Opening a door

You tend to spend most of your time looking at the prospects who changed teams in trades this time of year. Sometimes, though, it’s the prospects left behind who have the greater opportunity.

Several of the big trades completed at the Winter Meetings open up opportunities for Minor Leaguers who’s paths to the bigs were previously blocked. It was a good week for second baseman, ending with Dan Uggla being taken in the Rule 5 draft by the Marlins and likely being given the opportunity to start the season as their starter at that position.

On Wednesday, two trades opened the door for a pair of second base prospects. When Mark Loretta was dealt to the Red Sox for Doug Mirabelli, Josh Barfield must’ve jumped for joy (You can find out by tuning into Around the Minors on MLB Radio on Friday, 2 p.m. ET.). He should now get a shot at the second-base job, barring any other moves. Sure, there are some vets on the roster who may share some time with him, but I see him taking over full-time sooner rather than later.

Then there’s Texas. With Soriano gone, it’s time for Ian Kinsler to get a shot. He hit 23 homers, drove in 94 runs and stole 19 bases in Triple-A.

Of course, it might be smart for these prospects to keep their fingers crossed until guys like Mark Grudzielanek and Bret Boone sign, but why rain on their parade now.


I have Josh Barfield and Bret Boone on my fantasy baseball team. Should I be worried if SD signs Boone this off-season?

I have been waiting for Barfield to get a shot for the past 3 years. Do you think he will meet or exceed expectations?

Hey Real Deal —

Sorry for the delay in answering your questions. If the Padres were to sign Boone, then I’d be worried since it wouldn’t be to platoon or hand-hold Barfield (they already have Bobby Hill and Eric Young to do that possibly). That being said, I don’t see Boone landing in San Diego. I think St. Louis or maybe even Kansas City is more likely.

As for your second question, I’m not sure what expectations are for him right now. I can’t speak to what expectations you have for him, but I think the Padres don’t have excessive expectations. If they did, they wouldn’t have made sure they had veteran insurance in place. Personally, I think he’ll have a terrific rookie season. The struggles he had in 2004 (largely because of injury) and the first part of last year (largely because of pressing to do too much) I think have taught him to relax and do what he does best. And that’s hit. He won’t walk a ton and he strikes out a fair amount, but not out of control. In that park, don’t expect too much HR power, but I think something like: .280-.290 with 10 HR and 15 steals (RBIs will depend on how much he plays and where in the lineup he’ll be) is realistic.

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