A few notes from around the majors:
- Both the Marlins and Pirates have made changes to their outfield alignments this offseason, and the Rockies should follow suit, opines Jim Bowden of ESPN.com. Specifically, the club ought to flip center fielder Charlie Blackmon – who has spent most of his career manning the middle – and left fielder David Dahl, Bowden argues. Blackmon, 30, has been a plus defender in left (three Defensive Runs Saved, 3.2 Ultimate Zone Rating), albeit over only 574 innings, but a negative in center across a 3,126-inning sample size (minus-15 DRS, minus-27.1 UZR). Dahl, meanwhile, drew near-neutral grades (minus-1 DRS, 0.4 UZR) in a combined 481 innings at all three outfield positions in 2016, his rookie campaign. At the time of Dahl’s July promotion to the majors, Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser noted that the 22-year-old possesses “superb defensive skills” and should be the Rockies’ long-term answer in center.
- When Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom underwent season-ending elbow surgery in September, the expectation was that he’d be ready for spring training. That remains the case, fortunately, as deGrom told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post he hasn’t “had any of the pain that was there” since having his ulnar nerve repositioned. The surgery, therefore, has been a success to this point, declared deGrom, who explained the issues that caused him to undergo the procedure. “It started with some tingling in my fingers,’’ said deGrom, whose last start of 2016 came Sept. 1. “Then it turned into a sharp pain. I don’t know if it’s because it was getting aggravated more, but that’s what was happening.”
- After a 15 1/3-inning cup of coffee in the majors last season, right-handed reliever Jandel Gustave has a strong chance to make the Astros out of camp this year, writes Jake Kaplan of Baseball America (subscription required and recommended). Manager A.J. Hinch is bullish on the hard-throwing Gustave, who racked up 16 strikeouts against four walks and yielded six earned runs on 13 hits last year with Houston. “I think he’s right in the mix to make our bullpen, both by improvements that he’s made in the last couple of seasons but also the first impression in the big leagues,” Hinch said of the 24-year-old. “He has an elite fastball and a developing breaking ball.”