Joey Votto says he would retire with money left on his contract
Joey Votto followed up a down power season in 2018 with one of the worst seasons of his career. Even though he’s 35 and seems to be slipping as he ages — a natural progression for professional athletes — Votto still has four years left on his contract and is guaranteed $107 million.
The Cincinnati Reds first baseman spoke with reporters on Wednesday and said he does not see himself being a guy who hangs around and cashes fat checks towards the end of his career if he’s not producing.
“Dropping off as much as I have, it has been really kind of an eye-opening experience — not something I want to continue to do in my career,” Votto said via The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans. “I do know some players are happy to finish their career off — I just don’t know if I’d have a lot of fun with that. I don’t think I would have fun just coming out and just collecting paychecks and facing favorable matchups and taking more days off. I just don’t think that would resonate with me. I do feel strongly that I want to play and excel.
Votto was then asked whether he would consider retiring even with years left on his contract.
“Oh, for sure,” Votto said. “If I’m dissatisfied or if I don’t feel like I want to play anymore if I’m not having fun. Like I said, I’ve really enjoyed the challenge and overcoming it. I’m very optimistic, but if I’m not having a good time and if I’m not feeling as though I want to continue playing for numerous reasons, then for sure, yeah. But I just don’t think I’m there yet. I really do feel confident that I’ll enjoy myself and I’ll play well.”
So, no, we’re not nearly at that point yet, but it’s something to keep in mind.
If anything should make the Reds and Votto feel better, it’s his play since September. This month he has batted .323 with a .981 OPS. That’s the player the Reds need and are paying for. Can he carry it into next season? That’s the big question. But if Votto ever drops off in a big way, maybe he’ll have too much pride to just cash checks late in his career.