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#pounditThursday, April 25, 2024

Joey Votto drawing interest from 1 AL team

Joey Votto in a hat

Apr 9, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto against the Arizona Diamondbacks during opening day at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Joey Votto wants to continue playing next season despite the Cincinnati Reds recently declining his contract option, and there is at least one team that has interest in the slugger.

Votto is a player that the Toronto Blue Jays will consider signing this offseason, according to Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith. Votto grew up in Toronto, and Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said at MLB’s GM Meetings on Tuesday that he believes a homecoming for the 40-year-old would be a great story.

“Incredible player, remarkable career,” Atkins said. “There (would be) just a massive impact in the community if he were to be a Toronto Blue Jay. So, definitely something that we would have to consider if that was something he wanted to pursue.”

Atkins added that the Blue Jays have already done extensive background work on Votto in recent years when the first baseman was viewed as a potential trade candidate.

Votto had a $20 million team option with the Reds for 2024 that the team declined. There has been speculation that he will retire, but Votto made it clear recently that he has no plans to do so.

Though he batted just .205 in 2022 and .202 in 2023 while battling shoulder injuries, Votto still got on base plenty and showed some power. He had a .314 on-base percentage and .433 slugging percentage for a .747 OPS in 64 games this past season.

Votto played 17 seasons for the Reds. He is a six-time All-Star, won the 2010 NL MVP award, and he led the NL in walks five times and the league in on-base percentage seven times. He will likely be an inexpensive option for a team in need of a first baseman or DH.

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