Votto, who shared friendship with ‘Rabbit 1 & Rabbit 2’ Choo Shin-soo, leaves Cincinnati after 17 years…”It’s not about money, I can’t guarantee playing time”

The Cincinnati Reds have parted ways with first baseman Joey Votto, 40.

The Reds declined to exercise Votto’s club option, MLB.com reported on Friday, saying, “It appears his time in Cincinnati has come to an end.”

Votto is a Cincinnati franchise star who batted .294 (7252-for-2135) with 356 home runs, 1144 RBI, 1171 runs scored, 80 doubles and a .920 OPS in 2056 games over 17 major league seasons (2007-2023). He joined Cincinnati as a second-round (44th overall) draft pick in 2002 and has never left the team since.

The 2010 National League MVP, Votto has a long list of accolades to his credit, including six All-Star appearances (2010-2013, 2017-2018) and a Gold Glove in 2011. In 2013, he and Shin-Soo Choo (who was playing for Cincinnati that year) split the National League’s 1-2 slugging percentage (.435 for Votto, .423 for Choo). During Player’s Weekend in 2017, when players wore nicknames on their jerseys instead of their names, Shin-Soo Choo wore TOKKI1 and Votto wore TOKKI2. The nickname comes from Votto’s praise of Choo Shin-soo, saying, “I can’t catch you like a rabbit that can’t catch up no matter how fast you run.”

Votto, who continues to play in Cincinnati after Shin-Soo Choo’s return to Korea from the major leagues, has seen his numbers decline recently. Last year, he batted just 2-for-5 (66-for-322) with 11 homers, 41 RBIs, and a .689 OPS in 91 games, and this year, he’s been a little less impressive, batting 2-for-2 (42-for-208) with 14 homers, 38 RBIs, and a .747 OPS in 65 games.

Votto signed a 10-year, $225 million extension with Cincinnati in 2012. When this year’s season ended, so did Votto’s 10-year deal. Cincinnati would have had to exercise a $20 million team option to keep Votto for another year, but the Reds declined to pay the 40-year-old, whose decline was already evident, a $7 million buyout.

“Based on our direction, our roster, his playing time and how it impacts us moving forward, we felt it was the right decision not to exercise his club option,” Cincinnati president of baseball operations Nick Kroll said of the decision. 보스토토

After winning 82 games and missing the postseason by two games this season, Cincinnati had glimmers of hope for next season as its young players showed promise. According to MLB.com, “Cincinnati’s rebuilding program has produced several young players, including Eli DeLacruz, Matt McLain, Noelby Marte, Spencer Steer and Christian Encarnacion-Strand. Alongside them, they have mainstays like Jonathan India. Encarnacion-Strand and Steer are our first basemen.”

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