As first reported by Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register, the Cubs officially reinstated third baseman Ian Stewart on Saturday evening at Triple-A Iowa following his 10-game team-issued suspension.
Stewart was charged with violating the loyalty clause in his contract earlier this month when he tweeted disparagingly about the Cubs organization and his standing in it. “The Cubs are done with me,” is what the 28-year-old wrote specifically. “There [sic] going to let me rott [sic] in AAA all season and then non tender me after. … I think (manager Dale Sveum) doesn’t like me and he’s running the show.”
Stewart is batting just .168/.286/.372 in 133 plate appearances this season at the Triple-A level.
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.