Blue Jays view Brett Wallace as a first baseman

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By trading prospect Brett Wallace just months after getting him from the Cardinals for Matt Holliday the A’s showed that they don’t think he’ll be able to stick at third base defensively and apparently his new team agrees.
Wallace was taken in the first round of the 2008 draft as a third baseman and has played the position in 165 of his 192 games in the minors, but Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos made it clear in an MLB.com chat with fans over the weekend that he’ll be shifted to first base full time in 2010:

We think Wallace is capable of playing third. But, we see him being an above average defensive first baseman. Our hope is to have as strong as a defensive club as we can and putting players in a position where they have a chance to impact the club in the best way defensively.

In other words, maybe Wallace could be passable at third base, but the Blue Jays aren’t interested in that as a best-case scenario and mostly just want his bat in the lineup without his glove hurting them. Wallace will likely begin the year at Triple-A after Toronto got him in a straight-up swap with Oakland for fellow prospect Michael Taylor, but that could change if the Blue Jays clear first base for him by trading Lyle Overbay.

Imagining Theo Epstein in politics

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“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”

That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.

Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.