There are a few questions that must be answered:
1) Was his down season a result of his new approach? (I'm not convinced it wasn't just an off year.)
2) Are his 2013 numbers his new normal? (Is a huge part of his value walk/single-driven?)
3) Is he willing to change his approach at the organization's request (because it's clear the organization isn't happy with his results this season)?
If he's content being a .900 OPS table-setter, then the Reds will move him. Other clubs may pay $220 million to an exceptional 2-hole hitter, but the Reds can't. Because if his primary value is getting on base (and I'm not suggesting this isn't valuable) and relying on others to knock him in, that handcuffs the Reds. They have to allocate their payroll wisely, and spending $220 million on a corner infielder who bats second makes it tough to put run producers (typically more expensive) behind him -- and tough to find positions for those guys.
There are teams who can build their rosters that way, but I don't think the Reds are one of them.
I like Votto and don't want him to go anywhere. But I do think he has to understand the reality of this situation and that these are games to be won or lost every day -- not theoretical statistical equations to be proven or disproven over time.
Essentially, the smart money says that a team's best hitter should bat second, and not third like the conventional wisdom says. And with a .455 wOBA and a 192 wRC+ during the regular season, Miguel Cabrera fits the bill of the Tigers' best hitter.
Why would you give a guy $200 million and then tell him "stop doing those things you did that caused us to pay you all that money?"
Not to mention that "RISP" is a ridiculous carve out of meaningful data.
He doubles home a guy from first, you don't count it. A two run homer with a guy on first. Nope, not in the population. A solo homer? Well, of course he "choked" earlier in the game with RISP, another meaningless homer. Not adding to his BA with RISP. Trade da bum.
I'm not sure what the optimal Z-swing is, but the fact that Joey is only 1 or 2 percent above average (which includes pitchers and backups) says there's room for improvement. Many of his teammates have higher rates than he does.
If Joey could increase his Z-swing percentage by 5 percent, at the expense of his O-swing percentage going up 2 percent.. I think that would be worth it.
Note, I realize that increasing the Z-swing is going to also probably increase the O-swing.
I love Joey, I'm glad he's on the team, but when he says stuff like "I refuse to ever make an out to drive in a run", that's not good for a #3 hitter.
We can talk about maximizing the big inning, etc. but there are times (like in the playoffs) when you need a run. When Votto has the passive approach all season, he's not going to be able to change it on the playoffs.
People talk about Phillips drop off in the 2nd half. That's certainly valid to bring up.. But I think Votto's passivity compounded the problem..
It analogous to the Dunn years. If Dunn came up with runners in scoring position, the pitcher would just nibble and either walk or strike out Dunn most of the time.. Either way, the pitcher got to face EdE or another lesser threat, which is advantageous to the other team, and kind of negates the value of that walk (when given).