Angels owner says Mike Scioscia and Jerry Dipoto are safe

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Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported earlier this week that Angels owner Arte Moreno had been “expressing unhappiness behind the scenes” with the performance of both longtime skipper Mike Scioscia and first-year general manger Jerry Dipoto.

But that unhappiness isn’t going to lead to much.

Moreno spoke directly with MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez on Saturday afternoon and put to rest the growing speculation that he was considering making significant changes in the front office and dugout.

“Regardless of what happens the next 11 games, Mike Scioscia will 100 percent return,” Moreno said in a phone interview with MLB.com. “I have told him. He wants to come back, I want him to come back. He’s been the manager of the Angels for 13 years. He will be the manager of the Angels for a 14th year. Period.

Jerry Dipoto will be back. I think we’re learning a lot about ourselves, but [Dipoto] will be back.”

Scioscia signed a 10-year contract in 2009. Dipoto was hired this past offseason to replace Tony Reagins.

The Angels entered play Saturday evening with an 82-69 record, ranking third in the American League West and three games behind the Athletics in the hunt for the American League’s second Wild Card.

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.