Thankfully, this extra long Spring Training is almost over. I’ve had enough of the fluff stories (hey, did you see in the JS that Ken Macha is impressed with his assistant coaches!?) and am more than ready to actually have something of substance to follow.
There have been a couple roster moves in the past week that I’ve liked quite a bit. The first should come as no surprise–Tony Gwynn being waived. Not that I like Chris Duffy a lot or anything, but Gwynn simply doesn’t hit and really doesn’t belong in the Majors. The fact that he wasn’t claimed by any team should speak volumes. Gwynn returns to AAA Nashville, but he’s no longer on the 40 man roster.
This, in a way, is almost bittersweet for me. Gwynn has been the source of some of my better Brewer blowups/rants over the years (okay, actually the source was Ned Yost for using him, but whatever), possibly headlined by the game against Boston last year in which he was the freaking designated hitter.
The other move I’m excited about is the claiming of Joe Koshansky from Texas. Koshansky is a 26-year-old first baseman who spent most of his career in the Rockies’ system. He hit .300/.380/.600 in 526 plate appearances for AAA Colorado Springs last year, and was up with the Rockies for 18 games as well.
I like this claiming for a number of reasons. First, he can clearly hit. Even in a hitter-friendly league, a .980 OPS is noteworthy. He shouldn’t be expected to be a monster hitter in the bigs, but he seems like a poor man’s Adam Dunn or Russell Branyan in that he strikes out a ton but also has a good eye at the plate. He’s likely better than some MLB first baseman right now (Mike Jacobs in KC, Kendry Morales in Anaheim, whoever is playing first in Florida, to name a few). Second, this gives the Brewers another potential candidate at first base if the Brewers opt to trade Prince Fielder in the future. Koshansky has an option left, so he’ll spend this season as the starting first baseman in Nashville.
With Gwynn’s release and Hoffman’s DL stint, the roster is set. The last guys on the team appeared to have been Jorge Julio and Mark DiFelice (my boy!) on the pitching side and Brad Nelson and Chris Duffy on the bench. Duffy is valuable because he’s a better hitter than Gwynn yet can play all three positions. Nelson’s the best bat on the bench, but his value may be limited because he’s only a 1B and a sort-of corner outfielder (he’s just really slow-footed).
I happen to have Tuesday off, so I plan on watching the game and will probably do a game blog. I’m still planning to do the PECOTA pitching projections post before then as well. I also have a fantasy draft tonight during the first game of the season. Ah, baseball is finally here!