On Saturday, the Cincinnati Reds announced that they would be declining the 2024 option on Joey Votto's contract, making their longtime first baseman a free agent. On Sunday, Votto expressed his gratitude to the team and the city.

“If this is the last time I'll play as a Cincinnati Red, I want to speak out loud my gratitude,” Votto said on a video posted to his X (formerly Twitter) account. “I want to thank the community, I want to thank Cincinnati for being so welcoming.”

Votto has spent his entire MLB career with the Reds organization. In 17 seasons, Votto was a six-time All-Star and won the NL MVP award in 2010. He finishes his career in Cincy with a .294 batting average, 356 home runs, and 1,144 RBI.

But Reds president of baseball operations Nick Krall didn't see a place for Votto on the roster with all the young talent the team has coming from its farm system. He could not promise Votto the playing time the Reds legend deserves.

Krall also admitted the Votto decision was not a financial one, and that a new deal for Votto with the team was not discussed.

In the video posted, Votto recounted coming to America for the first time and growing up in the Reds organization.

“I'm from Toronto, Canada, and when I came down to the US as an 18-year-old, it was an intimidating experience,” he admitted. “I grew comfortable and eventually made it to Cincinnati, and that was another intimidating experience. But it blossomed into the best stretch of my entire life.”

Votto continued, saying “thank you to all the Reds fans in Cincinnati and elsewhere. I couldn't have loved an experience more and I'm so proud to have been able to play for the oldest Major League team. To have played for a team that just was endless gifts coming my way.”

It's not clear if Votto will continue playing with another team, but he was proud to state he would “always be a Cincinnati Red.”

“The memories are endless, the growth as an individual, I'm so thankful.”