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Top 20 players who will shape AL East race

MLB.com @williamfleitch

If you can believe it, Opening Day is only five weeks away, and we're previewing each division every Wednesday. Baseball is an individual sport masquerading as a team sport, so, thus, we'll be previewing each division by counting down the 20 most pivotal players in the division. These aren't necessarily the best players. They're just the ones whose 2018 performance will be most vital to their teams' success this season, and in seasons moving forward. To keep it fair, we can only pick four players from each team.

Today: The American League East. Tell me what you think -- not just about what you think of this list, but also whom I should not miss when I do the National League West next week -- at will.leitch@mlb.com.

If you can believe it, Opening Day is only five weeks away, and we're previewing each division every Wednesday. Baseball is an individual sport masquerading as a team sport, so, thus, we'll be previewing each division by counting down the 20 most pivotal players in the division. These aren't necessarily the best players. They're just the ones whose 2018 performance will be most vital to their teams' success this season, and in seasons moving forward. To keep it fair, we can only pick four players from each team.

Today: The American League East. Tell me what you think -- not just about what you think of this list, but also whom I should not miss when I do the National League West next week -- at will.leitch@mlb.com.

Previously: NL Central

20. Christian Arroyo, Tampa Bay Rays
Arroyo is an extremely promising third-base prospect who already has 135 at-bats in the Majors and is ranked No. 81 on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects. I hope Arroyo can remember all those things when Rays fans look over at third base and, for the first time in a decade, see someone other than Evan Longoria there. Not just that, but Longoria is saying that he "feels bad for the Rays' fanbase." So, you know, good luck, kid.

19. Zach Britton, Baltimore Orioles
He's not going to be back for a few months, but by the time he gets back, the Orioles will have a pretty solid idea of whether they're coming or going. Either they're going to need Britton to come back and work himself back into Britton-shape because they're fighting for an American League Wild Card spot, or they'll need him to come back because they're selling hard at the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Video: Must C Combo: Kiermaier flashes leather, power bat

18. Kevin Kiermaier, Tampa Bay Rays
You can tell pretty well what kind of baseball fan you're talking to when you discuss Kiermaier. Your FanGraphs obsessive thinks he's one of the best, and certainly one of the most underrated, players in the game. Your usual baseball-card-stat fan is totally baffled at what all the fuss is about.

17. Randal Grichuk, Toronto Blue Jays
Did the Blue Jays just get themselves a cost-controlled power bat, one who can play center field, on the cheap? After trading for Marcell Ozuna, the Cardinals didn't have a place for Grichuk, so they sent him to Toronto for reliever Dominic Leone, and Grichuk might be exactly the right fielder the Blue Jays were searching for. He strikes out way too much, and he's probably never going to be a consistent on-base threat, but he's under club control through 2020, plays the outfield like a dream, and if you make a mistake pitch to him, he will pulverize it.

16. Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles are making a last-ditch, all-in mad dash in the AL East this year, and while some might question the wisdom of such a maneuver, heck, the world was never made worse by people doing everything they can to win. (Note: The world is in fact always made worse this way.) If the O's are going to hang in, they're going to need all the offensive firepower they can muster, so it might be handy if the guy they still owe $127 million to could start launching bombs again.

15. Willy Adames, Tampa Bay Rays
You can forgive Rays fans for growing a bit exhausted with the "when our stud prospects get here, it's gonna be a different story, you'll see!" game, but the waiting game for Adames, the No. 22 prospect in the game according to MLB Pipeline, may still be worth it. Not only does Adames have all the tools, he's one of those makeup machines, the instant team leader everyone is always looking for, particularly out of the shortstop position.

14. Kevin Gausman, Baltimore Orioles
Gausman is the next in a long line of talented Orioles starters to never quite put it together in Baltimore, and there is always the fear he will leave town and immediately turn into Jake Arrieta. Gausman was healthy all of last season, which means he's ostensibly Baltimore's ace, but his skills have never quite translated into top-tier success. Which means the rest of baseball is ready to buy low.

13. Rick Porcello, Boston Red Sox
When the Red Sox signed Porcello to a four-year contract extension before the 2015 season, they didn't think they were getting an AL Cy Young Award winner, any more than they thought they were signing a bust. The first two years of the deal, they've gotten both. Porcello led the Majors in wins in 2016, and losses in '17; that's pretty difficult to do. Somewhere in the middle would be just fine for Boston, particularly now that he's just a fourth starter.

Video: Stroman, Gibbons on Stroman losing arbitration

12. Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays
For all the talk of Stroman's unpleasant arbitration experience, there isn't much evidence that contentious arbitrations cause any sort of damage, short or long term. Good thing, because despite whatever they said in that room to Stroman, the Blue Jays desperately need Stroman to keep pitching like the ace he nearly was in 2017. It's almost impossible to see a way for the Blue Jays to contend without Stroman at least duplicating his '17 season.

