The Reds announced they have declined the 2024 club option on first baseman Joey Votto, making the veteran a free agent for the first time in his career. Instead of bringing Votto back next season for $20 million, Cincinnati instead will pay a $7 million buyout.
“At this point in the offseason, based on our current roster and projected plans for 2024, as an organization we cannot commit to the playing time Joey deserves,” general manager Nick Krall said in a statement.
Votto was drafted by Cincinnati in 2002 and has been with the Reds organization for his entire career. After making his major league debut in 2007, Votto became the face of the Reds, winning the NL MVP award in 2010 and hitting 356 home runs in 2,056 career games.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) November 4, 2023
However, Votto only has played 156 games since the start of 2022 due to injuries. Earlier in the offseason, Votto said he would like to continue playing next year, even if it’s not with the Reds.
Whenever Votto does choose to retire, Krall said the team will make sure to honor him properly.
“He forever will be part of the Reds’ family, and at the appropriate time we will thank and honor him as one of the greatest baseball players of this or any generation,” Krall said.