Mike Minor: start me in the majors or trade me

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Braves starter Mike Minor is likely to be the Braves’ fifth starter. But yesterday he made it clear that, if there’s any doubt about that, he’d just as soon be traded:

“Overall, it’s not really – it’s about making the team, but if … I can control my third pitch and have a decent fourth pitch, then there’s no reason I shouldn’t pitch in the big leagues somewhere. If they don’t have room for me here, then there’s no reason they shouldn’t trade me or just do something with me.”

He sort of backed off that later, saying that the Braves should trade him if he hasn’t earned his spot in the rotation.  Which is sort of the same, but definitely different in tone.  His original comments make it seem like he thinks he’s already earned it and deserves to start before Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado.  And he’s probably right about that.

Thing is, it’s all probably moot.  With the 1-2-3 in that rotation being Tim Hudson, Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson — all three either injury risks, injury bouncebacks and/or trade candidates — Minor, Teheran and Delgado will all likely have a place in that rotation alongside Brandon Beachy and one of the remaining 1-2-3 this time next year. If not sooner.

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.