Rob Manfred, Tim Brosnan, and Tom Werner are the three finalists for MLB commissioner

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USA Today’s Bob Nightengale has the story

Major League Baseball has identified three finalists to replace Commissioner Bud Selig and will vote on the successor Aug. 14, a high-ranking MLB executive with direct knowledge of the hiring process told USA TODAY Sports.

The owners, according to the executive, will choose between Rob Manfred, MLB’s chief operating officer; Tim Brosnan, MLB’s executive vice president of business; and Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner.

Approval to elect the new commissioner is required from 23 of the 30 owners in Major League Baseball. Many consider Manfred to be the heavy favorite, but White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and Angels owner Arte Moreno have reportedly been lobbying behind against him behind the scenes. They want Werner.

Selig — who has been on the job for 22 years — will officially step down on January 24, 2015.

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.