The days between the World Series and when pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training are long, especially if you hate the NFL (and don't want to watch Tom Brady win another Super Bowl), and don't pay attention to the NBA as much since Magic, Bird, and MJ left us. Let's continue to help pass the time by talking about what the greatest rivalry in baseball has been up to this winter. On Monday, we talked about the winter moves the Dodgers and Giants have made so far with their starting pitching staffs. Today, it's all about the bullpens and the position players. Let's hit it!
This is an easy one to call since neither team has really made any moves bullpen-wise. Hard to believe since they both had their troubles in this area last season. The Dodgers signed journeyman pitcher, Joe Blanton, to a 1-year deal, to be used primarily in a right handed, long-relief role in an effort to balance their lefty-dominant rotation; not exactly a sexy move, but he did post 2.84 era in 76 appearances last season. I still feel like the Dodgers will find somebody to count on for the 7th inning beyond what lurks there now. The only solid pieces are closer, Kenley Jansen, (who will be playing pissed off since they nearly replaced his 9th inning with Adrolis Chapman) and setup man, Chris Hatcher. Super high-octane young fast-ballers, Pedro Baez and Yimi Garcia both showed promise last year, but neither one could produce when it really counted. I'm sure they will be in the mix, and they deserve to be, but please just get us something reliable for the big moments. Begging. Not a pretty sight, I know.
You want me to throw what? I don't think so!
Winter Bullpens Acquisition Advantage: Even (since both teams essentially held pat, apologies to Joe Blanton).
This one is an easy call because Dodger management has basically done nothing this winter in terms of position players. I don't call re-signing second baseman dinosaur Chase Utley to a 1-year deal a "move." It is said that he is "good in the clubhouse," but on the field most would just describe him as "not good." I really miss Dee Gordon--the Dodgers will lack a true leadoff hitter once again unless Dave Roberts laces his cleats and becomes player/manager. It doesn't look like any major position player moves are coming, but you never know. I think the hope is that Yasiel Puig gets his act together (last year had to be a humbling experience, right?), bonds with Roberts (Puig and former manager Don Mattingly didn't seem like buddies), and has a bounce-back year. Management also must be praying that Carl Crawford and every strained muscle fiber in his body finally plays more than 40 games to somewhat justify the ridiculous contract that is squashing them. We'll see.
|Chase Utley's infamous take-out.|
Up in NorCal, the Giants picked up speedy leadoff hitter/outfielder Denard Span from Washington, and IF he stays healthy (this has been a problem) he could be a great addition since Angel Pagan's days of patrolling ATT Park's expansive centerfield are numbered. Or should be.
Winter Position Players Acquisition Advantage: Giants (sort of by default, in a way, but I gotta give it to them since they did something).
Sound off in the comments section below! I will be back next week with more winter happenings from the only two teams in MLB that really matter. :)