Joey Votto in a Blue Jays uniform – it sounds like an unequivocal fantasy. One which has been brewing around these parts for quite some time. Even after Votto signed his 10-year contract extension with the Reds, it’s been a topic of constant discussion – when is somebody going to rescue Votto from Cincinnati?
Lately, the drums have been banging louder than ever for the Blue Jays to bring Joey Votto home to Toronto. Richard Griffin unearthed some news about the Blue Jays discussions with the Reds last year, and those fires of interest in Votto may have been stoked once again.
Ross Atkins spoke to Mike Wilner during the Blue Jays radio broadcast last night, and when asked how the club could improve the roster, Atkins described Joey Votto down to the exact details without actually mentioning his name:
“As you look around, I think the one area that is not necessarily individual, it’s the fact that we are right-handed dominant. If we could add a left-handed bat to this team that is hot, that’s established and has a great track record, that would be fantastic.
It would be really hard to do … because where would you play him and what would be the cost?”
Who else could this possibly be other than Joey Votto? Time and time again, we’ve heard the front office preach about the need to diversify this lineup with a left-handed bat, and in acquiring Dioner Navarro, at least that gives the Jays some options.
As Ross Atkins reiterated in that interview, Blue Jays really don’t have an impact reliable lefty bat in this lineup going forward (sorry Michael Saunders and Justin Smoak). Unprovoked, Atkins kind of/sort of acknowledged the Blue Jays’ interest in Joey Votto.
It’s quite interesting that Ross Atkins went right there to Joey Votto, even though Atkins was just asked generally how the Blue Jays could improve the team prior to the August 31st cut-off.
[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”Ross Atkins” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”18″]If we could add a left-handed bat to this team that is hot, that’s established and has a great track record, that would be fantastic.[/perfectpullquote]
Atkins is either screwing with fans (don’t do that, Ross), playing into Wilner’s affinity for Votto, or there’s been some genuine talks with the Reds in regards to a Joey Votto deal.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s an absolute longshot for the Blue Jays to go out and get Joey Votto. It’s very unlikely they have the prospect capital to get a deal done with the Reds. Not only that, but would the Jays be willing to clear the cupboard bare for yet another acquisition?
But if the Blue Jays were going to go all-out for somebody (like they did last year for an established superstar in David Price), then it should be for an elite player like Joey Votto.
The reason why I do think this Votto thing could have some legs is the Blue Jays might be one of the few teams that could take on the bulk of Votto’s salary, rather than asking the Reds to eat a good portion of that contract. Tue Blue Jays pulled off similar moves (although on a much smaller scale) with Melvin Upton Jr. and Francisco Liriano.
It’s probably a pipe dream and it’s highly unlikely the Blue Jays would ever pull off something to land Joey Votto. But in the words of the immortal David Wooderson, it would be a whole lot cooler if they did.