CINCINNATI, Ohio (WDTN) — Joey Votto’s $20 million option for 2024 was declined Saturday by the Reds, making the first baseman a free agent and ending his career with Cincinnati after 17 seasons.

The club bought out Votto’s contract for $7 million, making him a free agent.

Nick Krall, President of Baseball Operations released a statement about the decision:

“At this point in the off-season, based on our current roster and projected plans for 2024, as an organization we cannot commit to the playing time Joey deserves. He forever will be part of the Reds’ family, and at the appropriate time, we will thank and honor him as one of the greatest baseball players of this or any generation.”

Votto spent 22 total seasons with the club as first basemen. He is a six-time All-Star player and was the 2010 League Most Valuable Player.

Votto, 40, hit .202 with 14 homers and 38 RBIs in 65 games this season. He didn’t play his first game until June 19, 10 months to the day after surgery on his left biceps and rotator cuff.

He also has a .294 average with 356 homers and 1,144 RBIs.

Cincinnati also declined its part of a $4 million mutual option with catcher Curt Casali, who gets a $750,000 buyout.

Casali, 34, hit .175 with six RBIs over 50 games in his first season with the Reds. He is a 10-year big league veteran.