Mets, Cubs talked Geovany Soto

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It’s no secret that the Mets have been looking for a right-handed complement to Josh Thole behind the plate. That search led to talks with the Cubs regarding Geovany Soto this past week.

Andy Martino broke the news today, but he said a deal was unlikely. Following up on it, the Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rogers said talks were dead. The Cubs are open to moving Soto and going with Steve Clevenger and Welington Castillo as a catching tandem, but Soto’s salary was probably more than the Mets were interested in taking on, particularly since they’re now looking more towards 2013.

The Mets have also engaged in talks for Colorado’s Ramon Hernandez and Boston’s Kelly Shoppach in the past without coming away with either. Those players could both come at discounts after Tuesday’s trade deadline, assuming they clear waivers.

Soto, 29, has hit just .195/.278/.345 this season, and given that he’s making $4.3 million, he’s looking like a top non-tender candidate this winter. The Mets could again look at him then. Unless he comes through with a big finish here, he’s probably looking at a salary closer to $2 million in 2013, making him more palatable as a backup.

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.