Alex Rios said he was never approached about trade to Yankees

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According to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, the Yankees gave the White Sox’s Alex Rios a long look, only to later move on to Alfonso Soriano. The reason:

Rios, though, refuted that he gave anyone any indication that a trade to the Yankees was off the table. “He should get his facts right because it puts me in a bad spot,” Rios told CSNChicago.com’s Dan Hayes. “I was never asked about that. I don’t know where he’s getting his insights.”

With the White Sox going nowhere fast, Rios makes sense as a trade target for a team looking for an outfielder. The 32-year-old has hit .276/.330/.437 with 12 homers and 21 steals this season, and he’s under contract for a perfectly acceptable $12.5 million next year, with a $13.5 million team option or a $1 million buyout for 2015. According to Hayes, the Pirates and Rangers have also been linked to him.

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

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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.