For a brief time last winter there was some talk of pitcher-turned-outfielder Adam Loewen winning an Opening Day job with the Mets, but instead he spent the season at Triple-A and didn’t play particularly well.
Loewen left as a free agent and has returned to the Blue Jays, agreeing to a minor-league deal. Loewen is Canadian and played in Toronto’s minor-league system from 2009-2011 after his pitching career with Baltimore ended.
Time is running out for Loewen to stick in the majors as a position player, because he’s now 29 years old and the former No. 4 overall pick in the 2002 draft and one-time top pitching prospect has already spent two seasons at Triple-A, hitting .283 with 25 homers and an .837 OPS in 196 games.
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.