Astros “calling around” about available first-base types
After releasing long-ago top prospect Brett Wallace last week, the Astros are in the hunt for depth at first base, according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
Among players already on the club’s 40-man roster, manager Bo Porter could go with Jesus Guzman, Marc Krauss, or Chris Carter, who is currently penciled in as the team’s regular designated hitter. The Astros have Mexican signee Japhet Amador in camp as a non-roster invitee, and the 315-pounder told reporters last month that his goal is to win the Opening Day job. No. 5 prospect Jonathan Singleton scuffled in 73 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City last year, so he might need a bit more upper-minors seasoning before he’s ready to tackle an everyday gig.
Stark named Mike Carp, a left-handed hitter, and John Mayberry Jr. and Tyler Moore, who both bat right-handed, as possible acquisitions, but he also included a caveat, calling all of them “unlikely fits.” In addition to Carp, general manager Jeff Luhnow might contact the Red Sox about Ryan Lavarnway, who is publicly on the trading block, per Sean McAdam of Comcast Sports Net New England.
If the Astros believe that Singleton (left-handed) is their long-term solution at first base, then any addition must be viewed as a stopgap or early-season platoon player. Carter, Guzman, and Amador all bat from the right side, as does Lavarnway. To the extent that spring numbers matter, Singleton was 3-for-23 with eight walks and eight strikeouts entering play on Tuesday.
Ike Davis is back on the block
Speaking of first basemen, Ike Davis is on the market again. And while he might not be a fit for the Astros, general manager Sandy Alderson is reportedly pitching the Arizona State product to the clubs that inquired about him earlier this winter.
ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin believes that the teams with which Alderson is in touch are the Brewers, Orioles, and Pirates. He cautioned that no deal is likely to materialize until Davis recovers from the calf injury that has dogged him so far this spring.
The Mets would figure to supplant Davis with Lucas Duda were he to be traded, with Josh Satin and Zach Lutz in the backup mix. However, Rubin did not rule out the possibility that Duda would be exported instead, noting that at least one junior-circuit club is in touch with the Mets about him.
Athletics will stretch out Drew Pomeranz for rotation depth
What once was a deep Oakland rotation has thinned over the course of the offseason. Bartolo Colon joined the Mets in free agency. Brett Anderson was shipped to the Rockies. A.J. Griffin will begin the season on the disabled list with flexor tendinitis. And Jarrod Parker will require Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career, which will keep him out for all of 2014.
The A’s added Scott Kazmir on a two-year contract, but that won’t be enough to keep manager Bob Melvin from facing questions about the back end of his rotation for at least the first few weeks of April. Melvin told reporters, including MLB.com’s Jane Lee, that Tommy Milone and Jesse Chavez will supplant Griffin and Parker for now. But the A’s are hoping that Drew Pomeranz, whom they acquired from the Rockies in the Anderson swap, will be able to help as a starter in the near future.
Pomeranz has impressed the A’s in five relief appearances this spring, fanning 11 in 6 1/3 innings, though he has also allowed seven hits and issued a couple of walks. The 24-year-old battled injuries and mechanical trouble during his time with the Rockies, who obtained him from the Indians as the centerpiece in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade. Melvin and general manager Billy Beane are hoping that the change of scenery will bring back the Pomeranz who ranked as the third-best prospect in the Indians’ system heading into 2011.