MLB Odds: Will Joey Votto make the Toronto Blue Jays’ Opening Day roster?

Jordan Ramsay | Updated Mar 15, 2024

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds

As Joey Votto attempts to crack the Toronto Blue Jays' Opening Day roster, he remains just 25 hits away from matching Hall o Famer Larry Walker's all-time Canadian hits record.

Arguably the best Canadian baseball player of all-time, first baseman Joey Votto is hoping to end his career with his hometown Blue Jays. The Toronto native is currently signed to a minor league contract, so there’s no guarantee we see him in a Blue Jays uniform, but it hasn’t slowed down fans’ excitement about possibly seeing the former Cincinnati Reds slugger land in Toronto.

So, will Votto make the Toronto Blue Jays Opening Day roster?

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Joey Votto

Votto signed a minor league deal with Toronto on March 8 after going unsigned throughout the off-season. He’s a six-time MLB All-Star, a seven-time Tip O’Neill Award winner and two-time Lou Marsh Trophy winner as Canada’s athlete of the year. Votto also won both the NL MVP Award and the NL Hank Aaron Award in 2010.

What the stats say

Votto appeared in 2,056 career games through 17 seasons with the Reds, finishing with 2,135 hits, 1,365 walks, 356 home runs and 1,114 RBI. He has a .294 career batting average and a .920 OPS. He is the first Canadian since Hall of Famer Larry Walker to have 2,000 hits, 300 home runs and 1,000 career RBI. Among Canadian players in major league baseball history, Votto is second all-time to Walker in hits, home runs, doubles and RBI. He needs just 26 hits to break Walker’s all-time record.

Can Votto stay healthy?

At 40-years-old, the issue right now is Votto’s health. He only managed to play 65 games last season after being limited to 91 games the year before. There’s also a clear decline in his stats as he was a .311 hitter between 2007 and 2018, but his average dipped to .240 over the last five years, including a career-low .202 last season. Still, Votto managed 42 hits last year despite limited appearances, so he won’t need to be an everyday player for the Jays to break Walker’s hits record.

So, where should our expectations be when it comes to Votto? It’s tough to say until he makes his Grapefruit League debut on Sunday. The fact the Blue Jays waited so long to bring Votto to Spring Training isn’t a positive sign, but we’re talking about a future Hall of Fame player with a lot of pride. I’m not willing to write off Votto just yet.