There’s a problem in Cincinnati. With Joey Votto as a The rebuilding Reds are the laughing stock of Major League Baseball with a 12-29 record through 41 games and haven’t made the playoffs in a full 162-game season since 2013. Worse than that, Cincinnati hasn’t won a playoff series since winning the World Series in 1990 and have only won two playoff games since then.
This year’s team is composed of mediocre veterans and young players still trying to find their way, like Mike Moustakas, Tommy Pham, Nick Senzel, and Kyle Farmer. Joey Votto, a six-time All-Star and perhaps one of the greatest Canadian baseball players of all-time, is even showing his age. The 38-year-old first baseman was hitting just .138 with one home run and five RBI through 26 games.
The most telling stats for Votto’s poor start to the season are his .292 OBP and .499 OPS. Votto has led the National League in OBP seven times and is coming off of a season in which he hit 36 home runs and had a .938 OPS.
Yes, Votto has been one of the worst hitters on the worst team in baseball, but his track record speaks for itself. And he deserves better – even if he doesn’t want it.
Getting Back on Track?
Votto has always contended he wanted to spend his entire career in Cincinnati. He even has a no-trade clause worked into his 10-year, $225 million contract, which is due to expire at the end of the 2024 season when he will be 41 years old. He hasn’t suggested he’s open to a move this season, but perhaps the right situation would pique his interest. The MLB playoffs need one of baseball’s most unheralded superstars and Votto deserves the opportunity to chase a World Series ring.
Not that he would use it as an excuse, but Votto missed two weeks due to illness earlier this season and has been unable to get his timing down at the plate. He didn’t have a home run until the Reds’ victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on May 22, when he hit a game-winning, 346-foot line drive to the second deck at Rogers Centre. He told reporters following the game that he feels like he has “more control over the ball” and “can make contact at will.”
Teams That Could Use Him
The Blue Jays immediately come to mind as a team that could use Votto in the stretch run. It’s also a situation that Votto might be interested in, considering he grew up just outside of Toronto. Expected to be a World Series contender this year, the Blue Jays have dramatically under-performed due in large part to disappointing offensive production, especially with runners in scoring position. Votto would look great in a Blue Jays uniform and could even hit in a sheltered role at 6th or 7th in the lineup.
In fact, there’s few teams that wouldn’t benefit from acquiring Votto, assuming he gets back on track. He can still play his position quite well, but can now DH in either the American or National League. Expect teams like Tampa Bay, Minnesota, San Diego, or San Francisco to make a run at Votto if he’s open to a trade.
A relatively unheralded second-round pick in the 2002 MLB Amateur Draft, Votto has been one of the premier first basemen in the league for more than a decade. He won the NL MVP in 2010 and finished top-10 in NL MVP voting in 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017. Known especially for his eye at the plate, he led the NL in walks five times in a seven-year stretch from 2011 to 2017.
Through more than 1,900 regular season games, Votto has 332 home runs, 1,070 RBI, a .299 batting average, and .931 OPS. Unfortunately, he’s played in only 11 playoff games.
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