Athletics Manager Bob Melvin discussed his plans for the team’s second base position, as reported by Shayna Rubin of the Mercury News. The longtime Oakland skipper expects to deploy the tandem of Franklin Barreto and Tony Kemp in a platoon, with Barreto getting at-bats against lefties and Kemp playing versus right-handers. That’s promising news regarding the 24-year-old Barreto, who has long been regarded as a talented prospect but has gotten limited exposure since the A’s acquired him from the Blue Jays. But after a strong showing in summer camp, he may finally get consistent at-bats. Thus far, he’s appeared in parts of three seasons but has played just 80 games in total, making 209 plate appearances. As talented as Barreto may be, one has to think that it’d be hard to find a rhythm at the plate when opportunities against MLB pitching come so sparingly. We’ll keep our eyes on Barreto this season, hoping he can tap into the power that made him a key prospect in the Josh Donaldson trade.
- Music City Baseball, an organization working to bring a Major League Baseball team to Nashville, is expected to pitch a proposal to MLB at the 2021 Winter Meetings, writes the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham as part of a piece that also details former Red Sox GM Dave Dombrowski’s involvement with the group. Dombrowski hopped on board as an advisor to the group, along with the likes of Tony La Russa, Dave Stewart, and Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin. Of course, if such a proposal is to come to fruition, they’ll need the approval of MLB, which is not actively planning for expansion in the near future. Certainly, there are plenty of obstacles to the venture, making a 2024 or 2025 arrival seem like the best-case scenario for the Nashville Stars.
- After a possible exposure to COVID-19 led the Astros to shut down workouts yesterday, pitching coach Brent Strom and the Major League pitching staff were all absent from camp today, as reported by Mark Berman of Fox Houston. Manager Dusty Baker said that Strom was “part of” the exposure that caused yesterday’s cancellation. That group is undergoing COVID-19 testing and is currently awaiting results. Of course, Baker said that the hope is that is Strom and the Astros’ pitchers will be able to rejoin the team in short order, though for the time being the team will wait with bated breath for the results of those tests.
- Red Sox prospect Bobby Dalbec has been cleared to play after a positive test for COVID-19 prevented him from participating until now, reports Christopher Smith of MassLive. He rejoined the Sox at Fenway Park today after spending Saturday working out at Boston College. The 25-year-old infielder is regarded as one of Boston’s best prospects, and could contribute to the big league team this year. Rising through the minors as a third baseman, Dalbec may be best suited for first base in the Majors, but there’s little doubt about his raw power and on-base skills. Dalbec is one of four Red Sox who tested positive for the virus, with pitchers Eduardo Rodriguez, Josh Taylor, and Darwinzon Hernandez still recovering.