Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that Jorge Cantu is “seriously being considered by the Diamondbacks” as an option at first base.
Cantu was horrendous for the Rangers after they acquired him a midseason deal with the Marlins and barely played in the postseason as rookie Mitch Moreland emerged as the primary first baseman.
He’s always had 25-homer power, but poor plate discipline kept Cantu from emerging as more than a decent regular and now even that may be a stretch. He hit just .256 with a .304 on-base percentage and .392 slugging percentage in 127 games this year and would likely be best in a platoon role facing mostly left-handers even if he bounces back in 2011.
That could make him a fit in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks acquired minor-league veteran and left-handed hitter Juan Miranda from the Yankees last month. It won’t excite fans, but a Miranda-Cantu platoon could produce something resembling league-average production very cheaply.
The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.
The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.
Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.