Washington’s search for bench bats has led them to express interest in Mark DeRosa, Greg Dobbs, and Willie Harris, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com.
Dobbs and Harris are left-handed hitters and strictly role players, while DeRosa is a right-handed hitter who was an everyday player before wrist problems derailed his career three years ago.
Chris Marrero is in danger of missing the first half with a torn hamstring, so DeRosa could be used as a platoon partner and/or fill-in for the left-handed-hitting Adam LaRoche at first base.
Ladson writes that beefing up the bench with capable bats is a priority for manager Davey Johnson, who “was not happy that it was built on speed and defense” in 2011.
The Mariners announced that the club claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Angels. Interestingly, the Mariners list Cowart as both an outfielder and a right-handed pitcher. Cowart has never pitched professionally, but the Mariners will try him as a two-way player next season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Cowart was a highly regarded pitcher in high school.
Cowart, 26, has played all over the field, spending most of his time at third base and second base, but also logging a handful of innings at first base, shortstop, and left field. He hasn’t hit much at all, owning a career .177/.241/.293 triple-slash line across 380 plate appearances in the big leagues. It makes sense to try another angle.
Shohei Ohtani, of course, is helping to popularize the rebirth of the two-way player. In his first year in the majors after having played in Japan for five years, Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award by posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances along with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts. Don’t expect Cowart to hit those lofty numbers, but additional versatility could prolong his life in the majors.