Ken Davidoff of New York Newsday reports that left-hander Randy Choate has avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year contract with the Rays.
Choate, 33, posted a 3.47 ERA and 1.07 WHIP over 61 appearances with
Tampa Bay in 2009. He was especially effective against left-handed
hitters, holding them to a miniscule .141 batting average.
The secret to his success in 2009? Choate managed an excellent 65.3%
groundball rate, and in turn, a .244 BABIP (batting average on balls in
play), thanks to one of the best defenses in the majors. He was
pretty fortunate, it turns out. He’ll hope to duplicate his success as
a situational left-hander again next season, but he’ll compete with R.J. Swindle for the role during spring training.
Pablo Sandoval could be tabbed to play second base in the near future, per a report from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. According to Shea, Sandoval has been spotted taking grounders at second during pre-game warm-ups and may be considering switching to the keystone on a part-time basis.
It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing the 31-year-old corner infielder has done this year — that distinction goes to the flawless inning of relief he pitched in a blowout loss against the Dodgers last month. But it would represent a pretty notable departure from his comfort zone even so; Sandoval has primarily manned first and third base throughout his 11-year career in the majors and has also taken a few reps at DH during his resurgence with the Giants in 2018.
Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent switch for Sandoval. As Shea points out, the Giants are thin on middle infielders after losing Joe Panik to a torn UCL in his left thumb and backup Alen Hanson to a left hamstring strain. Provided he can get up to speed quickly (no easy feat, according to infield coach Ron Wotus), he’d give the club some added depth behind Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez until Panik is ready to take the field again. Sandoval has impressed at the plate this spring, batting a healthy .270/.329/.429 with six extra-base hits and a .757 through 70 plate appearances.