New Faces in Some Places

The past few months have been hectic for some players and a disappointment for others. Who knew Dexter Fowler would be looking for a job in February? Or how about Pedro Alvarez in a game that seeks power? Ike Davis and Corey Hart are available for those teams looking for first base depth. And Ian Desmond without a job? Again, he has that home run power that could play well in some parks. David Freese and Juan Uribe? Both hit better than Giovanny Urshela. But the Indians value defense at third base, and Urshela provides just that. David Murphy, Nate McLouth, Drew Stubbs, Will Venable, Marlon Byrd, Jeff Francouer, Alex Rios, Ryan Raburn and Shane Victorino are among the outfielders that are joining Fowler seeking employment. Who knew? I’m sure they didn’t.

And that’s just position players.

I think we’ll see some of those named above land a job before the first Spring Training game. But-being a free agent isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. Just ask Tyler Clippard who thought he would be off the board before the calendar turned to February and he was signed by the Diamondbacks.

Speaking of Clippard, the warning bell in my head is ringing. He reminds me some of Addison Reed. We’ve seen that movie in Phoenix. Will his tendency to throw too many elevated pitches that result in fly balls haunt Clippard at Chase Field? I like his stuff, but he has to be razor sharp and keep the ball in the park to find success in Phoenix. Fly Ball Pitcher+Chase Field+Phoenix Altitude=Yikes! Watch out.

Mat Latos to the White Sox? He offers the club a right-handed arm for a heavily left-handed rotation. He’ll likely take the 5th starter’s job behind Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Carlos Rondon and John Danks, all lefties. He also comes with a reputation of having ruffled many many feathers when he was still with the Reds. Which Latos shows up in Chicago? I’m not convinced he’ll be healthy and I’m not convinced that’s a good park for him. But he does offer the team some depth. I’ll politely pass in fantasy.

Reliever Craig Stammen is this year’s Indians reclamation project. Or among them I should say. If Stammen can return to health and pitch like he has in the past, I think a bullpen spot may be available for him. The Indians have long been known to try to catch lightning in a bottle with formerly injured pitchers. Some have worked out, others have not. It’s worth a try.

I’m not that bullish on Odrisamer Despaigne moving to the Orioles from San Diego.
He’ll have hitter friendly Camden Yards and some tough AL East lineups to deal with if he makes the rotation.

Count me among those that think Steve Pearce can add a nice power bat to the Rays.
He could give them 20 homers from the right side of the plate if he gets his chances. I see about 300 at-bats for him-or maybe more. But he’ll be splitting time with Logan Morrison, Corey Dickerson, Richie Shaffer and James Loney for DH at-bats. Also for time at first base. So 300 at-bats may be a reach the more I think of it. I still like his chances to pop some pitches out of the park.

Howie Kendrick had to wait and wait before he returned to the Dodgers. He refused the qualifying offer but got another year on his contract. So, for two years the Dodgers have a fine hitting second baseman at a reasonable price. I still like his line drive, right-center field gap bat. He’s especially tough with men in scoring position.

Aaron Hill may be able to provide some veteran leadership to a young Brewers team. Given their lack of depth at third base, I think we’ll see a great deal of him there. I’ve seen him pull lots of balls to left field-and I think he’ll do that at Miller Park.

The next opportunity for Travis Snider is with Kansas City. Wasn’t he a top flight prospect when he was in development? Yes, Bernie, he was. Well, prospects don’t always pan out to be stars. Snider is a cat with nine lives.

Jurickson Profar strikes me as a prime trade target. And I think he’d make a darn good center fielder. I’m just sayin.

Keep your eyes on Socrates Brito. The Dbacks have a solid, multi-tooled player there. I just wonder if he’ll get a chance to play. He can hit, and he can run. Fine right-field arm as well. I’m not a huge Yasmany Tomas fan. I’m a huge Brito fan. Same position.

Where does Peter O’Brien play? I’d keep him behind the plate and work with him. He has tremendous power and I think he can get better at blocking balls, calling a game and overall catching mechanics. With the DH a looming possibility, O’Brien is the last guy on the Dbacks roster I would trade.

Edwin Jackson is still pitching. Doesn’t it seem he began his career in 1930?

I hope you’ll watch BERNIE’S BASEBALL WORLD on video this week Friday on YouTube. I’ll be live again with host Bob Eres.

Thanks for following me on twitter @BerniePleskoff and for making this blog possible due to your support.

That’s it. I’m done. For now.

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