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IN THIS ISSUE

National League

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
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Signed C-R Gerald Laird to a minor-league deal. [2/2]

Mike Petriello addressed the Diamondbacks' catching situation on Tuesday, ranking it the 31st-best in the majors. Laird's addition won't change that perception. Now 35, Laird is coming off the worst offensive season of his career—which is saying something for a fella with a career .232 True Average. To make matters worse, Laird doesn't excel at any of the quantifiable defensive areas. His most marketable attribute then doubles as prefix: veteran catcher. There's value in being one and in having one around—especially in a camp where a 21-year-old Rule-5 selection is the odds-on favorite to serve as the backup—but not enough to stick on a roster beyond March. If Laird makes the roster, Arizona is in trouble behind the plate; of course, as Petriello suggested, they probably are anyway.

COLORADO ROCKIES
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Signed RHP Kyle Kendrick to a one-year deal worth $5.5 million. [2/3]
Signed RHP John Axford to a minor-league deal worth $2.6 million if he makes the majors. [2/2]

The Rockies add two more logs to the pitching staff fire.

Kendrick is a thoroughbred no. 5 starter. He doesn't miss bats, throw an unimaginable rate of strikes, keep the ball glued to the ground, or any other neat trick that adds value. All he does, in a positive sense, is eat innings for teams with no competitive aspirations. Kendrick has thrown more than 180 innings in the past two seasons and … let's be honest, this is an uninspiring signing. It's one thing to sign down-market starters to fill slots, it's another to pay those starters more than their market's going rate (seemingly $4 million). Obviously $1.5 million makes little difference, but the only reasonable explanation for the gap involves a sin tax against Coors Field. Either way, Rockies fans will be begging for Jonathan Gray and Eddie Butler by June.

Axford joins his fifth team since the 2013 season, a nomadic lifestyle necessitated by his meager results (3.99 ERA, 2.06 strikeout-to-walk rate) and wavering command. His stuff remains quality, led by a mid-to-upper-90s fastball, and his groundball tendencies make him an acceptable fit in Coors (to a degree). This being Axford, there's a decent chance he winds up on his sixth team before the season ends.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES
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Acquired INF-S Steve Lombardozzi from the Orioles in exchange for cash considerations. [2/3]

Lombardozzi gets dealt for the third time in a year and a half, and further validates the law of diminishing returns: first he was part of a package for Doug Fister, then the lone piece in a deal for Alex Gonzalez, and now he's swapped for money. Rough. Lombardozzi is a high-contact hitter without a great hit tool who doesn't hit for power or walk (he went 74 plate appearances without one in his latest big-league stint). There aren't any positives on defense, either. Lombardozzi has played all over, yet second base is his natural and best position. He's a depth piece with a semi-famous name, no more.

SAN DIEGO PADRES
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Signed C-R Wil Nieves to a minor-league deal. [2/2]

Having acquired Derek Norris and the option-less Tim Federowicz this winter, the Padres seem like a peculiar fit for another catcher. But few teams sign Nieves intending to use him as the backup; rather, they sign Nieves with an eye on shuffling him to the minors until injury strikes. He is the consummate spare catcher, if such a thing exists, complete with an eight-year streak of appearing in at least 20 big-league games (during which he's topped 200 plate appearances twice). Consider the likelihood of Nieves exercising his spring opt-out dependent on the status of the league's competent defensive backups; should one go down, Nieves could sneak his way onto an Opening Day roster.

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Muboshgu
2/05
Oh the February lull...
nteagle
2/05
Lull? The Crockies PS/Social Media will be propping-up Axford and Kendrick 'till Opening Day, like they're the next coming of Gossage and Halladay to the Front Range! Oh, the Horror at Coors this Season...