Nibbles Before The Main Course

Tonight. It’s here. This is like New Year’s Day. The long wait is over. The fantastic winter offseason is behind us. Spring Training was a time for several rookies to win jobs (see the Blue Jays for example) and for us to get bad news about more arm and elbow injuries. But we move forward now. Baseball has center stage. It all starts tonight.

I still have some crumbs on the table before the real main course. Follow me on twitter @BerniePleskoff this entire season for analysis and commentary.

I applaud the Diamondbacks for several very difficult decisions they made. I agree with each. First-they have sent Yasmany Tomas to the Minor Leagues for more seasoning. Expecting him to transition to a new country and a new position was asking a great deal. Giving him time to sort things out should help. And putting Nick Ahmed at short with Chris Owings at second makes all the sense in the world. I mentioned that several days ago as a possibility on my twitter account. And finally, inserting Archie Bradley in the rotation is a very sound move. I think he’s ready. He may be inconsistent-but most pitchers are.

The Dbacks also gave Trevor Cahill new life with the Braves. He could thrive there.
Now the Dbacks need to find a home for Aaron Hill. I suggest talking to the Angels or even the Nationals.

The Cubs Javier Baez is another player that should benefit by being sent down. He has to learn how to hit a cutter, a slider, a curve ball, a changeup and anything and everything that isn’t a fastball. I do not look for a quick return to the big league club for Baez. The team needs for him to get it right. Develop pitch recognition and plate discipline. I think that will take until deep into the second half, if then.

I think Carlos Rodon will be the key to the White Sox season. He adds needed length to their rotation. He’s that good. Look for him at a Cellular Field near you soon.

Why hasn’t anyone traded for the Blue Jays Dioner Navarro or the Cubs Wellington Castillo. And wouldn’t Wilin Rosario look good as the Indians designated hitter? The team really needs another right-handed bat. Or how about Carlos Quentin?

The Brewers are going to score a ton of runs. The pitching staff will yield a ton of runs. I watched three Brewers spring games last week and I was amazed at how loud those bats are. Especially Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun.

We talk about great defensive shortstops a great deal. Perhaps the best is still the Braves Andrelton Simmons. The guy that doesn’t get enough love is the Marlins Adeiny Hechavarria. I love to watch him play. Just like I love watching Didi Gregorius and Nick Ahmed. We have some amazing defensive shortstops in baseball now.

I loved watching the Athletics ambidextrous Patrick Venditte pitch. I’m sorry he didn’t make the final cut. Imagine bringing a guy in from the bullpen that can throw from either hand. He’s a situational lefty/righty who can really pitch.

The Angels need a second baseman. Really, really need a second baseman.

There are some fantastic outfields in baseball. The Marlins (Yelich, Ozuna and Stanton) are fantastic. But Pittsburgh’s trio of Marte, McCutchen and Polanco are right up there. I’m looking for each of those three, including Polanco to have fantastic years.

The Cardinals Marco Gonzales will start the season in the Minors. But he could be in the rotation for lots and lots of clubs. I think we’ll see him before too long.

Speaking of rotations-I think the Astros will need Mark Appel by mid-season at the latest.

In case you missed, that’ll be Mike Pelfrey taking the rotation spot of Ervin Santana for say…. roughly 80 games.

Word from Lakeland is that Joe Nathan looked very good at the end of spring. That said, I’m asking my stock broker to buy shares for me in Joakim Soria.

Who’s the real Trevor Bauer? I’m just asking. I think the Indians will, too.

Why don’t the Royals get more love? This was a very good team last year. And they are another year advanced in their maturity. I like the progress made by Eric Hosmer. And I’m a huge Lorezo Cain fan. So what is it? It’s the rotation. But the rotation is on a par with other Central clubs. Or is it? So why did I pick them 4th? Maybe the rotation isn’t quite on par with Detroit, Chicago and Kansas City after all. But isn’t that what we said last year? They are under loved. They can play the game.

Tyson Ross will no longer be a secret after this season.

I’m beginning to allow a bit of doubt to creep into my mind about the Nationals. Injuries mean Michael Taylor, Yunel Escobar, Tyler Moore (no, not Mary Tyler Moore) and Danny Espinosa are in their starting lineup instead of Denard Span, Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth and even Nate McLouth. And…wait for it…Dan Uggla is on the bench. Talk me off the ledge here. What if they really, really scuffle until they get their regulars back. It’s an issue for me. They could lose ground quickly to teams like the Mets and Marlins. It’s a real concern.

OK-that’s enough nibbles for now.

Thanks for reading me work at and following me on twitter @BerniePleskoff.

That’s it. I’m done.

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