The Red Sox continue to negotiate with Mike Napoli and have reportedly checked in on the Nationals’ Michael Morse, but they are also considering some lower-profile options at first base.
Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that the Red Sox “have shown interest” in free agents Casey Kotchman and Lyle Overbay. However, nothing is “active” with either player.
Kotchman, who turns 30 in February, batted .229/.280/.333 with 12 home runs, 55 RBI and a .612 OPS in 142 games with the Indians last season. He had a brief stint with the Red Sox in 2009 after coming over from the Braves for Adam LaRoche. Overbay, who turns 36 later this month, batted .259/.331/.397 with two home runs, 10 RBI and a .727 OPS in 65 games last season between the Diamondbacks and Braves. Ideally, the Red Sox wouldn’t use them as anything more than a lefty bench bat and late-inning defensive replacement.
Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.
But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.
To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).
According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.