Dark days, indeed. Cynical ownership. Shady deals cut with borderline use of public money. Empty promises to the league, the fans, and the players. There’s just so much bad news I can handle before I run screaming to the nearest pastoral landscape to dream of rainbows and leprechauns and unicorns…
Pitchers and catchers reported to camp yesterday, and against my better logic and common sense, I hold onto hope for an interesting season. We still have some names on the roster that I thought looked pretty good last year. Donovan Solano, Justin Ruggiano, and Rob Brantly looked like solid defensemen last year, and Ruggiano’s bat started looking better.
Greg Dobbs came up with some clutch base hits last year, and with the deep fences at home, I think a squad of good singles hitters would beat a team with just one or two sluggers.
Juan Pierre returns this year, and is likely to be the leadoff man. Although he’s past his prime, he remains a potent threat. The ability to get on and get around never goes out of style.
Nathan Eovaldi and Jacob Turner looked good last year. Still in the category of developing pitchers, this season might see one or both deliver a breakout season. Also, Steve Cishek will likely develop into the go-to closer that we needed so badly last year.
Our top two holdovers, Giancarlo Stanton and Ricky Nolasco are entering their fourth and fifth big-league seasons, respectively. Being the only certified rock stars not traded over the winter has to be frustrating for both players. I believe they are both pro enough to put up their best effort, despite the myriad reasons not to.
I really do think that Stanton is capable of dropping 50 bombs this year. I hope we have a clear threat to hit behind him. Maybe Domingo Ayala, if we’re lucky enough to sign him. Maybe Logan Morrison, if his knees finally get cleared for full-throttle work.
Out of our very promising farm system, Christian Yelich looks like he’s going to see some big-league time this year. I see him as the 5-tool rookie that makes the highlight reels, like young Mr. Harper did in Sodom-on-Potomac last year.
See? Not so bad, from some angles.
I’m going to try and hang around at Roger Dean this weekend, and listen for some buzz. Spring is here, and hope is on the horizon after a dark and dreary winter.