Nationals officially sticking with Jim Riggleman as manager

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In a move viewed as little more than a formality, the Nationals have officially exercised their 2011 option on manager Jim Riggleman rather than buying him out for $100,000.

“He is a terrific baseball manager,” general manager Mike Rizzo told Bailey Stephens of MLB.com. “He has great respect from his peers in this game. When the game starts, he is as good as anybody in the game. He has the respect in the clubhouse. He is a diligent worker and he is a loyal employee.”

Riggleman has a 102-135 record and .430 winning percentage since taking over for Manny Acta in the middle of last season. He also previously managed the Padres, Cubs, and Mariners, compiling a career record of 624-787 (.442) while finishing above .500 just twice in 11 seasons.

During the past 100 years no one in baseball history has managed more games with a lower winning percentage than Riggleman.

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

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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.