Mariners shortstop Brad Miller had a monster spring training, batting .410 with 14 extra-base hits and a 1.314 OPS in 70 plate appearances to easily hold off Nick Franklin for the starting job. And he kept rolling last night, homering twice in an 8-3 win over the Angels.
Combined with his half-season debut last year Miller now has 10 homers in 78 career regular season games. He also went deep 16 times in 108 total games between Double-A and Triple-A while in the minors.
That’s not extraordinary power or anything, but it certainly suggests Miller is capable of hitting 20-plus homers over the course of a full season and … well, not a lot of 24-year-old shortstops do that. In fact, here’s the complete list of 24-year-old shortstops with 20 or more homers in the last 20 years: Alex Rodriguez, Nomar Garciaparra, Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowitzki, J.J. Hardy, Bobby Crosby.
Miller was never a particularly highly touted prospect coming up through the Mariners’ farm system, but he hit .334 with a .925 OPS in the minors and looks ready to form a helluva double-play combo with Robinson Cano.
This might be the end of the line for Chone Figgins.
First he was released by the Mariners, who chose to eat $8 million rather than keep him around for another season, and now the Marlins have released him as well.
If you can’t secure a bench spot as a veteran player with defensive versatility on what may prove to be the worst team in the entire league where do you have left to go? Other than the minors, I suppose.
Incidentally, it’s sad to think about how many photos will always exist of veteran players wearing uniforms of teams that released them in spring training. Figgins on the Marlins, Ronny Cedeno on the Cardinals, Bobby Crosby on the Brewers, Matt Diaz on the Yankees. And that’s just this week.
Bobby Crosby’s comeback attempt with Milwaukee is over, as the Brewers released the former Rookie of the Year today.
Crosby, who hasn’t played in the majors since 2010, signed a minor-league deal in January that would have been worth $850,000 in guaranteed money and another $450,000 in incentives if he made the Opening Day roster.
Crosby is 33 years old now and has hit just .229 with a .633 OPS in 501 games as a major leaguer since 2006, including zero seasons with an OPS above .700. And he hit just .188 this spring.
The Brewers aren’t counting on Corey Hart to return until sometime in May, but he received good news on his surgically-repaired right knee yesterday.
According to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, Hart was cleared to begin intensifying his rehab after an MRI showed sufficient healing in his knee joint. The 30-year-old had surgery in January to repair torn cartilage and smooth an imperfection in the joint surface. While Hart doesn’t need crutches to get around anymore, it’s believed that he’s at least a couple of weeks away from beginning baseball activities.
Mat Gamel was originally slated to fill in for Hart at first base, but he had his second ACL surgery in the past year yesterday. As a result, the Brewers are currently looking at internal options like Alex Gonzalez, Bobby Crosby, Taylor Green and Hunter Morris.
Wait, Bobby Crosby? The guy who hasn’t played since 2010 and wasn’t all that good when he played? Yup, that’s him:
He’s got to be considered a long shot to make the team. In his last big league action he hit .220/.294/.298 with one home run in 168 at-bats between the Pirates and Diamondbacks. Still, with a minor league deal he’s basically risk-free for the Brewers and could provide some depth if he makes the club.