Although Brad Miller said he’s “on the same page” with the Rays about potentially shifting from first base to second, he hasn’t necessarily embraced the move, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The 30-home run man from 2016 last played second two seasons ago as a member of the Mariners, and he has generally fared poorly as a middle infielder (minus-27 Defensive Runs Saved, minus-12.3 Ultimate Zone Rating as primarily a shortstop in 3,300-plus innings). Should Miller scuffle in his return to the keystone this year, the Rays would likely scrap the experiment and divide his playing time among first, designated hitter and short, per Topkin, who points to Tim Beckham, Nick Franklin and Daniel Robertson as their other in-house second base possibilities.
More from the American League:
- The Astros have been in pursuit of a front-line starter via trade all offseason, though nothing has materialized and general manager Jeff Luhnow doesn’t expect anything to come together this spring, he told MLB Network Radio on Sunday. However, Luhnow mentioned that having two extra draft picks resulting from ex-Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa’s hacking of the Astros and five top 100 prospects could help him swing a deal at some point (Twitter links).
- The idea of converting Dariel Alvarez from an outfielder to a pitcher is intriguing to some members of the Orioles organization, and manager Buck Showalter wouldn’t be against it, writes Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. As it stands, the 28-year-old Alvarez could be in danger of losing his 40-man roster spot, per Kubatko. Alvarez slashed a modest .288/.324/.384 with four home runs in 560 Triple-A plate appearances last season, and trying him on the mound would perhaps enable the Orioles to take advantage of his “plus-plus” arm, Kubatko notes.
- Third baseman Pablo Sandoval, left-hander Drew Pomeranz, right-hander Joe Kelly, first baseman Sam Travis and catcher Christian Vazquez are among the Red Sox who will need strong spring performances this year, opines Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald. If the beleaguered Sandoval is unable to show enough defensively to win the third base job, the lefty-swinger could have trouble finding playing time in Boston, which is likely to deploy Hanley Ramirez as its designated hitter against righties. Vazquez, meanwhile, has no minor league options remaining and will battle with Sandy Leon (also out of options) and Blake Swihart for a roster spot. The Red Sox might attempt to trade Vazquez if he doesn’t crack their roster, or they could send Swihart to the minors, observes Mastrodonato.