Joey Votto is Joey Hotto

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I’m sorry. I could’ve tried harder with that headline. I’m more disappointed in myself than anyone, really. Time for some soul searching on my part, frankly. Anyway:

Joey Votto just struck out looking in the first inning of this afternoon’s Reds-Cards game, but the way he’s going right now, that’ll be remedied soon.

Votto is on fire. He’s in the middle of a 17-game hitting streak. During that streak he’s batting an astounding .500/.605/.759 with 18 runs. But it’s not just the streak. After a slow start to the season, Votto hit .319/.466/.549 in June and .413/.549/.627 in July. Not counting that strikeout a few minutes ago he’s 5-for-8 in his first two August games. In June and July he’s raised his average, his on-base percentage and slugging percentage nearly 100 points each, taking him into today’s game with a line of .293/.424/.497. All in a season in which, around Memorial Day, people were asking “what’s wrong with Joey Votto?”

Votto signed a ten-year contract worth $225 million back in 2012 and, if it weren’t for that deal and it being almost impossible for anyone to pick it up, he’d probably have been traded away just like Jay Bruce, Aroldis Chapman and Todd Frazier were. Being on a losing Reds team with fewer friends around than he used to have may make life a tad sad for him, but it’s not hurting his performance. And it’s giving Reds fans a reason to tune in to each game no matter how bad the team is playing.


Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu is scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.