Casey McGehee could prove to be a valuable pickup for the Pirates.
As spring training approaches, almost every player looking for a bounce-back season claims to be in the best shape of his life. Pirates infielder Casey McGehee is no exception; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Bill Brink tweeted on Thursday that the first-year Bucco has lost nearly 25 pounds and “cut [his] body fat in half.” The premise may be as clichéd as any in baseball, but there is reason to believe that McGehee is not whistlin’ Dixie.
The 29-year-old McGehee will begin the 2012 season with his third NL Central organization in the last five years. A 10th-round pick of the Cubs in 2003, he was claimed off waivers by the Brewers after a cup of coffee in 2008, and unexpectedly took off when handed the keys to the third-base job midway through the next season. McGehee hit .301/.360/.499 in his first year with Milwaukee, then followed that up with a .285/.337/.464 campaign in 2010, contributing 2.0 and 2.6 WARP in those seasons, respectively. But the wheels came off last year, and he was traded to the Pirates for reliever Jose Veras in December.
A preview of the Dominican Winter League, taking a look at the teams, stadiums, managers, and players to watch for.
The "National Religion" came back on October 16th, as the Dominican League launched its 56th edition. Reliably praised as having the highest level of talent among the winter leagues, one should expect to watch another mix of highly ranked prospects, mid-level major leaguers, a few recognizable American players, veterans looking for another shot, and some major league stars between now and the end of the Caribbean Series in February. The league format has six teams playing a 50-game regular-season schedule, with the four best records advancing to a long 18-game round-robin playoff, and the two remaining best clubs play a best-of-nine final series to decide the league's champion. Without further ado, here's what this season will bring us:
Tigres del Licey (Licey Tigers)
Home: Santo Domingo
2008-09 record: 26-24, fourth place (tied) regular season; 12-6, first place round-robin; beat the Gigantes in the final series 5-0.
Ballpark: Estadio Quisqueya; strong pitcher's park, with a Park Factor of 92.
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In today's episode of pairing up in threes, a dissection of the expected contenders' relief crews generating the most scoreboard gore.
In the wide world of Baseball Prospectus readers and writers, I'm fairly certain that nobody looks at our win expectancy-based team pitching stats (SNLVAR and WXRL) more often than I do. For some reason, we still don't have pre-programmed team pages for those the way we do for Defensive Efficiency or the Team Baserunning pages (a Johnny-come-lately on our Sortable Stats page), but I've got a customized page bookmarked, and I reference it dozens of times per week in the Hit List. Getting a picture of which end of the staff is shining and which might be failing to hold up its end of the deal always feels like a fairly critical piece of information to analyze, even this early in the season when a few bad outings can have a disproportionate effect.
The Snakes bury John Patterson, the Red Sox sort through a batch of soft tossers, the Marlins vie for a 25-catcher roster, and the Devil Rays solve all their problems by grabbing Al Martin and Damion Easley.
Re-signed INF-R Benji Gil and DH-L Brad Fullmer to one-year contracts.
Signed OF-R Eric Owens to a one-year contract, and LHP Rich Rodriguez, 2B-R Adam Riggs, and UT-R Oscar Salazar to minor league contracts.
Avoided arbitration with 2B-L Adam Kennedy, INF-B Scott Spiezio, and LHPs Jarrod Washburn and Scott Schoeneweis.
Claimed C-R Wil Nieves off of waivers (from the Padres).