Major League Baseball and Japanese baseball officials have been negotiating the details to a new posting system throughout the off-season, which will have a big impact on the future of pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Some suggested changes reported a few weeks ago included the winning team paying an average of the top two bids on a posted player and fining teams that bid for a player but fail to sign him.
David Waldstein of the New York Times tweets that the two sides could reach a deal soon as they have narrowed it down to three possible outcomes for the new posting system. The details of the three are as yet unknown. If and when a deal is struck, expect the rumor mill for Tanaka to heat up quickly. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports suggested last week that the Yankees, Cubs, and Dodgers are all expected to show interest while the Giants and Rangers could get invovled as well.
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.