The Yankees and Red Sox will open the 2010 baseball season this evening with a game under the lights at Fenway Park. It will be televised on ESPN2, while women’s college basketball teams from UConn and Baylor duke it out on ESPN. That’s a blog post for a different day. Here’s a look at tonight’s projected starters and lineups:
On the hill: CC Sabathia
The big lefty finished 19-8 last year with a 3.37 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 197 strikeouts in 34 starts, rewarding the Yankees for investing a monstrous contract in him during the 2009 offseason. He’s the ace of baseball’s most successful franchise and will look to get off to a positive start in 2010. Sabathia was 3-1 with a 2.22 ERA against the Red Sox last season and held their powerful lineup to a .172 collective batting average.
SS Derek Jeter
DH Nick Johnson
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
C Jorge Posada
CF Curtis Granderson
RF Nick Swisher
LF Brett Gardner
On the hill: Josh Beckett
Beckett and the Red Sox are inching closer and closer to inking a four-year contract extension thought to be worth around $68 million, or about $17 million annually. The 29-year-old was 17-6 with a 3.86 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 199 strikeouts in 2009 and will try to put his value on display this evening against the Yankees. He struggled against the Bombers last season, allowing 34 hits and 19 earned runs in five starts (32 innings).
LF Jacoby Ellsbury
2B Dustin Pedroia
C Victor Martinez
1B Kevin Youkilis
DH David Ortiz
3B Adrian Beltre
RF J.D. Drew
CF Mike Cameron
SS Marco Scutaro
There’s no shame in getting far too worked up for Opening Day. It’s silly, sure, but it’s only natural. The winter is long and rough in a lot of baseball cities and the arrival of the regular season tends to warm the soul, if not the actual ballparks in which over 2,500 games will be played during the next seven months. Tonight, it all begins with a singular but intriguing matchup between two longtime rivals. Let’s friggin’ do this.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.