Tracy Ringolsby knows who will finish in last place

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He sounds certain, but will FOX’s Tracy Ringolsby bet his hat on it?

A month before spring training, fans of all 30 major league teams are
supposed to have hope about what the coming season will bring.  Makes
for good marketing. Bottom line, however, is while there is reason for
hope with most teams, there’s no argument over which teams are the
worst.

First place in the six divisions is up for debate.  Last place, however, is a slam dunk. Mark it down now.

Last
place still belongs to the Royals in the AL Central, Oakland in the AL
West, Toronto in the AL East, Washington in the NL East, Pittsburgh in
the NL Central and San Diego in the NL West.  These are not overnight failures. They have earned the distinction.

I take issue with Oakland in that group.  Sure, they may very will finish in last place — I’d probably pick them to finish there this year — but they’re not an “earned failure” on the order of, say, Kansas City. They have some good young pitching. They are a battered, but perfectly respectable team in ways that the others in that crowd are not. They just happen to not be as good as the other three teams in the division. No shame in that.

I take less issue with the others, but still there is room to quibble. Toronto looks like a last place team, but they did finish 11 games ahead of Baltimore, so I don’t think anyone would die of shock if the O’s “beat” them out.  Pittsburgh has to be the front runner for last place, but if you assume old players get worse and young players get better, Houston could easily fall below them this year.  The Padres actually finished five games ahead of the Diamondbacks in 2009, so I don’t know that they’re a lock for last either.

I think the only rock solid locks for last place are the Royals and Nats.  For everyone else: let’s play some games first, OK?

Phillies sign Trevor Plouffe to minor league deal

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Infielder Trevor Plouffe has signed a minor league deal with the Phillies, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports. Plouffe asked for and was granted his release from the Rangers earlier this month.

Plouffe, 31, had a double and a home run in 17 plate appearances with Triple-A Round Rock to start the 2018 season. He spent last year with the Athletics and Rays, putting up a meager .198/.272/.318 batting line in 100 games.

Plouffe has mostly played third base throughout his career, but can also handle the other three infield spots and both outfield corners, so he’ll serve as organizational depth at Triple-A Lehigh Valley for the Phillies.