After hitting first Blue Jays home run on rehab stint, how does Joey Votto fit into the club’s plans?

Do the Jays have a spot for Votto on the roster as of this moment?
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Baltimore Orioles Toronto Blue Jays / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

For Toronto Blue Jays fans that have longed for the arrival of the legendary Joey Votto to become the potential saviour for the club, that time may actually be coming soon. In his recent rehab assignment with the Dunedin Blue Jays, he showed what he could potentially bring to the often offensively-challenged big league team by belting his first Blue Jays home run on the year (excluding his blast from spring training).

In eight games with Dunedin in his rehab stint so far, Votto has registered 5 hits with a pair of doubles, a home run, 4 RBI, 4 walks and 6 strikeouts for a .238 batting average and .861 OPS. He appears all but ready to join the Jays any time now, but how will he fit into the team’s current plans?

If the Jays truly believe that they have one last push left in them to get themselves back into contention after taking two of three from the AL West division-leading Seattle Mariners this past weekend, getting Votto into their lineup could actually make a difference. Not only will he be able to inject some power and offense into the lineup from the left side of the plate, he will be able to bring some valuable veteran experience and leadership to help boost the motivation and morale of the team as well. After all, Votto did manage to hit 14 home runs and drove in 38 runs in just 65 games played with the Cincinnati Reds last season, so his production could still be relevant. In addition, he would be the perfect platoon with the right-handed hitting Justin Turner in the designated hitter position, as well as being a playable backup to the first base position.

On the other hand, if the Jays have already considered 2024 a lost season and will be sellers at the trade deadline, then there wouldn’t be any point having Votto in the starting lineup. Because that playing time should go to the kids instead to see what they have going forward in the organization. However, Votto could still be useful in the clubhouse as a bench player to act as a mentor to help guide the younger Jays on their game. That would be similar to the role that Omar Vizquel played back in 2012 with the Jays, and in due time the growing core became contenders once again a few years later.

So in one way or another, Votto should be able to provide some value to the Jays, whether on the field or in the clubhouse. But to make the feel-good story of him coming home complete, the Jays should make sure he joins the big league team in some capacity before he ultimately calls it a career.