By his own accounting, Joey Votto purposely tried not to do too much with his offseason. The Reds first baseman embraced his down time.

"I tried to get fatter," Votto joked after completing his physical Sunday, when position players reported. "I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing, and I am fatter. I just wanted to take as much time away as I could and relax and really unwind. I felt like I needed it. Hopefully it pays off."

Votto finished in second place for the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 2017 -- a mere two points shy of winner Giancarlo Stanton. The 34-year-old Votto had arguably the best year of his 10-year career after he batted .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBIs and 106 runs scored.

But Votto was not using his idle time to bask in his own achievements -- especially since Cincinnati finished 68-94 for the second consecutive year. The club hasn't reached the postseason since 2013, and it is a long way from the days of being NL Central champions in 2010 and '12. He would like to get better as a player, but Votto noted he wants his team to get better, too.

"It's tough because even had I won that award, it still would have felt awkward because we had such a down year last year," Votto said. "For me, I always want to do my job and play as well as I can. But ultimately, it's much better going home at the end of a work day knowing that you contributed to winning baseball. It's much better finishing a season knowing you're a part of winning baseball. That's been on my mind.

"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 could not say whether the team currently assembled in the Spring Training clubhouse was one that could bring that change.