We discussed the West earlier tonight. Here’s the latest from the East:
- Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval is expected to miss the rest of the season with pneumonia, writes John Tomase of WEEI.com. This comes just a couple days after fellow offseason signee Hanley Ramirez was shut down for the year with a shoulder injury. Sandoval hit .245/.292/.366 on the year with 43 runs scored and 47 RBI. Ramirez managed just .249/.291/.426 with 59 runs and 53 RBI. Advanced metrics labelled both players as terrible defenders this season (Sandoval at least has a history of solid defense). Undoubtedly, the pair was expected to produce about twice as many runs with passable defense. Had they performed to those expectations, Boston’s 6.5 game deficit in the Wild Card race could be a lead.
- Boston has three potential candidates to man first base in 2016, writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. The club plans to train Ramirez at the position after he failed to adjust to the outfield. Undoubtedly, Red Sox personnel hope first base can help Ramirez to stay healthy. The other internal option is Travis Shaw. He’s done enough to earn another look after hitting .282/.348/.511 with 11 home runs over 210 plate appearances. Shaw, 25, was never a highly touted prospect. The team may prefer to use him as depth. If they’re uncomfortable with Ramirez and Shaw, they could always dig into the coffers for Chris Davis. Personally, I expect any big free agent investments to be in the rotation.
- The Phillies have their own first base conundrum to solve, writes Jake Kaplan of the Philadelphia Inquirer. They anticipate an influx of talent next season, but first base will probably remain a time share between Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf. Howard will be in the final guaranteed season of a five-year, $125MM extension. Previous attempts to swap him to the junior circuit have turned up zero trading partners. Howard still hits well against right-handed pitchers while Ruf handles southpaws with aplomb. The platoon has combined for about -1 WAR this season, but they’ve also bashed a combined 33 home runs with 78 runs and 108 RBI in 766 plate appearances. That’s roughly a third of the team’s run production. Clearly, they can have some value to the club so long as they avoid same-handed pitchers.
- Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond is frustrated with his 2015 season, he tells Bill Ladson of MLB.com. Desmond, 30, is by far the top shortstop entering free agency, but he’s coming off his first below average offense campaign since 2011. Desmond hit just .232/.286/.382 on the year. When asked if he would accept a qualifying offer, Desmond hinted it was possible.