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Three possible landing spots for Joey Votto

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Someone needs to give Reds legend Joey Votto a job.

The Reds simply do not have room for their franchise icon. Their youth movement has provided results, with Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Spencer Steer showing their potential. 

Jeimer Candelario signed a three-year deal to take over at third base, moving Steer from the hot corner. That signing and the Reds youngsters have left Votto on the outside looking in.

Bob Nightengale from USA Today reported in the middle of January that three teams were interested in Votto. However, Votto remains on the market, waiting for a team needing a veteran presence and a first baseman. 

Votto has kept busy, such as his quest to find mascots during the NHL All-Star Game, but he wants to play again. After all, he wouldn’t compare himself to Sandra Bullock and ask for George Clooney’s help otherwise.

Where could Joey Votto end up? Let’s look at three possible landing spots.

1. Cleveland Guardians

Josh Naylor, the incumbent at first for the Guardians, was their best hitter in terms of OPS+ in 2023. However, he is atop the depth chart at both first and DH. 

Kyle Manzardo is one of the top first-base prospects in the game but is a non-roster invitee in spring training. However, the Guardians could keep him in the minors to game his service time. Such a move would leave utility man David Fry as the other first baseman on the roster. 

Votto may be aging, but he would still provide a powerful bat and veteran leadership to a young roster needing both. He could be a perfect fit for a team still hoping to contend in a weaker division.

2. San Diego Padres

The Padres are also a team in transition with an eye toward contending for a playoff berth. Jake Cronenworth is currently atop their depth chart at first but is best suited to a utility role. 

The infield is also somewhat unsettled as Manny Machado may not be ready to play at third come Opening Day. Machado is also listed atop the depth chart at both third and DH. 

Votto could fill a void at first until Machado is ready for the hot corner, then slide as San Diego’s DH. Although the Padres have been cutting payroll, Votto could be the right option.

3. Los Angeles Angels

First base is locked up for the foreseeable future for the Angels. Nolan Schanuel went from being the 11th overall selection in the 2023 MLB Draft to the starting first baseman in less than two months. 

The DH position, however, is much more unsettled. Brandon Drury is atop the depth chart as the DH and second baseman for the Angels. Luis Rengifo will factor in at second but will be needed around the infield. Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon will also factor in the DH mix as the Angels hope to keep both players healthy through 2024. 

However, if the Angels are looking to have a set option at DH, Votto could be that piece. He would also be able to serve as a mentor for Schanuel as he gets more accustomed to the majors, helping teach him what it takes to handle the position. 

The fit is not quite as good as it would be in San Diego or Cleveland, but the Angels are a realistic landing spot.

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