November 7, 2023
By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
After the Cincinnati Reds declined Joey Votto’s $20-million option for the 2024 season on Saturday – a move that likely ends his 17-season tenure with the club – the Canadian slugger recorded a heartfelt thank you to Cincinnati that he released on social media on Sunday.
“I just wanted to say thank you, if this is the last time I’ll play as a Cincinnati Red, I want to speak out loud my gratitude. I want to thank the community,” said Votto in the close to four-minute video. “I want to thank Cincinnati for being so welcoming. I’m from Toronto, Canada and when I came down to the U.S. as an 18-year-old, it was an intimidating experience and I grew comfortable and eventually made it to Cincinnati and that was another intimidating experience. But it blossomed into the best stretch in my entire life.”
The Reds will pay Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.) a $7-million buyout. The Canadian first baseman is now a free agent and says he “still wants to play” next season.
“For 17 seasons, Joey has been the heart of Reds baseball as a Most Valuable Player, All-Star and respected clubhouse leader. His contributions to our team and his extraordinary generosity toward those in need, throughout our region and beyond cannot be measured,” said Reds general manager Nick Krall in a statement on Saturday.
“At this point of the off-season, based on our current roster and projected plans for 2024, as an organization we cannot commit to the playing time Joey deserves. He forever will be part of the Reds’ family, and at the appropriate time we will thank and honour him as one of the greatest baseball players of this or any generation.”
Votto, who recently turned 40, batted .202 with 14 homers in 65 games for the Reds in 2023 after returning from shoulder surgery.
Among Reds’ all-time leaders
The Canuck slugger ranks among the Reds’ all-time leaders in most offensive categories, including second in total bases (3,706), home runs (356), doubles (459), on-base percentage (.409) and OPS (.920).
“I couldn’t have loved an experience more,” said Votto of his 17-season tenure with the Reds. “And I’m so proud to have been able to play for the oldest major league team, to have played for a team that was just endless gifts coming my way. I’m so humbled. I’m so grateful. And it couldn’t have happened without all of you, without the Cincinnati community. I’ll always be a Cincinnati Red.”
Chasing Walker’s Canadian records
A seven-time winner of the Tip O’Neill Award, presented to the top Canuck player each year by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, Votto has 2,135 major league hits, which leaves him just 25 behind Larry Walker (Maple Ridge, B.C.) for most by a Canadian. His 459 doubles are 12 behind Walker and his 356 home runs trail Walker’s output by 27.
Votto already owns Canadian major league records for most games (2,056), plate appearances (8,746), walks (1,365), All-Star Game selections (6) and on-base percentage (.409).
Green promoted by Milwaukee Brewers
Taylor Green (Comox, B.C.) has been promoted to the position of special assistant of scouting and international player development by the Milwaukee Brewers.
The promotion was announced by the club on Monday.
After spending 10 seasons in the Brewers’ organization as a player from 2006 to 2015, Green has been employed in the club’s scouting department for the past eight years. He joined the Brewers as a professional scout in 2016 and was promoted to supervisor of pro scouting the following year. For the past four campaigns, he has served as assistant director of scouting and international player development.
“Taylor is a top talent evaluator and will thrive in a more pronounced role in the development of the youngest Brewers players,” said Brewers GM Matt Arnold in a news release.