Darren Oliver drawing interest from multiple teams

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We heard earlier this week that Darren Oliver was on the verge of re-signing with the Rangers, but things have evidently changed over the past few days.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the veteran left-hander is drawing interest from multiple teams, including the Red Sox, and is “keeping an open mind” on his destination for next season.

Oliver earned $3.25 million this season while posting a 2.29 ERA and 44/11 K/BB ratio over 51 innings. One of the more unsung middle relievers in the game, he has an outstanding 2.97 ERA since moving to the bullpen full-time in 2006. The 41-year-old was mulling retirement following the World Series, but recently decided to return for his 19th season in the big leagues.

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.