Michael Bourn is looking for $100 million? OK, good luck with that

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I’m gonna be sick to death of this stuff by January, but man, I forgot how much I loved the scuttlebutt, rumors, slanders, lies, hyperbole and general silliness of the hot stove season.  And it hasn’t truly begun until you start hearing things about Scott Boras clients, be it stuff from Boras himself or from people who are speculating about what his clients are demanding.

Up next: Michael Bourn, who CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury has heard is seeking a contract of around $100 million.

Before you say anything, let’s remember something about how offseasons work.  (1) people sign big contracts; (2) everyone mocks the contracts as silly and crazy and oh my god they’re going to bust the team; and (3) within a couple of years most of them don’t look too terribly bad and even the real clunkers end up being more annoying than team-killing.  Hell, even Barry Zito got some redemption this year. Add into that the fact that so many teams have so much more money now due to the big TV deals dropping and you’ll quickly realize that we’re entering a different world.

With that large caveat aside, if Bourn does get $100 million, we certainly are entering a much different financial world than the one we currently know.  He’s a good player. Great on defense, can steal some bases and is in the lineup every day. But he sported a 274/.348/.391 batting line in his walk year and that’s better than his career line.  He’s a 90 OPS+ guy. Dave Roberts without the legendary playoff steal.

Which is really nice, actually. But that skill set has not previously garnered anyone $100 million, and it’s hard to see how it might now, even in this brave new world.

Joey Votto: “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently.”

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
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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.