Another cog in the wheel known as the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy to combat the Extreme Left-Wing Media.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Final roster spots

Spring training is wrapping up and decisions should be coming soon on the final roster spots. Coming into training camp the Indians had very few contested openings for the 25 man roster. I'll run down the position players here and then the pitchers later.

Backup Catcher - Victor Martinez is an All Star caliber returning starter. Kelly Shoppach came into camp as the presumed favorite to win the back up job. However, Shoppach has struggled offensively and Einar Diaz has been hitting like the Einar of a few years ago. Shoppach has a minor league option left, but I expect he will make the team based on superior defensive skills.

Utility IF - Ramon Vazquez and Brandon Phillips are battling for this spot. Vazquez could be an adequate guy to fill in at 2B or SS for a game or two, but if a player goes down he isn't a long term answer. Brandon Phillips is hitting well in camp and probably could play 2B or SS for an extended period. The question with Phillips is can he handle being a bench player? Coming into camp it was assumed that Vazquez would win this contest. Based on Spring performance, I'd give the nod to Phillips. Give him a couple starts a week to keep Boone, Belliard and Peralta from wearing down as the season drags on.

Fourth OF - Todd Hollandsworth entered camp as the presumptive favorite. He hasn't done much to impress in camp. Hollandsworth has a ten year major league track record and it isn't very good. After winning the Rookie of the Year award in 1996 he has done very little to distinguish himself. The last player competing for the outfield is Jason Dubois. While Hollandsworth has struggled to hit .240, Dubois has raked for over .400 with power and appears to have a better understanding of the strike zone than he showed last year. In an upset, I call for Dubois to be the starting RF and let Casey "Strike Three Looking" Blake handle the 4th OF job. Blake can also spell Boone at 3B occasionally.

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