Jonathan Papelbon is awesome

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Papelbon 2.jpgJonathan Papelbon sat down for an interview with ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes and the subject of his soon-to-arrive son came up.  And I gotta tell ya, I’m really starting to take a shine to Jonathan Papelbon:

Papelbon’s wife, Ashley, is
pregnant with the couple’s second child, a brother for toddler daughter
Parker. The child is due in April.
“Got a name picked out,”
Papelbon says. “Gunner Roberts.” The significance? “Nothing, man. Just a
badass name, so we went with it.’

Jay from Fack Youk, who shot me the link, has a list of rejected Junior Papelbon names.  I’m going to talk to the wife about changing my boy’s name to “Rambo Rocky Calcaterra” as soon as she comes home from work.

In other news, Papelbon had no idea that the Red Sox had signed John Lackey until the team trainer told him the other day. He didn’t know about the Cameron, Beltre or Kotchman deals until he sat down for the interview.  There’s some interesting byplay about young Daniel Bard maybe taking his job someday. From what I can gather, the Sox could probably just tell Papelbon that the eighth inning is the ninth inning and vice-versa and he wouldn’t know the difference, thereby averting any controversy.

Anyway, like the lady said, the world is made for people who aren’t cursed with self-awareness.  Or any sort of awareness, really.

Joey Votto: “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently.”

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
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We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.

Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”

Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).

Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.