Joey Votto reaches base six times as Reds rout Phillies

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If you needed a reminder that Joey Votto is the best pure hitter in baseball, you got one this evening as the Reds defeated the Phillies 10-0. Joey Votto came to the plate six times and reached base all six times, including a two-run home run in the top of the ninth that served as the cherry on top of a delicious cupcake. Overall, Votto had two walks and four hits including the homer, a double, and two singles.

Votto is the second player to reach base six times in one game this season, joining teammate Shin-Soo Choo who accomplished the feat on April 20 against the Marlins. Prior to that, Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill reached base six times last September 4 against the Giants. Neil Walker, Ben Zobrist, and Mark Reynolds also joined Hill last year.

Votto entered today’s game with the 15th-best weighted on-base average at .410, somehow a shade below his career average .413. To put his career in historical perspective, he also had a career adjusted OPS of 155, tied for the 19th-best mark in baseball history among players with at least 3,000 career plate appearances. (100 is average.) Other players at 155 include Hank Aaron, Joe DiMaggio, and Mel Ott. Not bad company.

The full list:

Rk Player OPS+ PA From To
1 Babe Ruth 206 10622 1914 1935
2 Ted Williams 190 9788 1939 1960
3 Barry Bonds 182 12606 1986 2007
4 Lou Gehrig 179 9663 1923 1939
5 Rogers Hornsby 175 9480 1915 1937
6 Mickey Mantle 172 9907 1951 1968
7 Shoeless Joe Jackson 170 5693 1908 1920
8 Ty Cobb 168 13082 1905 1928
9 Albert Pujols 167 8288 2001 2013
10 Mark McGwire 163 7660 1986 2001
11 Jimmie Foxx 163 9676 1925 1945
12 Stan Musial 159 12717 1941 1963
13 Johnny Mize 158 7370 1936 1953
14 Hank Greenberg 158 6097 1930 1947
15 Tris Speaker 157 11992 1907 1928
16 Frank Thomas 156 10075 1990 2008
17 Dick Allen 156 7315 1963 1977
18 Willie Mays 156 12496 1951 1973
19 Joey Votto 155 3261 2007 2013
20 Hank Aaron 155 13941 1954 1976
21 Joe DiMaggio 155 7673 1936 1951
22 Mel Ott 155 11348 1926 1947
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/18/2013.

Yadier Molina will not enter contract negotiations during the 2017 season

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Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina is still open to extension talks during the last week of spring training. Once Opening Day rolls around, however, Molina has preemptively nixed any contract negotiations until the end of the 2017 season, when he’s scheduled to hit free agency.

Molina wants to stay with the Cardinals, or so he’s telling reporters, but he’s also “not afraid” to test the free agent market this fall should a deal fail to materialize. Via Goold:

I would love to stay, but at the same time I’m not afraid to go to free agency. I’ve still got many years in the tank. Believe me. I feel great. I feel like a 20-year-old kid. I’m not afraid to go to free agency.

The 34-year-old backstop is entering his final year under contract, though Goold points out that he has a $15 million option for 2018 that he can choose to decline in the event that it’s exercised by the team. He’s reportedly searching for a figure closer to those made by other top catchers like Buster Posey and Russell Martin.

The 2017 season will mark Molina’s 14th year in the Cardinals’ organization, building on a career that has spanned seven All-Star campaigns, nine postseason runs and two World Series championships in St. Louis. He batted .307/.360/.427 with eight home runs and a .787 OPS for the club in 2016.

Colby Rasmus could start 2017 on the disabled list

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Colby Rasmus isn’t ready to take outfield reps just yet. According to Rays’ manager Kevin Cash, that’s a red flag, one that could potentially postpone Rasmus’ debut as the club’s designated hitter and outfielder in 2017. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Rasmus will need to prove he can play a defensive position before getting cleared for the active roster, something which the veteran outfielder has yet to do this spring.

Rasmus, 30, signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Rays following his two-year run with the Astros. He batted a meager .206/.286/.355 with 15 home runs and a .641 OPS in 2016 and was shut down in late September with an unspecified hip/groin issue. Entering the 2017 season, he’s expected to work his way back to a full-time role after undergoing surgery to repair his core muscle and left hip labrum last October.

The Rays also finalized their one-year, $1.2 million deal with catcher Derek Norris on Saturday and will need to clear room for him on the 40-man roster. Topkin speculates that the move could send Rasmus to the 60-day disabled list, though the outfielder is not projected to miss more than a couple weeks of the regular season.