Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ian Desmond wins Nationals' SS job

The Washington Nationals have named rookie Ian Desmond as the team's starting shortstop to begin the 2010 season.

This is one of those moves that we can make to help the club this year and in the future,” [Nationals manager Jim] Riggleman said.

Provided Desmond doesn't struggle too much in the role, Cristian Guzman, last year's starting shortstop, will remain a utility player that could certainly be dealt mid-season.

"We have not made any calls and we haven't taken any calls about a trade," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said about Cristian Guzman, per Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.

Guzman, who's in the final year of his two-year contract, hit .284 last season after hitting .316 in 2008.

Through Sunday's game against the Braves, Desmond leads the Nationals in runs batted in (14) this spring.

Joba to be a reliever in 2011, too?

It seems to depend on whom you ask.

Yankees pitching coach, Dave Eiland, and Yankees general manager, Brian Cashman, don't necessarily see eye-to-eye on the future of Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain.

Or, at least, the certainty surrounding his future role with the club.

The Yankees decided to go with Phil Hughes for the fifth starter spot in the rotation, which obviously meant a return to relief for Chamberlain.

"We get more out of his ability as a reliever," Eiland said, per Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger. "We feel like he can be a good starter. We feel like he can be a great reliever. ... He's in the bullpen, and he's there to stay, period."

Meanwhile, Cashman said, "We all can have various views. From my perspective, he's going to be a starter that's pitching out of the pen."

In either case, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter talks about the benefit of being emotional and a reliever -- not a starter.

"He's done a good job in that role; Joba is a guy that pitches on emotion, so being in the bullpen benefits his demeanor," Jeter said, per Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News. "He gets by on emotion, and it's easier - or at least more fitting - to get by on emotion when you're in the bullpen. There are guys that can do it as a starter, but for him, I think being in the bullpen is a good thing."

With Joba and Mariano Rivera in the set-up and closer role, the Yankees have arguably the league's best one-two punch.

Ian Kinsler could miss first four days of season, or not

One of the big knocks on Rangers' second baseman Ian Kinsler is his ability (or, lack thereof) to stay healthy. (The other major knock is his relatively low batting average as he's a career .253 hitter.)

After all, he's averaged only 129 games per season in his four-year Major League career.

Now Kinsler, who's ankle is feeling better, said he was "95 percent certain" that he'd be ready for Opening Day on April 5th, per Anthony Andro of the Dallas Morning News.

Otherwise, he could end up on the disabled list making him eligible to return on April 11th.

"If I miss four days, it's a lot better to miss four days than to miss 15," Kinsler said, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "It's always fun to be part of Opening Day; you've got the huge flags and the planes, and the stadium is packed."

Although there are several players who have the ability to put up 30-30 seasons, such as Matt Kemp (Dodgers) and Hanley Ramirez (Marlins), only one player had a 30-30 season in 2009.

That was Ian Kinsler, who played a career-high 144 games.

Kinsler is the consensus second player at second base drafted in fantasy baseball behind Philadelphia's Chase Utley and will cost you a second-round pick.