Blue Jays: Reds GM "will consider" trading Joey Votto home if out of contention
By Evan Gignac
In a bit of a surprising comment made by Cincinnati Reds general manager Nick Krall, he made it known that a trade of Joey Votto to the Blue Jays could be on the table.
As noted, the Reds would have to be out of contention by the trade deadline, as well as the Blue Jays needing to request Votto’s services. With the Reds in the middle of a rebuild and the Jays in the middle of contention, is there a fit between Votto and his hometown team?
Votto, a Hall of Fame talent and one of the greatest Canadian baseball players in the history of the sport, is in his final guaranteed season of his contract with the Reds. The GTA native is out to show he’s still got some fuel left in the tank, as he underwent surgery on his rotator cuff last season after a disappointing 91 game stretch.
2021 shed some light onto just what Votto can produce when healthy, despite being in his late thirties. Consistent power with his classic affinity of getting on base, paired with his colorful personality and veteran leadership, make him a great fit for any team. A 139 OPS+ over 129 games that season is an impressive showing for anyone, especially considering it was done by a then 37 year-old on an uncompetitive team.
However, where he fits on the Blue Jays roster is the tricky part. Someone who possesses Votto’s profile is currently on the roster already in Brandon Belt. The phrases left-handed hitting, on base machine with power, veteran presence, coming off an injury plagued year, and on an expiring contract fit both of these players. With Vladimir Guerrero Jr. also in the picture at first, there’s simply no room on the roster for Votto at this point.
The Reds would benefit from a Votto trade, as Tyler Stephenson is set to see more action at first this year. A trade would also open the door for prospect Christian Encarnacion-Strand to make his way up to Cincinnati and play first base.
Unless Belt’s situation changes, it’s unlikely this trade materializes. Votto returning home to help in the playoff push down the stretch would be quite the narrative, but at this point in time it’s one that is highly unlikely.