In 2015, Matt Duffy thrust himself into the baseball limelight for his play on the field as well as his social media presence, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. As far as the baseball part goes, Duffy says that he isn’t stressing over whether he can manage a repeat performance in 2016.
“I think it’s human to think about that,” Duffy said. “But you just get back to what made me able to do it. I wasn’t worrying about hitting .300 or hitting ten homers. I did it by focusing on the most simple thing: See the ball as big as I can and put a good swing on it. As soon as you think about other people’s expectations, you lock yourself up trying to do the simplest things.”
Here’s more out of the National League:
- Mark Simon of ESPN.com looked at new Mets shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and stacked him up against everyone else at his position at shortstop. Ultimately, Cabrera does not grade out as an elite option, but he is an upgrade over what the Mets had there prevously. A major league scout told Simon that Cabrera profiles similarly to former teammate Jhonny Peralta. “I don’t think he’s a top-15 shortstop, but he’s in the middle of the pack,” said the scout. “What I like about in him is his ability to switch-hit, and I like his hands defensively. Everything he gets to, he’ll catch. Range-wise, he’s limited, but he’s still a quality baseball player. He knows how to do little things that help his team win. He may not match up to the kids at shortstop athletically, but he’ll surpass them in baseball intelligence. His brain is top-10. He’s still a very good guy to have on a major-league roster.” Cabrera inked a deal with the Mets which will guarantee him $18.5MM over the next two seasons plus a club option that could keep him in place through 2018. As it stands, Cabrera might go down as the Mets’ biggest free agent splash this winter.
- The Cardinals must focus on offensive development to remain a perennial contender, Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch opines. Thanks to revenue sharing, even smaller market teams are able to lock up their young bats well before they can ever hit the open market. Historically, the Cardinals have shied away from the high-ceiling potential of high school hitters in favor of college players with quick developmental potential. Now, with three selections within the first 40 or so picks, Gordon believes that the Cards can afford to go with more long-range prospects.
- Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News cannot understand why Reds Brandon Phillips refused to sign off on a trade that would have sent him to the Nationals. The second baseman reportedly wanted enhancements made to his current pact, which calls for him to earn $27MM over the next two years. McCoy views the veteran as greedy for making those demands and can’t fathom why he wouldn’t want to play for a winning team like the Nationals, especially when it means that he could have been reunited with Dusty Baker. Of course, after the Nats agreed to sign Daniel Murphy, there’s no real chance of that deal coming back together.