Some of the veteran players and coaches think it’s time to stop talking about rebuilding, but Votto isn’t one of them.
“The younger players trying to establish themselves welcome that word,” Votto said. “They are saying to themselves this is our team, we’re the future, we are the team that’s going to be competing for a World Series one day. Sometimes you have to take a couple of steps back to move forward and that’s what’s happening right now.”
Votto has been hit with plenty of criticism for his approach to the game, but he insists it’s nothing he loses sleep over.
“I don’t mind, because where people hold me, I’m way above that, the way I perceive myself and my goals and where I see myself,” he said. “I haven’t felt much of their criticism. I don’t really hear it.”
Votto has been in the conversation for National League MVP the last two seasons, but he admits that playing for a losing team cancels out a lot of votes.
“You can’t be in that conversation if you do one aspect of the game,” Votto said. “I probably would have been far more embraced 50 or 75 years ago because I’ve had a steady batting average. That would have been a major marker and people would have pointed to that and said look how well he’s playing.”
While Votto sometimes struggles to find words about himself, others are a lot more generous with their praise, including Reds manager Bryan Price.
“Off the top of my head I can’t remember a player that I’ve been around who is so motivated to be so excellent,” Price said. “You can understand those first couple of months last year was such a grind on Joey because the work ethic and the results on the field were so different. His influence on us is huge and it’s huge that he’s healthy and out on the field because he makes us a better ballclub.”