Joey Votto says he's not passed the problems that sidelined him last season
"A lot of people want miracles," he said. "Life’s not like that. I’m making progress. I’m going in the right direction."
I think it's pretty easy to underestimate just how difficult this kind of thing must be. And it's really good to see Votto be so realistic about it. I'm rooting for this guy 100%. Not as a ballplayer, but as a person.
Yonder Alonso says he is learning a lot from Votto
In fact, the two have become good friends. "I thought when I first came in, ‘Man, it is going to be hard dealing with Votto,’ " Alonso said. "But it was the exact opposite. He has just done nothing but help me out and been a good friend. He told me how Albert Pujols (of the St. Louis Cardinals) helped him out a lot and he is trying to do the same for me."
The bidding is now open for the opportunity to be in a team photo with the Reds
Me, I'd be too embarrassed to do such a thing. A scrawny idiot with a goofball smile and two thumbs up would be hilariously conspicuous in a photo with 24 imposing athletes and Danny Ray Herrera.
Sheldon wonders what the addition of Jonny Gomes does to the LF sitch
so he asked Dusty:
"I don't know yet," he said. "We have tremendous talent up there. We have Dickerson. Gomes is a heck of a hitter. We have Nix, who did a good job for us. Balentien, I heard he had a good winter. Heisey was our [minor league] player of the year. I don't know Anderson and I heard a little bit about Dorn. We're trying to go north with the best team that can go north."
He also says Todd Frazier and Juan Francisco will start in the infield, likely at 3B. Once they get their infield legs on them they will check out the outfield too. I think for those of us wondering what the Reds thought of Frazier this is an interesting tidbit. It seems they see him as an infielder first. Whether that means 3B, SS, 2B, or 1B remains to be seen.
Jerry Crasnick has a piece on Aroldis Chapman's transition to this American life. PeteyHendrix FanShot'd this yesterday.
"We keep reading about his maturity," Jocketty said. "But from everything we've seen, he's a very mature kid, and very intelligent and baseball-savvy. I wonder what people are basing [their comments] on, because it's not like the Cuban coaches are going to tell you that. Maybe it's coming from guys who couldn't get him signed."
Jack Moore at FanGraphs checks out the situations of a pair of guys who are out of options
Wladimir Balentien is one of them. Moore says Balentien is clearly behind Drew Stubbs and Jay Bruce, and Chris Dickerson and Jonny Gomes are probably ahead of him too. He says a poor spring from Balentien could lead to Laynce Nix taking the 5th OF spot. I don't really believe that though. Balentien is still only 25, and though he's struggled in the majors, he still has potential. Nix is what he is and only has a minor league deal. I think the Reds outfield, barring any injuries, is pretty well set.
Gomes is purty happy with his new deal with the Reds
Fay has the deets too: $800K this season with an option for next at $1.75 mil. That's much friendlier than the $3 mil or so he would have gotten if offered arbitration. You gotta hand it to Mr. Jocketty. He read the market this winter like a dime-store novel.
Doc says the Reds are still an "if" team
"If A. Harang can remember who he used to be… If H. Bailey and J. Cueto can keep the curve trending upward… If D. Stubbs is the answer at leadoff and J. Bruce is a consistent force in the middle of the lineup… If C. Dickerson stays healthy and J. Gomes stays powerful.. If, when we ask J. Votto, ‘how are you feeling?’ we’re wondering about a tight hamstring… "
Lucky for us though, he says the Cardinals are the only team that clearly looks better. And of course, he gets in his obligatory "small-market" jab.
FanGraphs fantasy page compares Joey Votto and Adrian Gonzalez
and concludes that they are essentially equal. Votto posted a wRC+ (a nifty little stat that works like better version of OPS+) of 157 last season while Gonzo clocked in at 158. Both project to regress a bit next season for different reasons, but still remain premiere options at 1B. But they give the edge (in fantasy terms) to Votto for playing his games at GABP instead of Petco.
Dan Turkenkopf at BtB takes an interesting look at the relationship between wrist injuries and power
which is even more interesting to me as a Reds fan, since one of our best prospects broke his hamate bone last summer.