Saturday, February 9, 2013

Position Players In Camp

We posted the pitchers and catchers, who will report Monday and get it on the next day. The position players will be checking in on Thursday and drilling Friday. Here's the list of campers vying for a spot on the 25-man roster come April:

Infielders: 3B Pedro Alvarez, SS Clint Barmes, IF Chase d'Arnaud, IF Ivan DeJesus, 3B Jared Goedert, 1B Matt Hague, IF Josh Harrison, 1b Brad Hawpe, IF Anderson Hernandez, 1B Garrett Jones, SS Jordy Mercer, 1B Clint Robinson, 1B Gaby Sanchez and 2B Neil Walker.

The starting infield should be familiar, as the Bucs didn't bring in anyone to challenge last season's gang of Jones/Sanchez, Walker, Barmes and Alvarez. The only possible movement there is if the right field options blow up and Jones has to return to the pasture. The big sidebar is the evolution of Pedro in the lineup.

The real battle will be for bench spots. We like DeJesus and Harrison as early frontrunners, just because Mercer has an option to burn. If he's to get a shot in 2014, he'd probably be better served to get regular work at Indy than to pine away in Pittsburgh. We think Robinson starts at Indy too, as he has an option and Jones is back at first. He's the card up the FO's sleeve if Jones becomes a hot item at the deadline, or sooner.

Outfielders: Darren Ford, Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen, Felix Pie, Alex Presley, Jerry Sands, Travis Snider and Jose Tabata.

Marte will be given a long leash in left in his first full season, and Cutch is an ironman in center. Early smart money has a Snider/JT platoon in right, but Sands, Presley and Pie give them viable options down the road.  All can be safely sent down, while Snider and Tabata are out of options. It's also possible that a minor deal could be swung in March with a team looking for a fourth outfielder; Presley would probably hold the most value of the non-starters, and JT is on the list, too.

C Russell Martin is the only starter the Bucs picked up in the offseason as a field player. They're counting on the growth of their young core to provide the oomph in 2013's campaign.

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