By Joey Votto’s lofty standards, batting .284/.417/.419 counts as a down year, and the Reds first baseman tells MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon that he is aiming for a return to form in 2019. Votto plans to refocus on his hitting during his offseason preparations, while also putting a greater emphasis on conditioning. “It’s not like I dogged it or anything, but there are levels to it,” Votto said. “If I was 99 percent ready, to be at your very best you need to be at 99.9 percent. I would never have once come into Spring Training and a Major League season without feeling like I’m ready. There are really extremes. I do feel like that’s something I fell short on.” While Votto still led the league in his OBP, his power dropoff was pronounced, as he posted the lowest full-season slugging percentage, isolated power, and home run numbers of his career. Votto has been a remarkably productive and consistent player over his career, though since he did just turn 35 in September, so some manner of decline wouldn’t be a surprise going forward, assuming Votto doesn’t get things figured out this winter.
More from around the NL Central…
- The Reds have some extra payroll to spend and they’ve been linked to several available pitchers this winter, though president of baseball operations Dick Williams threw a bit of cold water on the many rumors swirling around this team thus far in the offseason. Speaking to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer and other reporters at the Redsfest fan event, Williams said that “the reports as a whole I’ve been surprised by how inaccurate they’ve been. They’ve taken us by surprise because they were so off base. I’m not going to comment on which ones they were. I’ll just caution that in general that those statements on a guy we’re in on or not in on….I just don’t know where that comes from.” Free agents and trade targets ranging from Dallas Keuchel, J.A. Happ, Patrick Corbin, Sonny Gray, and (before he was dealt to the Yankees) James Paxton have all reportedly drawn some interest from Cincinnati.
- Pirates right-hander Ivan Nova has changed agents and is now being represented by the Wasserman agency, The Athletic’s Robert Murray tweets. Nova is entering the last season of a three-year, $26MM free agent deal he signed in the 2016-17 offseason, and the righty has been solid over the first two-thirds of that contract, posting a 4.16 ERA, 6.3 K/9, and 3.45 K/BB rate over 348 innings for the Bucs. Similar numbers in 2019 would put Nova in line for another multi-year deal, though he will be 33 years old by Opening Day 2020.
- The Brewers’ ill-fated midseason acquisition of Jonathan Schoop was summed up by GM David Stearns “as a bad deal and that’s on me,” as Stearns said during a phone call with reporters (including Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) on Friday. Stearns surrendered some notable talent to the Orioles in order to land Schoop, who hit just .202/.246/.331 with four home runs over 134 PA as a Brewer, plus an 0-for-8 showing in the postseason. Between this poor performance and Schoop’s projected $10.1MM salary in 2019 through the arbitration process, the Brewers chose to non-tender the second baseman on Friday. Milwaukee did reach agreements with infielders Tyler Saladino and Hernan Perez, each of whom Stearns mentions as possible options for second base, though the team will no doubt explore external options via trades and free agency in the coming weeks. Travis Shaw played some second base down the stretch once the Brewers acquired Mike Moustakas, and while Stearns noted that Shaw’s versatility “is a nice asset to have” in regards to the team’s offseason options, reinstalling Shaw as the everyday third baseman is the team’s “default scenario.”
David Sterns please bring back Moose
This is great.
I laughed for minutes.
They should sign lowrie at least he can play second base
Its David Stearns who is the GM of the Brewers not David Sterns.
All all said and done, Sonny Gray goes to the Reds. — Book it.
Gray was drafted 18th in the 2011 draft from Vanderbilt. New Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson served in that same role at Vanderbilt from 2002-12, Gray’s pitching 2009 to 2011.
Reds’ PC was Gray’s pitching coach*from 2009 to 2011.
Sorry,it would be foolish move by Gray to go to a Ban box of a home ballpark to revamp his career,don’t see it
Gray is not a free agent.
What’s a Ban box? Also, pitchers to go Philly, Yankees, DC all the time and those are home run havens. It’s weak and lazy to simply blame the ballpark
He struggled mightily in NY but he thrived our West in the spacious coliseum. It’s not a stretch for him to say Sonny Gray might not excel in cincy. Though he has no say in the matter.
