The Braves organization suffered a difficult loss over the weekend, as long-time coach, advisor, and instructor Bobby Dews passed away at 76 years of age. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman explains how deeply embedded he was in the team’s fabric, even as he spent less time around the ballclub in recent years. We join all those around the league in tipping our cap to Dews and offering our condolences to his family and friends.
A few notes from the National League …
- Following the Nationals’ reported agreement with Stephen Drew on a one-year deal, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post breaks down what the club’s bench could look like. As Janes notes, the addition of Drew will give first-year Nationals manager Dusty Baker four left-handed bats on the bench (Jose Lobaton, Clint Robinson and Matt den Dekker being the others, as things stand). His versatility, as well as the versatility of fellow newcomer Daniel Murphy (who can also handle third base, first base and, in a pinch, left field) gives Baker plenty of options to mix and match. A significant addition may or may not be coming, Janes writes, noting that the pursuit of top free agents such as Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist at least indicates that the club has money to spend. However, even if the team doesn’t land an additional center field option, the much-needed addition of some left-handed options in recent weeks has brightened the 2016 outlook.
- Former Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond has long been rumored to be dabbling in the idea of signing as a Zobrist-esque super-utility player, and ESPN.com’s Buster Olney suggests the Giants could be a fit for him in such a role. Desmond could be the regular left fielder, even see time in center, and function as a reserve or injury replacement in the infield, Olney reasons.
- Speaking of converting infielders to the outfield grass, Cubs youngster Javier Baez has seen time in center field in the Puerto Rican winter league, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat noted recently. It doesn’t seem that the organization is looking to press him into regular duty there, at least at present, but would at least like to have the option of deploying him in the outfield on occasion.
- The Reds’ two Rule 5 picks have a solid chance of sticking with the club, C. Trent Rosecrans writes for Baseball America. Outfielder Jake Cave (from the Yankees) makes for a good fit because he hits from the left side, assistant GM Nick Krall tells Rosecrans. And Krall adds that southpaw Chris O’Grady (via the Angels) has shown an ability to retire batters on both sides of the box, with good command helping to make up for average stuff.