There’s no better place to be right now than Arizona—or maybe Florida. Or anywhere you can watch baseball again, really. It is finally that time of year.
Spring training has arrived, signifying an end to a long winter without baseball. The regular season is still about six weeks away, but we can’t be greedy. Baseball is officially back.
While many teams are done adding major pieces through free agency and trade, there are still a handful of teams that could make a splash via either market before spring training ends. Every team has a clean slate until April, and now is the time to finish loading up for the long summer schedule.
Let’s take a look at some of the players rumored to be available for some of those teams.
Ryan Theriot (INF)
The 33-year-old Theriot is a career .281 hitter who can play several positions in the infield. His versatility will garner a lot of interest in the coming month, and as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports suggests, there are a couple teams rumored to be particularly interested:
The Indians have been on a free-agent binge this winter, signing Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn (via Yahoo Sports), Mark Reynolds and others to bolster a lineup that already had some good young talent in place. Adding another quality veteran with the ability to play various utility roles would appear to also be on Cleveland’s list.
Theriot has played 236 games in his last two seasons, and as Rosenthal suggests, finding playing time with the Indians would be doable, but it’s probably not an ideal situation for the infielder if playing time is his main concern.
Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall all stand to see considerable action in the infield this year, and Theriot may simply be a utility guy and twice-a-week starter should he find himself in the mix.
Texas’ infield is similarly crowded, and he’s likely looking at a reserve role wherever he ends up signing. It should be noted that the last two teams to sign Theriot (St. Louis, San Francisco) won the World Series, and while MLB executives probably aren’t looking for a good luck charm on the free-agent market, it’s probably a good idea to keep an eye on where he lands. Just in case.
Rick Porcello (RHP)
According to Lynn Henning of The Detroit News, it’s almost a certainty the Detroit Tigers will trade starting pitcher Rick Porcello if they get an offer worth taking:
The Tigers will trade their 24-year-old right-hander if an offer tempts them, not because there is anything wrong with Porcello that a restless slider can't cure.
A team with extra starting pitchers will move Porcello for the right package. And that's likely to include an answer at the lone infield position they can realistically hope to upgrade: shortstop.
Porcello hasn’t pitched poorly for the Tigers, but he hasn’t played like a guy who will be anywhere near the front end of Detroit’s rotation in the coming years. He adds a lot of depth as a potential No. 5 starter in the Tigers’ rotation, but his value is likely much higher for several other teams.
Detroit is in a terrific situation. They have too many good starting pitchers, and someone is going to have to go. Chances are it will be Porcello.
Drew Stubbs (OF)
With all the position players Cleveland brought in this offseason (namely Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher), the Indians have incredible depth in the outfield. Michael Brantley, Bourn and Drew Stubbs are all quality center fielders, which means the Indians have a few valuable trade pieces for teams looking for a center fielder.
Brantley and Bourn won’t be going anywhere, which leaves Stubbs as “the odd man out,” according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports:
There isn't much to see there, so the Mets will now presumably try to pick up one of Cleveland's scraps. Drew Stubbs is very likely the odd man out in Cleveland and eminently available. And guess what, he just might be the Mets' best outfielder if they get him.
While dealing for Stubbs would make sense for the Mets, Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer doesn’t believe the Indians will be in any hurry to deal him:
Doesn't sound as if signing of Michael Bourn will prompt #lndians to trade an outfielder (Michael Brantley or Drew Stubbs).— paul hoynes (@hoynsie) February 12, 2013
Time will tell, but the Indians certainly have some valuable trade pieces with the additions of Swisher and Bourn.