My bad Gray not a FA but the Reds would be foolish,still don’t see it
Sorry for being condescending to correct u in other post imgman09. Ironically I do need to go to the books to study
Band box he meant. Surprised you could not figure that out.
Sorry, I didn’t use the sarcasm font. If you look at FanGraphs and pitch values he started using a cutter last year, sliced his 4 seam usage a ton and it was a terrible move. So maybe instead of just blaming the park there was a strategy issue. Like don’t throw a pitch 55% of the time that’s getting killed when the rest of your arsenal is working within your career norms.
What is your explanation for the ERA split between home and road last year? Was he only throwing his cutter at home or are you afraid to admit it might’ve been the park??
Or maybe the cutter was getting more fly balls that carried out of the stadium. Can you answer that? You can bring up ERA splits but I think we can (or should, at least) that falls under small sample size, given that he only threw 59.2 innings of his 900 career. Maybe it WAS just the ballpark but the Yankees have a specific pitching philosophy and his repertoire changed drastically after he was traded there. So either you can take 6.66% of his career innings and claim that those are truly representative of him not being able to pitch in a smaller park or maybe look at what CAUSED those numbers to inflate. I’ll go with what 30 pitching coaches and organization’s will probably do. lol burned!
In a roundabout way, I agree with the pitch selection being a thing, I also think that yankee stadium prolly exaggerated the problem. No doubt gray, had success before in his career, has great stuff, the recipe is there for a bounceback.
Think we can agree though it’s tougher to pitch in New York with the pressure, fans, media and whatnot. The ballpark dimensions may not affected him but the bright lights of New York could of.
I want to keep a record on how many times you comment “book it” on every post. Straight comedy.
This would be the second time.
Why salty? You Phills’ fan, your future looks bright
Who should they send to the Yankees?
A bag of balls
Welcome back 3rdSL… Nice avatar..
Always nice to have fans
Btw not “daily” Stop posting lies. Only posted “Book it” in the “Yankees payroll” piece about Yanks signing Corbin and Harper 😉
Can you stop with your foolish book it crap. Take your Yankee fanboy glasses off maybe.
I’m telling u, Cincinnati ballpark may be “bandbox” in their own right, but they have serious interest in trading for Gray, they’re one of 11 teams interested.
My money’s on them. They had serious interest in Paxton — before he was ultimately traded to NYY. How am I wearing “Yankee fanboy glasses” when didn’t list any prospects thought Gray gets?
Trades are different then FA’s,Go back to the books and study
Did you know… Yankees chose to tender contracts to ALL players on their 40 man, that includes all their pre-arb and arb players, like Sonny Gray, in his last year arb
Maybe YOU should go back and study!
Why are you so dramatic all the time. Calling it. Booking it. Can you not just talk like a regular person
Lol, not you too. I made “2 book it.”
1) Harper/Corbin sign with NYY.
2) Sonny Gray ultimately traded to… The Reds.
I could go 0/2, or 2/2. Let the records show…
I mean you could also go 1/2, .5/2 or 1.5/2. I’d still put the over/under at 9
The Reds need to move Votto before it’s too late (if it’s not too late already). You wonder if the Blue Jays would have any interest. I never get why these small market teams make massive deals like the Reds made with Votto, the Twins made with Mauer. It cripples a team’s financial capabilities.
5 years and $132 million left – good luck. There are only so many Brodie’s out there.
Full NTC that he has said multiple times he isn’t interested in waiving
you’re correct, but what else is he supposed to say without alienating reds fans? it’s not like he can say “sure, trade me. that’s cool”
if there was an offer on the table to send him to a winner, he’d have to seriously consider it. especially if he doesn’t feel that the reds FO will put together a winner before his contract is up.
Dude, he literally said he wants to stay in Cincy and doesn’t care if they are rebuilding. And he doesn’t have to say anything if he is worried about alienating fans but he wouldn’t blatantly lie.
Yes, why would small market teams like to keep players who are MVP caliber around for a long length of time? You expect that the first years you’re getting more bang for your buck knowing that the latter years you’ll be probably overpaying but should only the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs sign long term deals?
