Phillies could go shopping for veteran catcher and/or shortstop
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has said in recent days that the roster he has now is the one he expects to travel to Clearwater, Florida, for spring training. It might not, however, be the group that comes back north for Opening Day. ESPN’s Jayson Stark heard straight from the horse’s mouth that an experienced backstop or shortstop might be heading to Philadelphia before early April, even though it’s unlikely to happen before camp begins.
If the season started today, the Phillies would field Freddy Galvis at short and a tandem of Carlos Ruiz and Cameron Rupp behind the dish. Manager Ryne Sandberg could probably make do with the catcher duo, but adding a player who’d relegate Galvis to utility work—or at least spell him on occasion—is more of a necessity, even for a rebuilding club. Galvis will carry a .223 career TAv into the 2015 campaign, including a .215 effort in 128 plate appearances last year, when he missed the start of the season with a MRSA infection in his left knee and later spent 68 days on the shelf with a broken collarbone.
Non-roster invitees Andres Blanco and Chase d’Arnaud are among the internal options to spell Galvis. I told you that so I’d have an excuse to tell you this: According to the Baseball-Reference Play Index, d’Arnaud last year became the only player since at least 1901 to be caught stealing twice in a season without logging a plate appearance or a stolen base.
Wilin Rosario figures to see time at first base for Rockies
When the Rockies imported Nick Hundley this offseason, some thought the move might spell the end of Wilin Rosario’s days in Colorado. The Rockies insisted otherwise, and, well, Rosario remains on their roster. But they now have three catchers for two jobs, with Hundley presumably serving as the starter and Michael McKenry, who excelled at the plate as the backup last year, staying on as the no. 2.
Hence, manager Walt Weiss is going to need to find other ways to get Rosario on the field. First base is the most logical spot for the 5-foot-11, 220-pounder, because he’s not especially nimble, and because Justin Morneau hasn’t eclipsed 135 games played since 2008. Michael Cuddyer’s somewhat unforeseen departure created an opening for a right-handed hitter to see time at first in Morneau’s stead, and Rosario is the most natural candidate to fill that void.
Weiss told Vic Lombardi of CBS Denver that he expects Rosario to be “very functional” at first base, which might sound like damning with faint praise, but is actually a compliment in this case. From blocking to framing to throwing, Rosario does just about everything poorly when he’s in the squat, and his three games at the hot corner in 2012 inspired little confidence in his ability to be a useful backup to Nolan Arenado. Rating as “very functional” would be a massive step up from his work to date.
Rosario, who turns 26 on February 23rd, has seen major-league action at first nine times, four of them in 2014. While that’s far too small a sample from which to draw any conclusions, he’s made three errors there in 59 total chances, so there’s work to be done this spring. Rosario’s progress at first will be a story to monitor at Salt River Fields over the next two months.
Luke Scott “working out” for teams, hoping to get back to majors
After spending part of last year with the SK Wyverns in Incheon, South Korea, Luke Scott wants to bring his talents back to the United States. To that end, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo, he joined a group of big-league veterans still seeking employment in a showcase held in Southern California.
Scott batted .267/.392/.505 in the exceedingly hitter-friendly Korean Baseball Organization, swatting seven doubles and six homers in 133 plate appearances. For comparison, Jung-Ho Kang, who signed with the Pirates earlier this offseason, hit .356/.459/.739 in the KBO.
If you’re wondering why Scott played so sparingly for the Wyverns, his stint there ended early because of a dispute surrounding an injury (plantar fasciitis). He called his coach a “liar” and a “coward,” and in response, the club showed him the door. It’s worth noting that Jon Meoli, who covered the story for the Baltimore Sun, heard from stateside sources that the confrontation wasn’t atypical and blew up only because of cultural differences. In other words, it may not hurt Scott’s ongoing bid for a new job.
Eroding skills might, though. Now 36, Scott almost certainly will have to settle for a minor-league hitch and earn his way onto a roster with a strong spring. He’d fit best with a club that could use a left-handed platoon bat at first base or a part-time designated hitter.
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Last player with 1 game each at catcher and shortstop: Jake Elmore in 2013. Last player with 20 games each at catcher and shortstop: Dave Roberts in 1980.
Hamels for Martin... make it happen, Ruben!
Was when Russell newly signed w/ Bucs