Jesse Crain never pitched for the Rays, but they traded two players for him

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Jesse Crain didn’t recover from shoulder problems soon enough to throw a pitch for Tampa Bay, but because he was on the disabled list at the time of the trade and the Rays knew the risks involved in acquiring him from the White Sox they still had to send a pair of players to be named later to Chicago.

Today is the later and Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the White Sox are getting left-hander Sean Bierman and infielder Ben Kline, neither of whom are considered legit prospects.

And now Crain will hit the open market as a free agent coming off his first All-Star season but with tons of health question marks sure to make landing a multi-year deal at age 31 more difficult.

(By the way, that picture of Crain throwing while wearing a Rays uniform? Simulated game.)

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.