The 2022 season is officially over for Cincinnati Reds 1st baseman Joey Votto. Following the team’s 1-0 walk-off victory of the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday afternoon, Votto announced that he would undergo shoulder surgery for a rotator cuff tear on Friday and that it will end his season – first reported by Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Votto was out of the lineup on Wednesday, though with a left-handed starter on the mound and an off day on Thursday, it seemed reasonable to simply view it as a normal day off. And pre-game manager David Bell said just that, according to Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
David Bell said it was a scheduled day off for Votto and had been for a bit. Votto hadn’t had a day off in a bit, and the Reds are facing a left-handed starter.
— Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) August 17, 2022
The injury certainly could help explain the slump that Joey Votto has been in. While father time can explain some of what’s happened this year overall, in the last ten days, Votto was 2-36 with both of those hits coming in the same game. His OPS dropped nearly 60 points during that run and his season will now end with him hitting .205/.319/.370 on the season. His 85 OPS+ is the worst of his career and only the second time he’s ever been below league average at the plate (2019 when he had a 95 OPS+ was the other season).
With his season now being over, he can look forward to recovering and getting ready for 2023. The rehab process for position players having surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff if generally a 6-month process. That would put Votto on track to return for a full spring training if things go as expected. Next year is technically his final season under contract. There is a team option for the 2024 season. If Cincinnati picks it up it would cost them $20,000,000. But if they decline the option the buy out is $7,000,000. That leaves the decision to realistically be over $13,000,000 to have Votto around in 2024 or to not have him around in 2024 at the age of 40.