I’m not sure if this means the Dodgers think they’re buyers at 41-51 or what, but they’ve acquired Juan Rivera from the Blue Jays for a player to be named later or “cash considerations” while designating Marcus Thames for assignment.
Setting aside the absurdity of the Dodgers sending “cash considerations” to another team–surely the Blue Jays are paying nearly all of Rivera’s remaining salary–Rivera and Thames are about as identical as two players can get, as they’re both defensively challenged, right-handed-hitting corner outfielders with 25-homer power who should be limited to platoon roles facing left-handed pitching.
Rivera is 34 and has a .779 career OPS, Thames is 32 and has a .794 career OPS. Rivera might be slightly better than Thames in a larger role and he’s healthier at the moment, but by swapping them the Dodgers are basically doing nothing. Talk about shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.
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.