Dodgers manager Don Mattingly announced that new shortstop Jimmy Rollins will be the team’s leadoff hitter, explaining: “We don’t truly have anyone else who fits in that role.”
Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but whatever.
Rollins fits the old stereotype of a leadoff hitter because he’s a middle infielder with plus speed, but the problem is that he doesn’t actually get on base much.
Last season Rollins had a .323 on-base percentage and that was actually higher than his OBPs in 2012 and 2013. With that said, offense across baseball is down so much that NL leadoff men as a whole barely topped Rollins with a .327 OBP last season and Mattingly is right that the Dodgers lack an obvious leadoff candidate with great on-base skills unless they opt against using Yasiel Puig in the middle of the lineup.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson was asked about a Dillon Gee trade rumor that made the internet rounds Monday night and told reporters that it’s “fair to say” he’s had little-to no recent trade talks surrounding the veteran right-hander.
Just because I’m sure everyone is curious, the “rumor” was that the Rangers are interested in Gee and might be willing to include injured former top prospect Jurickson Profar in a deal to get him, but even with Profar out for a second straight season following shoulder surgery the idea of trading him for one season of a good but not great impending free agent starting pitcher seems outlandish.
Gee, who turns 29 years old next month, tossed 137 innings with a 4.00 ERA and 94/43 K/BB ratio last season and has a 3.91 ERA in 640 career innings for the Mets.
Brian Dozier had a quasi-breakout season last year, hitting .242 with 23 homers, 21 steals, 89 walks, and a .762 OPS in 156 games to rank among MLB’s top all-around second basemen. And now the Twins are working to sign him to a contract extension.
Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that the two sides are “making solid progress” on a deal and “it’s at least close” to being done.
Dozier is making the minimum salary for this season and would then be under team control via arbitration for 2016-2018, so any contract extension buying out at least one season of his free agency would have to be at least five seasons in length.
Because he was a college draft pick who moved relatively slowly through the minors as a mediocre prospect Dozier is just two months shy of his 28th birthday. Minnesota already has him under team control through age 31 and Dozier, while very good, is hardly an elite-level player with a lengthy track record of excellence, so committing guaranteed money to keep him for age 32 and beyond definitely carries some risk.
Making official what was expected, the Cubs have named Jon Lester as their Opening Day starter.
Lester, who joined the Cubs on a six-year, $155 million deal in December, made the Opening Day start for the Red Sox last season and in 2013, 2012, and 2011.
He’ll be followed in the rotation by Jake Arrieta, Jason Hammel, and Kyle Hendricks, with the fifth spot up for grabs among Edwin Jackson, Travis Wood, and Tsuyoshi Wada.
Spring training injuries, man.
Chris Sale broke his foot stepping off his truck, Ronald Belisario broke his shoulder getting out of a swimming pool, and now there’s this from new Pirates outfielder/first baseman Corey Hart:
Hart is attempting to resurrect his career on a one-year deal as a part-timer in Pittsburgh and was already trying to remodel his game with less speed following multiple knee surgeries.