Joey Votto is a perennial All-Star candidate in the National League. This year he finished second in voting for the MVP in the National League, behind only Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins. Votto could have won the MVP, based on his numbers. Votto batted .320 this season, while blasting 36 home runs and driving in 100 runs. Votto is consistently a top player in the league, and as he ages, he is only missing the accolades of a proven playoff contender. Could the Mets be the team to provide the playoff experience Votto is missing?
The Mets, who seem unsatisfied with Dom Smith at the first base position, have made not made it secret that they are looking to upgrade at the position. They have been linked to having interest in Carlos Santana, and many speculate that they may have interest in Eric Hosmer. While it is unlikely that they will sign either of those players, if we are talking about first basemen, why not throw Votto’s name into the hat?
Votto’s current team, the Cincinnati Reds, are a team that is going nowhere fast. Votto, 34, will most likely never see the playoffs if he remains with the Reds. The Mets, who are a slugger and a healthy season from their pitching rotation away from competing for a playoff spot could use a veteran presence in the clubhouse.
Obviously, there are potential downsides to dealing for the slugger. To get Votto, you would have to give up a bounty of prospects. Assuming Amed Rosario is untouchable, you’d have to give up names like Smith, P.J Conlon, and potentially Brandon Nimmo. The Reds would also probably want the Mets to assume most of the contract, which is gargantuan in size. The Reds still owe Votto a ridiculous amount of money, and the $25 Million that Votto is set to earn for the next few seasons isn’t too appealing to the eyes.
A final thought of Votto that would make him unappealing to trade for would be his age. At 34, it is unknown whether Votto could produce at the same clip that he is currently producing at. He may not be a long term option at first base for the team, and may create a window for the team to win within. Although a window may exist with keeping the pitching core of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, and Steven Matz together for as long as possible. Harvey may be gone as soon as next offseason, so the time they have with them as a quartet is highly limited.
While trading for Votto would not be the smartest thing the Mets could do this offseason, it would certainly make a splash. A lineup with Yoenis Cespedes and Votto hitting next to each other would be absolutely lethal, and would put them into playoff contention. A trade for Votto would never happen, but it is still fun to imagine what it would be like to have an elite first baseman.