Joey Votto is finally playing MiLB games, but do the Blue Jays have a spot for him?

Baltimore Orioles Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles Toronto Blue Jays / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages
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Fans may be close to seeing former NL MVP Joey Votto in a Blue Jays uniform after being transferred to the Florida Complex League on Monday, as reported by MLB's Keegan Matheson. Votto, 40, signed a minor-league deal with the Jays in early March and only had one spring training at-bat, where he launched a first-pitch fastball off Zack Wheeler for a home run. On the way back to the dugout, Votto rolled his ankle and landed on the injured list.

The 17-year veteran made his FCL debut on Wednesday, walking in his only plate appearance before being lifted in favor of youngster Cristian Feliz.

Votto, although suffering from back-end career woes, would be a good addition to Toronto's depth if he could stay healthy. Votto has been on the decline for about the last five seasons but has still managed to perform adequately. In 2023, he slashed .202/.314/.433. A low average yes, but made up for it with power and walks, good for a right around league-average wRC+ of 99.

The Jays' lefty depth is pretty slim with recent departures of Daniel Vogelbach and Cavan Biggio. Although Atkins recently called up Spencer Horwitz and Addison Barger (both lefties) to compensate, as it stands: it's just the two youngsters, Kevin Kiermaier and Daulton Varsho. While Votto wouldn't be playing most days, the lefty option is useful- especially in key situations. Votto might not fare well as a righty-platoon bat, but could pinch hit in the 8th for a righty against a righty, for example.

Votto also provides the Jays with something they've been sorely lacking: power. Of course Votto won't be hitting 30+ home runs like he did in his prime, but still provides the Jays with a solid amount of power. He hit 14 HR in only 65 games last year which helped him acquire an ISO of .223, not bad for a 40-year old!

Votto also seems to do what some Jays seem to miss and that's taking walks. Votto's strikeout numbers have gone up in recent years, reaching 25.8% in 2023, but he compensates this with a 11.2 BB%. Again, it's not the 20% we would've gotten with prime Votto, but still a solid number in the mid-80th percentile.

Votto's presence on the Jays would mirror that of Brandon Belt. Like Belt, Votto may not run particularly well or hit for a high average, but he will provide you with good ABs, a decent amount of power and a lefty option to lean on. Will he solve the Jays' problems? No. Will he a be good piece to have for the fans and for bench depth? Certainly.