In his most recent mailbag column Jordan Bastian of MLB.com writes that third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall and second baseman Jason Kipnis are both likely to be in the Indians’ lineup on Opening Day, although he says Chisenhall “would be the more likely of the two to start at Triple-A.”
Jason Donald and Jack Hannahan will be in the mix as their spring training competition, but Chisenhall and Kipnis finished this year as starters and are the long-term answers at their respective positions.
What makes Cleveland likely going with a pair of young infielders especially interesting is that in building the most ground-ball heavy starting rotation in baseball the Indians are relying an awful lot on infield defense to boost the pitching staff.
The St. Louis Cardinals have acquired Marcell Ozuna from the Miami Marlins. Craig Mish of Sirius XM was the first to report that the deal was done. Ozuna still has to take a physical.
There is no report yet about what the Cards had to give up to get Ozuna, but given that the Cards and Marlins put a deal together for Giancarlo Stanton, the sides certainly have discussed various Cards prospects recently.
Ozuna fills a major need for the Cardinals, who had serious weaknesses in the middle of the order in 2017. Last year their number three hitters hit a combined .246/.338/.425 and their cleanup hitters hit 270/.350/.444. Ozuna, 27, had a fantastic offensive year in 2017, hitting .312/.376/.548 with 37 home runs and 124 RBI in 159 games.
Ozuna made $3.5 million this past season and is due for arbitration this offseason. He is under contractual control through 2019.