The Indians may be interested in Casey Kotchman

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Jon Paul Morosi:

Indians have interest in Casey Kotchman on minor-league deal, source says. LH bat, could compete with LaPorta.

Can someone please explain to me why the Indians would want Casey Kotchman to take playing time away from Matt LaPorta?  They have no money. They have the strongest imperative imaginable to get the most innings from guys with upside who are team-controlled for several years.  If their current salary structure holds, there is no way they can ever compete without the main contributions coming from players like LaPorta.

I know Laporta has his flaws — and that he’s entering his age-26 season so he’s not exactly a youngin’ anymore — but at least he has shown in the past that he might turn into a productive major leaguer. Kotchman, on the other hand, has shown his ceiling. And even at that level he’s not good enough to be an everyday first baseman.

I hope that this is the second rumor of the day that Buster Olney or someone debunks. I really don’t want to see the Indians costing potentially useful players plate appearances in an effort to beat out the Kansas City Royals for fourth place.

Bryce Harper played some third base in an intrasquad game

Bryce Harper third base
Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.

Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.

Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”

Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.

Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.