Clearly this is a move borne of his personal disgrace over helping to assemble such a horrible te — oh, wait. It’s the Phillies. I still automatically think “Devil Rays” when I hear his name. But boy, this one is strange. “Shocking” according to Bob Brookover of the Inquirer:
LaMar did not return phone calls or text messages from the Inquirer Tuesday night, but during an extensive review of the 2011 minor-league season last week he gave zero indication that he was about to step down. Instead, the now former assistant general manager in charge of player development raved about the farm system’s vast talent and resources.
I got it: he gave that interview before learning that, contrary to his initial impression, the Phillies future was murky at best. That had to be it. It’s something that certainly rocked the foundations of many of you guys.
Or, rather, he realizes that leaving on top is not a bad thing at all, especially when there are other GM openings in places like Chicago. I mean, I haven’t heard his name mentioned as a potential Cubs GM — and at 55 he isn’t quite the model of a young, analytical type the Cubs are reported to be interested in hiring — but there are opportunities out there for LaMar out there.
Opportunities that he’s not going to get working behind a ninja. A ninja who is considerably younger than he is.
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.