Neil Walker is in The Best Shape of His Life

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Man, this is two days old! The things I miss at the Winter Meetings. From Tom Singer’s report at MLB.com:

According to the GM, [Neil] Walker “is getting close to getting into his [regular] offseason routine after a great rehab program … The rehab went really well, and he’s worked his tail off and looks forward to coming into Spring Training in the best shape of his life.”

Right on the nose, but I fear the era of BSOHL stories is drawing to a close. Singer, the writer, is quite aware of this being a meme. With the writers are aware, next will come the agents and players and eventually, I’d say within a year or two, even team owners and officials will either avoid the cliche or only offer it with a wink.

Sad, I suppose, but also the final evidence of the success of the BSOHL awareness campaign.

 

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.