Joey Votto gets chance to continue playing after agreeing to non-roster invite with Blue Jays

Joey Votto‘s wait to play baseball field again is over as he agreed to a non-roster invite with the Toronto Blue Jays, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

The deal, pending a physical, features a $2 million base salary if Votto makes the team and $2 million more in incentives, per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi.

Votto, a Toronto native, had been without a team after the Cincinnati Reds declined his club option for 2024, making the 17-year veteran a free agent.

“I am excited about the opportunity to work my way back to the Major Leagues,” Votto posted on X Friday afternoon. “It’s even sweeter to attempt this while wearing the uniform of my hometown team, the Toronto Blue Jays.”

The 40-year-old Votto repeatedly mentioned during the offseason how he wasn’t ready to retire and wanted to continue playing, even if a return to the Reds was not in the cards. As recently as Thursday, when he was interviewed during ESPN’s broadcast of the Boston Red Sox-Atlanta Braves game, he said he was still preparing as if he would play again.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to get back on a major league field,” Votto said via “I just miss it. It’s the best game.

“As the weather turns and the days get longer and people get excited to be outside. You know, we have a game that is outside, it’s a party, it’s sunny, green grass. It’s like a big barbecue, and I just miss it. I miss it so much.”

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While he has waited for his phone to ring, Votto kept busy outside of training. In February he went on a mascot scavenger hunt during NHL All-Star Weekend in Toronto. Earlier this week he got into the meme game recreating the “Sad Keanu” photo from 2010.

Votto played only 65 games last season, posting a .202 batting average with 14 home runs and 38 RBI. He missed the start of the season due to a shoulder injury that required surgery and kept him out for 10 weeks.

Given this opportunity with his hometown team, Votto will get a chance to extend his baseball career and go out on his own terms.

“Again, the game will let me know if I’m done,” Votto told the Flippin’ Bats podcast this week. “And I can tell you right now, I will thank my lucky stars when I’m done. I will be grateful; I’ve been so lucky to have gotten to this point, but I need the game to tell me I’m done. I need a healthy version of me to compete, fail, adios, sort of thing.”

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