Tracy Ringolsby at the Rocky Mountain News outlines how position battles for the last spots on the 25 man roster are shaping up for the Spring. With heated battles expected for the fifth outfield and sixth infield positions between a host of familiar names, including three of whom (Clint Barmes, Luis Gonzalez and Cory Sullivan) that were opening day starters last season.
My early picks for the winners? Right now I'm leaning to Cory Sullivan in the outfield because he's left handed, even though I think Ryan Spilborghs is the better hitter overall. The catch is that Sullivan had an oddball reverse split where he fared better against left-handers than RHP's last season, and if Spilborghs still proves better against right handed pitching this Spring, it wouldn't make sense to keep Sullivan for a non-existent platoon advantage. I guess that's where Jeff Salazar is the real wild card in this. Ringolsby doesn't even mention him, but his .853 OPS against RHP's in 51 major league at bats (not to mention the .847 OPS against righties in the Springs) makes me think he might be excellent in a bench role for the Rockies. As for the infield, it clearly comes down to either Luis Gonzalez and Clint Barmes, and until Barmes proves his bat is back on track, I have to think Gonzalez has the advantage.
Troy Renck is back from his X-mas break as well, he pops in with the news that there will be a Blake Street Bomber reunion and commemoration at Coors in April. This is a happy development in the category of marketable nostalgia, and I think I'm going to try and arrange my travel to be in Denver around that time as well. Anyway, a less happy development is the thought of Brian Lawrence starting games for the Rox next season, but I figure we have enough rotation depth to make that possibility satisfactorily remote.
The D-backs may or may not be close to dealing for Randy Johnson depending on which New York media source you believe, and as could be expected from the NY press, most of their reporters are absolutely dismayed that a non-New York team could score Barry Zito when a New York team was interested. Silly New Yorkers.
Update [2006-12-29 18:49:34 by Russ in NY]: I don't know if anyone here follows the PGA Tour, but SB Nation just launched a golf blog: Waggle Room.