I think so yes. No point if you’re a middle of the road team to sign big players. They will still finish under .500. He reds are looking for starters, what’s the point? They are not competing.
Reds were contenders and Votto had just won MVP award when the deal was signed
Yes, his power numbers were down, but one thing you don’t get about Votto is that no one critiques there game more than he does after a season and works to improve that area. This guy will still be playing at a higher than average level when he’s 40…book it (couldn’t resist). Also, by comparison his contract is a good deal right now.
They’ll be better off signing LeMahieu/or another versatile player like Marwin Gonzalez. But LeMahieu is my best choice out there overall in terms of defence and offence behind Harper. Machado is not all that great, I’m just not sure why people are so high on him.
Cant ignore Machado’s numbers. Big stats , big doucher.
LeMahieu on the other hand, has a batting tittle, high OBP, hits for a BA, Steal bases, is a Gold Glover, An All star, has some pop and is capable of at least reaching 20 Homer’s. I would say, the older version of Altuve. Imagine.
You got BA, OBP, home run power and speed from you 1st top 3 on that lineup, then you got Power and and some more speed behind in Shaw, Braun and Aguilar. Can’t go wrong with that Offence/or Defence. Either way is a win win.
I think you’re getting a little carried away with LeMahieu.
No offense to DJ LeMahieu, but go look at his career splits. No way he touches 20 homer.
He’s lightened up on that stance of late and he’s a Canada native as well.
Where has he lightened up? He’s always professed he wants to finish his career where he started it. That being said I’m sure there are several situations where he’s willing to accept a trade but he’s allowed to block any he doesn’t like.
Flip side is he’s a 1b/dh type and salary of those types has been dropping considerably for the most part lately. Look at Nelson Cruz as an Example and His numbers last year didn’t tumble.
He did say this past year something has to change he is sick of losing…
After his comments about not giving a crap about baseball in Canada I doubt he would ever be traded there. He is now on Canada’s no trade list.
Votto does not want to leave the reds and can block any trade. we will take gray, will not give up anything of significance for him either. reds will contend this year
Bengals have been singing the same contending song Marvin lewis’ Entire tenure, I guess it’s time to bring that optimism to the Reds?
I gotta tell you I don’t see any way you’re better than fourth in that division. Cubs, MILW, and STL are all much better. Until you can find a rotation there’s not much happening in Cincinnati. I’m not sure you have an outfield this year either.
Winker, Senzel, and Schebler are a pretty damn good outfield. But facts get in the way of arguments I know
Nick Senzel who has never played an inning in the outfield in his professional career. Jesse winker who was an impressive .9 War player despite a good offensive slash line due to his god awful range and pop gun arm and then we get to schebler a below average corner outfielder. Who is playing CF? That’ll certainly be a great defensive outfield, I’m sure your mediocre pitchers will really be helped out. Maybe you ought not let your personal opinion get in the way of facts.
I think he left out one key term good offensive outfield if senzel produces of course but defensively they are looking at being in the 20s or even last in defensive ratings
They play in perhaps the smallest outfield in MLB and other teams in the Central have smallish stadiums too for the most part so Winker’s range is mitigated. Senzel has the foot speed and the arm to play anywhere and I’ll take the team’s assessment that he can man the OF. Schebler doesn’t have a good arm but he has speed. Schebler and Winker have played their entire careers with Hamilton in center covering more ground than almost anyone in MLB so that has to get taken into consideration using some metrics. They’re not very good defensively, I’m not arguing that. But you don’t really have to be. This team played almost 6 seasons with Dunn and Griffey manning 2/3 of the outfield. I’m pretty sure they can manage
Lol Reds contending this year
No way the Teds contend. They have no one in the OF, no one, period. Bunch of AAA guys. Maybe in 2022 or so if they get an OF & SP.
Sorry, Reds, not Teds. May as well be.
Winker projected for 120 wRC+, Senzel 110 and Schebler 99. The worst of the bunch is (conservatively) a league average corner outfielder. That’s not too bad IMO
I think the Brewers should sign Moose and also Bumgarner.