Kevin Kernan of the New York Post sat down with Mets manager Terry Collins and talked about a number of challenges and decisions facing the team this spring. First and foremost: first base. Where Lucas Duda and Ike Davis are set to battle it out. It sounds like it’ll be a good battle.
Collins says it’s “wide open” and makes it clear that there won’t be a lot of hemming and hawing. Davis is going to get 90 at bats — way more than a veteran usually has in the spring — and it seems obvious that if he doesn’t produce he’s basically done as a Met. And if Duda is no better he’s prepared to move Daniel Murphy over to first base and put Eric Young at second base.
That’s tough on Davis and Duda I suppose, but it may be good for Mets fans. Collins is talking about his team and seems poised to make quick decisions as if it’s a contender. And while that may not be the majority opinion about the Mets this spring, it’s not too hard to squint and see them be more competitive than they’ve been in recent years.
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.