Orioles manager Buck Showalter was asked numerous times over the weekend about the club’s vacant leadoff spot, but he didn’t have much in the way of answers, as Jon Meoli of The Baltimore Sun writes. “Somebody’s going to lead off Opening Day, I’ll bet you,’’ Showalter said. “Our guys don’t talk about it a lot. I’ve said many times, take your best hitter and hit him first and give him more at-bats.” Here’s more from the AL East..
- Most of the heavy lifting is done, but the Rays would still like to make some improvements as spring training approaches. “Maybe now this is the time for ’tweaking’ of the roster,” baseball ops president Matt Silverman said, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. “As we get closer to camp, we have a good sense of the depth that we have as well as a couple areas of potential need. Hopefully we can find ways to line up with other clubs to improve ourselves, but it’s not a necessity.” The biggest priority seems to be adding another middle infielder, preferably a defensively-strong shortstop, though there aren’t many options on the open market. Tampa Bay may also seek an experienced catcher to support Rene Rivera and another experienced reliever.
- Reliever Zach Britton doesn’t seem to think that he and the Orioles are right on the verge of a pre-arbitration agreement, as Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes. “I’m not sure,” said Britton. “Where we are right now, we’re still negotiating. There’s been a lot of dialogue the last couple of days, but right now there’s really nothing to update other than we’re just talking.”
- The advanced metrics are bullish on the Red Sox’s improved offense in 2015, as Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald writes.
- Orioles center fielder Adam Jones spoke with reporters, including Kubatko, about a wide range of topics, including the loss of Nick Markakis and the Dan Duquette-to-Toronto rumors that dominated much of the offseason.
- New Red Sox starter Rick Porcello has the skills to be the ace of Boston’s staff, writes Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe.