This would be unexpected: John Shea is reporting that the Giants may make Brandon Belt their starting first baseman. At least they’re “leading toward” doing.
There will be an announcement later today. If they go in that direction, one assumes that Pat Burrell would sit and Aubrey Huff would play left. Although, given that Burrell doesn’t profile like a particularly useful backup outfielder, who knows? UPDATE: Oops, forgot: with the Cody Ross injury, Huff plays right, Burrell stays in left. In my defense, I know a lot of you would like to forget Cody Ross.
I would have bet my beard that the Giants would have left Belt at AAA, partially to keep the service time clock from ticking but also because, man, they just won a World Series with Burrell and Huff and that they’d at least start the season with them both in the lineup. And maybe Shea is wrong and they’ll still to that.
But man, if this goes down, I love it. Belt is a nice prospect who has impressed this spring. Seeing him on the roster with Buster Posey and Tim Lincecum would give Giants fans a nice glimpse of the next five years or more and would represent a team that is doing what every defending World Series champ has to do: continue to find ways to get better rather than resting on their laurels.
The Brewers have signed Neftali Feliz to a one-year, $5.35 million contract. There are some performance incentives in the deal that could push it to $6.85 million. Feliz will likely open the 2017 season as the Brewers’ closer.
The 28-year-old righty is coming off of an impressive season with the Pirates. His hits allowed per nine innings were WAY down and his WHIP dipped sharply as well, despite the fact that he walked a few more dudes. That was offset by a big spike in his strikeout rate: from 7.3/9IP in 2015 to 10.2 last year. A blemish: he missed the last month of the season after suffering a bout of arm soreness, though no structural problem was ever uncovered, he’ll likely be good to go next month.
The Miami Marlins have acquired starting pitcher Dan Straily from the Cincinnati Reds. In exchange, the Reds will receive right-handed pitching prospects Luis Castillo and Austin Brice and outfield prospect Isaiah White.
For the Marlins, they get a solid starter who logged 191.1 innings of 113 ERA+ ball last year. Straily has moved around a lot in his five big league seasons — the Marlins will be his fifth club in six years — but it was something of a breakout year for him in Cincinnati. The only troubling thing: he tied for the league lead in homers allowed. Of course, pitching half of his games in Great American Ballpark didn’t help that, and Miami will be a better place for him.
Castillo is 24. He split last season between high-A and Double-A — far more of it in A-ball — posting a 2.26 ERA over 24 starts. Austin Brice is also 24. He pitched 15 games in relief for the Marlins last year at the big league level with poor results. He seemed to blossom at Triple-A, however, after the Marlins shifted him to the pen. White was a third round pick in the 2015 draft. He played low-A ball as a minor leaguer last year, hitting .214/.306/.301.
A mixed bag of young talent for the Reds, but stockpiling kids and seeing what shakes out is what a team like the Reds should be doing at the moment. For the Marlins: a solid mid-to-back end starter who may just be coming into his own.