Looking for more potential A-Rod subs of the fringe kind:
Ron Belliard (Nationals 40-Man): This roly-poly second baseman has hit .282/.334/.433 over the last five years, which means he’s batting life to a draw. No one knows if he can actually field third base or not, a position he’s barely played. He seems to be without a position in Washington as the team tries to move to younger players — through with their recent front office changeover, it remains to be seen if any priorities have changed.
Brian Buscher (Twins 40-Man): The 28-year-old lefty swinger lucked himself into a decent batting average last year, but he’s really not much of a hitter, with very little production outside of that average. He’s been passed by Joe Crede, the Twins have a better utility option in Brendan Harris, and there are better prospective third basemen in the system, including the soon-to-be-ready Danny Valencia. In short, he’s purely redundant in Minnesota.
Korey Casto (Nationals 40-Man): My colleagues at Baseball Prospectus reminded me of this one today at ESPN. Casto, a third baseman/outfielder is absolutely buried in Washington. A lefty hitter, .250/.320/.400 seems like an optimistic projection.
Chone Figgins (Angels 40-Man): He remains the starting third baseman and no one is particularly pushing him — the Angels don’t seem to believe in Brandon Wood, and he may yet slot in at shortstop. Figgins is valuable as a multi-position player, but injuries have been a problem the last couple of years, and he’s an average hitter at best, lacking the pop to be a regular at the hot corner. He will also reach free agency after this season, which means an acquiring team will only be getting a rental for whatever payment the Angels extort–if they would even consider moving him, unlikely that he’s their primary sub at several positions. Figgins would almost certainly be an improvement on Cody Ransom, and he would give the Yankees an interesting extra burst of speed to pair with Brett Gardner, but he’s not a significant run producer. As BP points out, Minor League vet Matt Brown would be a better candidate as a sleeper pickup from the Angels system.
Jeff Larish (Tigers 40-Man): One of my favorite prospects, albeit for no particular reason, this lefty power and patience type is a natural first baseman or DH, but the Tigers have tried to make him into a two-corner sub. PECOTA hates him, but if he can hit .250 he’ll be an offensive asset. He’s 26, not a future star, and is stuck behind veterans at all of his positions — in other words, the kind of player that a team might flip for, say, a half-decent bullpen piece.
More of these to come as merrily we roll along — we have lots of time for speculation. Before I wish you a good weekend, I’d like to remind any readers in the Baltimore area that Jay Jaffe, Clay Davenport, and I will be doing our talk ‘n’ signing routine on Tuesday evening at the Johns Hopkins University Barnes & Noble, 3330 St. Paul Street in Baltimore. Closer to home, next Thursday Kevin Goldstein, Cliff Corcoran, Neil deMause, Jay, and myself will be reprising the act in Manhattan at the Barnes & Noble at 18th Street and 5th Avenue. I hope to see you there to talk about the new baseball season and all the crunchy A-Rod goodness you can stand. I’ll be the fat guy with the glasses. Can’t miss me.