just above .204, but Votto's impact on the Reds is indelible.
As the Reds' community and fans reflect on Votto's significant contributions, the consensus is clear: Joey Votto is not just a player, but an emblem of Reds' baseball, whose legacy will be celebrated with an anticipated entry into the franchise's Hall of Fame.
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