Due to it being a bye week for our beloved Bengals, now felt like a great time to write about the case to resign Joey Votto.
If you know me or if you are familiar with my column, I am sure you are aware by now that Votto is my favorite athlete of all time. The news recently has displayed that the Reds and Votto are on their way to a breakup and while I have no idea what is going to happen, I certainly can make a case on why it makes sense to bring back the Cincinnati legend. His 10 year, $225 million deal in 2012 was one of the best things to happen for this organization and he certainly has been worth every last dime of that money. Let’s not call it quits just yet!
· If the Reds decide not to pick up the $20 million option (I agree that they shouldn’t) then they owe Votto $7 million to buy him out and could then sign him for a smaller deal. If he would sign for $3 million, that would make him a $10 million sign for the 2024 season. This is comparable to the Wil Myers contract of last year and way cheaper than the Mike Moustakas contract that resulted in releasing him with $22 million remaining.
· From a business standpoint, MLB recently listed out their top 20 players in regard to jersey sales for 2023. Guess who came in at number 13? Joey Votto. People come to the ballpark to watch him play and to feel the nostalgia from prior years.
· Joey is a career .294 batter and in just 207 at bats last season, he raked in 14 home runs. Health hasn’t been on his side the last two years and this team needs power. Power is exactly what Joey can offer and he’s proven that he still has that part of his game left in the tank.
· Joey has led the MLB in OBP seven different seasons. Yes, you read that correctly. This is an absurd stat and the Reds need someone with discipline at the plate. He is top 30 ever in OBP and top 40 ever in OPS.
· Joey is only one of five players ever to reach base 3,500-plus times in less than 9,000 plate appearances.
· Oh, the Reds need a clutch batter? Look no further, as his career OBP with runners in scoring position is .471. The only people who rank higher than him: Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Barry Bonds. Pretty good company, huh?
· From 2008 to now, Joey Votto has the best total run value vs. the fastball. He ranks over Mike Trout, Nelson Cruz and even Freddie Freeman.
· Post Barry Bonds era, Joey ranks as the fifth highest player in all of baseball in slugging percentage behind Albert Pujols, Nolan Arenado, Fernando Tatis and Miguel Cabrera.
· Only eight players have hit home runs in seven straight games. Joey Votto did this just two years ago when healthy.
· The only two batters since Barry Bonds to qualify for the batting title in a given season and walk over 20 percent of the time: 2015 Joey Votto and 2021 Juan Soto.
· Joey Votto ranks fourth all-time in most MLB seasons with 24-plus home runs and 134-plus walks behind Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Barry Bonds.
Should I keep going or stop here?…
Father time, as we know, waits for nobody. Yes, his age has led to some injuries over the past two seasons, but this is the chance to finally get a full healthy season of Joey Votto. This team is filled with young talent, but they need the presence of someone who has been through multiple big league seasons. Time and time again, we were able to see his experience transfer over in the dugout to Elly, Benson and many others who looked to him for advice. Many are saying that it is time for the organization to move on due to his age and not having a spot for him on this roster. Didn’t we all watch the same thing last season of playing time given to Stuart Fairchild, Nick Senzel, Jason Vosler, Hunter Renfroe, Nick Martini and many others? With a DH position, there is more than enough playing time to go around.
2024 Matt’s Take
1B/DH – Joey Votto/Christian Encarnacion-Strand
2B – Matt McLain/Jonathan India
SS – Elly De La Cruz
3B – Noelvi Marte
LF – Spencer Steer/Jake Fraley
CF – TJ Friedl/Nick Senzel
RF – Will Benson
C – Stephenson/Maile
Potential Starting Rotation
· Hunter Greene
· Graham Ashcraft
· Nick Lodolo
· Andrew Abbott
· Brandon Williamson
· Connor Phillips
While this is a very good and young roster, I still believe Cincinnati has some possible players that they could move this offseason to better fit what this team needs. As much I hate to say it, it might be time to deal a couple players to truly try and make a run at winning the National League Central. Notable 2024 free agents that are realistic include: Cody Bellinger, Lance Lynn, Marcus Stroman, Josh Hader and Joey Gallo. I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing a power bat and a couple arms join this team even if it meant having to deal a player like Jonathan India. There are some tough decisions ahead for Nick Krall and company and I am eager to get to see what happens. March cannot come soon enough in the McAdow household, as my wife has taken over the evening television to watch “Teen Mom” and “The Bachelor” reality TV.
Matt’s Take sounds like a column that nobody wants to read, so let’s just hope the Bengals continue to play well until getting back into Reds mode.
Matthew McAdow is a Peebles resident. He works in human resources in the nuclear industry and has been an avid Cincinnati fan his entire life. He is an Ohio Christian University graduate and has always enjoyed giving an honest opinion on multiple topics regarding Cincinnati sports.