This will be my last blog prior to baseball’s Winter Meetings in Orlando. I’ll be providing a constant update on events during that week.
We have seen some very major moves in the past couple of weeks as well as some less “glitzy” transactions that could prove to be important.
With the acquisition of Peter Bourjos in St. Louis, is it possible that Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras will be given more development time prior to being summoned to the big leagues? With Matt Holiday in left, Bourjos in center and Allen Craig in right, wouldn’t it be good to have Taveras make up some missed Minor League at-bats (injured in ’13) early in the season? Then, if the need arises, Taveras will be even more prepared.
In the Cardinals configuration, it appears Matt Carpenter moves to 3B and rookie Kolten Wong will start the season at 2B. Craig may figure to be a fill-in back at third if he’s needed.
The Colorado Rockies have two very dominant pitchers not many people outside Colorado talk about. Keep an eye on right-handers Jonathan Gray (2013 draft) and Eddie Butler (2012 draft). They are impressive pitchers that I’ll be watching and writing more about beginning this spring. While it’s tough to pitch at Coors, these two guys may really be helpful in the future.
The Twins got better with the signing of Ricky Nolasco. It makes great sense for a starting pitcher to try to find sustained success in pitcher-friendly Target Field. I look for the club to make a serious run at Phil Hughes. That’s an ideal place for a fly ball pitcher like Hughes. While home runs may still hurt him on the road, they won’t be as great an issue at home.
I still think Carlos Beltran will get a three year contract from a club looking to put his bat in the middle of their lineup. In my opinion, whatever team gets him becomes instantly better. But he fits best where he can be a designated hitter and spot outfielder. The knees just aren’t what they once were.
Curtis Granderson would make a formidable addition to the White Sox if that’s where he lands. Few places can offer him the home run environment he enjoyed in Yankee Stadium, but U. S. Cellular Field may come close.
The Cubs have come up with the clever and catchy name “Cubs Park” for their Spring Training home. It won’t be long, however, until the name is changed with a corporate sponsor coming forward. The park is ready and waiting for the February 27th game between the Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks to open the spring slate.
I think the Cardinals Randal Grichuk may prove to be a real surprise and “sleeper” in the deal the club made with the Angels. Grichuk had a very fine season at Double-A Arkansas where he hit 22 home runs. He is on target in his development as a former 1st round draft choice.
The Mariners had been counting upon pitchers Danny Hultzen (surgery), James Paxton and Taijuan Walker to be rotation starters, probably by the coming season. As it looks, it may be only Walker with a chance to help in the rotation sooner than later. The situation is similar to the one the Royals faced when they thought Mike Montgomery, Danny Duffy, John Lamb and Chris Dwyer would lead them to consistent winning seasons. That’s why a team can’t have too much pitching. Both starters and relievers.
The Cardinals front-load of Jhonny Peralta’s contract is pure genius. Perhaps if the club wishes to part ways with Peralta for one reason or another in the last couple years of his deal, it will be much easier to trade the contract. And that’s just another reason the Cardinals are a great organization.
I credit Joe Maddon and the Rays front office and coaching staff with changing defensive baseball. They study spray charts and know where the opposition tends to hit the ball. With that knowledge, they move the defense accordingly. It’s not a trend anymore. It’s a way of managing a game. Now the hitters have to adjust.
I was pleasantly surprised with the overall defensive play of Giants 1B Angel Villalona in the Arizona Fall League. For a big, big man he moves very well. Good hands and quicker feet than one might imagine. And he crushes fastballs.
I think Anibal Sanchez is on his way to a Cy Young type season.
The Marlins have to find some protection for Giancarlo Stanton. Same with the Diamondbacks and Paul Goldschmidt. Can you imagine what those two guys will do with if they see some decent pitches from April thru September?
I hope you have had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for. And believe me-I am thankful for you. I am thankful you read and support my work here and on MLBPipeline.com. Please follow me on Twitter @BerniePleskoff.
That’s it. I’m done.