Joey Votto Is Aging — Quickly
Jun 29, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) looks on during the ninth inning of the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. The Cincinnati Reds defeated the San Francisco Giants 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Joey Votto has been the Reds’ best player for most of the last six or seven years, but 2014 was the second season in the past three when he lost significant time due to injury. In 2014, “significant” meant an even 100 games lost to a recurring quad problem that has no guarantee of being resolved. In truth, Votto probably should have played in 30-40 fewer games than he did, but the team kept limping him along.
Votto just turned 31 years old, which is not “old” but puts him clearly on the wrong side of his peak years. And, while he will make just $14 million in 2015, his big contract extension does not really kick in until 2016, when he’ll collect the first of nine straight $20-million+ paychecks.
Regardless of how much the Reds pay him, Votto is unlikely to bounce back to his 2010-11 peak, and that’s what the Reds really need, particularly in the face of offensive challenges elsewhere and the drag that Votto’s contract puts on the team’s ability to acquire other players.