It was not very surprising to see the Baltimore Orioles release Melvin Mora. But with Mora out, Ty Wiggington is the only veteran left on the roster who can handle either of the corner infield positions. However, it seems like the Orioles would prefer to go younger. Early reports suggest that Josh Bell has the inside track on 3B while Brandon Snyder is doing his best to claim 1B. Josh Bell was acquired by the O’s when they traded George Sherrill to the Dodgers. He may spend a year at AAA before he takes his place in the Majors but the Orioles believe they have an All-Star capable of hitting for average with at least 25 HRs a season. Snyder is not touted as a HR hitter but he hits for average and is very productive with runners in scoring position. He is capable of 100+ RBIs a season and has a chance to earn the 1B job this Spring Training.
Another position to watch is the Mariner’s 1B spot. Russell Branyan had an incredible year last year and as a free agent he should get a good contract this winter. I’m not sure how many Major League teams will be after him because I’m not sure I would pay to see if he can duplicate it again in 2010, and he is having back problems. The question for Seattle is do they let him go and give prospect Mike Carp a chance. Through the Minors Carp has put up solid numbers and scouts like his approach as he hits for average to all fields and draws walks. His defense has been what has held him back so maybe the Mariners will stop trying him in left and give him a chance at 1B.
The Marlins were hoping that 3B prospect Matt Dominguez would be ready to go in 2010. The 2007 draft pick has the ability to play the position defensively but his bat has not come around. Many speculated that Florida would trade its arbitration eligible players, Dan Uggla and/or Jorge Cantu, as part of the annual salary dump but now they may not have the prospect to fill in the gap. The corners of the infield in Florida are worth following as the Marlins organization has some big decisions to make. Stay tuned.