Happy Pitchers and Catchers everyone.
A few things that I’m looking for in spring training:
1) 2B, whose job it is anyway? By all accounts, Carlos Guillen is our 2B, but he won’t be ready until mid April. So Willy Rhymes and Scott Sizemore will be splitting duties in the interim. What happens if one of them plays lights out this spring? Does Guillen still have the job when he gets back? Or could he be on the trading block?
2) Who will be our everyday left-fielder? Right now, it’s a competition between Raburn and Boesch. But if both play well, what’s wrong with giving Raburn some ABs at 2B? I think we can all agree that 1st half of 2010 Boesch + Raburn at 2B would be a significant boost to our lineup. I’m guessing that we start the season with a Raburn/Boesch platoon in left, with Raburn spelling other positions when Boesch starts. I feel strongly about getting Raburn 550+ ABs this year.
To further this discussion, assuming Boesch is more than a 4A player, we are really in a good position to deal with our aging vets. I think we all expect Maggs and Martinez to get injured at some point in the season (hopefully for not too long), so having the likes of Guillen and Boesch to fill those at bats doesn’t sound too bad. And where does Don Kelly fit in?
3) Does Coke have the stamina to be a starter? He only threw 25+ pitches in a game three times last year. If you’ll recall, he started the final game of 2010, and was promptly chased after 1 2/3. I love the idea of having a lefty at the back of the rotation, but he’ll need some serious work to get up to 80+ pitches by April.
4) Who else can be an effective starter? The boys will likely need 30-40 starts from guys not currently contemplated to be in the rotation. I’m pretty sure we can predict what we’ll get 1-3. What can Penny bring? And after Coke, is Oliver ready to fill in? Interestingly enough, Rotoworld lists Brayan Villarreal as #6 on our depth charts.
5) Is Joaquin Benoit worth $5.5M? That’s a heck of a lot for a setup man with only 1 great season behind him. Unfortunately, I don’t see spring training as an effective medium for measuring relief pitchers. So it will be a while before I’m ready to answer this one. Remember how good Valverde looked in April/May/June before he forgot where the strike zone was.
6) How does Maggs’ ankle look? We’ll need on the field reports from those of you headed out to Lakeland.
What else are you looking for during spring training? What are your thoughts on the LF and 2B carousel?