Tweet from @MStrooo6: Just being real. Not mad at all. I???????????????????????????m aware of the business. Just opens your eyes going through the arbitration process. Second time going through it. Still love my team and the entire country of Canada. More upset that I had to fly to AZ and miss my Monday workout. Lol

11. Greg Bird, New York Yankees
It's funny to think that the young Yankees player everyone was excited about heading into 2017 wasn't Judge: It was Bird. After his horrendous start, he came on late, and the Yanks felt comfortable enough with him that they avoided any first-base free agent temptations. If Bird is fully locked and loaded, this lineup is even more terrifying that it already is. And if not: The Yankees will not lack for options.

* * * * *

Halftime break! AL East mascots, ranked!

1. The Oriole Bird
The name could use some work, but otherwise, the perfect Oriole color scheme makes for a perfect baseball bird mascot. He's such a pretty bird that we'll ignore that he's naked. (The other bird in the division is far more modest.)

2. Raymond Ray
Discovered by fishermen who noticed he was drawn to the boat by the smell of hot dogs, Raymond Ray looks a little like a character in "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou."

3. Ace
Blue Jays are actually quite aggressive birds, but Ace is pretty chill, all told. He does get points for being an improvement on the old BJ Birdy, who looked insane and had a redundant name.

4. Wally the Green Monster
All mascots are for kids, but I might humbly submit that Wally is maybe a little too scary for kids.

5. Unknown Yankees mascot
The Yankees famously do not have a mascot, though in a pinch, Justice Sonia Sotomayor would make a pretty great one.

Gif: Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in Judge's Chambers

* * * * *

10. Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees
Tanaka's peripheral numbers suggest that if he's not an ace, he's No. 2-starter material at least. He has a terrific K/BB ratio (the best on the team), and his season ERA was inflated by a dreadful May (8.42 ERA). Tanaka at his worst is still a rotation mainstay, and he is the one guy in the rotation who should be better but, in 2017, just wasn't.

9. Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox
In the 2013 World Series, when most of us were first seeing Bogaerts, it appeared we were looking at the next great superstar. It hasn't worked out that way, with Bogaerts never becoming that superstar -- and even taking a big step back in 2017, dropping to only 10 homers and losing 21 points in batting average. He's still only 25 years old, though, and the talent is still all there. If this is Bogaerts' breakout season, the Red Sox's lineup could be scarier than you think.

8. Roberto Osuna, Toronto Blue Jays
What was up with Osuna last year? He struck out 11.7 batters per nine innings. Osuna dropped his walk rate for the third straight year. He gave up only three homers in 64 innings pitched. Osuna had a 0.859 WHIP. Those numbers look totally dominant, right? So how in the world did Osuna blow 10 saves? If the results match the skills, the Blue Jays will have the ninth inning on lockdown.

7. Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays
Essentially the last man standing at this point, right? Now that the Rays' rebuild seems imminent, there's not much reason to keep Archer around, particularly when there isn't a team in baseball (save for Tampa Bay, apparently!) who couldn't use a cost-controlled ace who's also charismatic and fun. If the Rays want to fully restock their farm system, Archer and closer Alex Colome are surely the next (and maybe last) to go.

6. Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
One of the many enticing aspects of trading for Machado in the offseason -- as many, many teams tried to do -- was the sense that he's going to erupt in this, his contract year. Machado had an unfortunate 2017, but he still had his moments, and he clearly has talent to burn everywhere. He'll be at shortstop this year and eager to impress potential free-agent suitors. How long Machado is in Baltimore may depend on how long the Orioles can hang around the race; the minute those leaks trickle out about "the O's are listening to offers on Machado," this is instantly the biggest story in the sport.

5. J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox
All right, so now that he's finally here, now what? The long, slow, pained offseason seduction between the Red Sox and Martinez finally consummated this week, at a reasonable price for Boston and, of course, a fortune for Martinez. But there is an extended, sordid history of expensive free agents coming into Fenway Park and being eaten alive almost immediately; remember, the Red Sox will still be paying Pablo Sandoval $18.5 million next season. Martinez is no Sandoval, but Red Sox fans have a way of eyeing a new guy warily for a while when he shows up in town. The upside is obviously huge, but remember: They were mocking poor Jack Clark in The Town 20 years after he signed.

Video: Ian Browne discusses J.D. Martinez signing

4. David Price, Boston Red Sox
Speaking of big, expensive Red Sox free agents whom the town quickly turned on. Price is only two years into his $217 million deal, and he spent most of his 2017 either in the bullpen, hurt, feuding with Dennis Eckersley or being hissed at by Beantown faithful. Just five years to go! Price apparently isn't too sore about his time in Boston so far; he was one of the main ambassadors selling Martinez on the place. But he has an opt-out clause after this season if he wants to use it, but that would require exactly the sort of year the Red Sox were paying him for in the first place.

3. Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays
A little like Archer and Machado, but Donaldson's far more fascinating than those two. Unlike them, he:

A: Is beloved by the fan base and actively interested in signing an extension;
B: Has nevertheless been unable to come to terms on one;
C: Is on a team that has a chance to contend for an AL Wild Card this year;
D: Could still be dealt, even through gritted teeth, at the non-waiver Trade Deadline;

What are the Blue Jays going to do with Donaldson? Merely the whole next decade of the franchise might rely on the answer.

1 and 1a, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
It is a big story that one of these massive humans exist. It's a bigger story that they both exist. It's an even bigger story that they're on the same team. Now add to the mix that their team is the Yankees -- a club that seemed to have lost its swagger but now has it back a thousandfold. In retrospect, it seems inevitable that these two wooly mammoths are in the same lineup, in the Bronx, secured now to spend their most formidable years together. They're the primary reasons to hate the Yanks again, which, of course, means the Yankees are, once again and at last, completely unmissable. They're the biggest story in baseball this year, and one of the biggest stories in sports. Who doesn't want to see what happens here? I cannot wait.

Video: Judge, Stanton could lead Yanks to back-to-back mark

* * * * *

We finish this preview, as we will with all of them, with predictions. I apologize in advance because these predictions are guaranteed to be correct and thus I'm a little worried I'm spoiling the season for you.

New York Yankees: 92-70
Boston Red Sox: 90-72
Toronto Blue Jays: 82-80
Baltimore Orioles: 74-88
Tampa Bay Rays: 69-93

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.

Duquette on Moose, Lynn, Cobb & more

MLB.com analyst answers fans' questions about free agents, more
MLB.com

The free-agent market has started to pick up as Spring Training camps have opened, but many big names are still without a home. Here to provide some insight on that situation and more is MLB.com analyst Jim Duquette, who fielded fans' questions on Twitter at @Jim_Duquette on Tuesday.

Check out his answers below. (Questions have been edited for clarity.)

The free-agent market has started to pick up as Spring Training camps have opened, but many big names are still without a home. Here to provide some insight on that situation and more is MLB.com analyst Jim Duquette, who fielded fans' questions on Twitter at @Jim_Duquette on Tuesday.

Check out his answers below. (Questions have been edited for clarity.)

Where do you see Mike Moustakas ending up?
-- @Ben_Yoel

Already with fewer potential landing spots this year than he might have next offseason, Moustakas seemingly lost another suitor when the Yankees acquired Brandon Drury from the D-backs in a three-team trade Tuesday night. The move increased the likelihood that Moustakas will remain in the American League Central by signing with the White Sox, who have Matt Davidson and Yolmer Sanchez slated to man the hot corner in 2018, with '17 No. 11 overall Draft pick Jake Burger a couple years away from being a viable option. But don't count out the Royals -- the only professional franchise Moose has ever known. Although general manager Dayton Moore has said the club doesn't plan to pursue any other costly free agents after losing Eric Hosmer to the Padres, I wouldn't be surprised if Kansas City jumped back into the discussions.

Video: Richard Justice on Mike Moustakas' free agency

Do you think Corey Dickerson would be a good fit in Houston?
-- @Rpage51

A few teams will be interested in Dickerson after the Rays designated him for assignment, but the Astros might not be one of them. Houston has Evan Gattis at designated hitter and can play any of Marwin Gonzalez, Derek Fisher and Jake Marisnick in left field. The Astros also have one of baseball's top outfield prospects in Kyle Tucker waiting in the wings. Dickerson performed well against lefties and righties last season, and he is a better defender than many think, so teams shouldn't have qualms about playing him regularly. He's a good fit for the Braves, Pirates and Orioles.

Is anyone interested in Lucas Duda?
--@PJ_Buckley

As is the case with many free agents, the market for Duda has been slow this offseason. But with strong power (lifetime .215 ISO) and a strong grasp of the strike zone (career 11.5 percent walk rate), he could be a valuable piece for many lineups. The same goes for Logan Morrison, who is a similar player and has also had trouble finding a deal this offseason. Either would fit well with the Royals or the Rays.

Are the Orioles done, or will they sign Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb?
-- @wvwllw

The Orioles would like to find another starter after missing out on a chance for a significant upgrade by acquiring Jake Odorizzi from the Rays. They are one of a handful of teams still actively searching for rotation help, along with the Brewers, Nationals, Phillies, Dodgers and Rangers. The latter five clubs are more likely to pursue Cobb, Lynn or even Jake Arrieta, while the Orioles seem to be focused on pitchers from the next tier of hurlers, such as R.A. Dickey.

Video: Phillies and Arrieta are 'having a dialogue'

Who gets more playing time at first base for the Mets this year: Adrian Gonzalez or Dominic Smith?
-- @MJMets

At the moment, Gonzalez appears likely to receive more playing time early in the season. But in the end, I believe Smith will see more at-bats -- he's in much better physical shape than his veteran counterpart, and his struggles last September may have been related to fatigue, as he played 163 games between the Majors and Minors. Smith was never a big strikeout guy on the farm, so he should be able to improve upon last year's 26.8 percent whiff rate with more experience against big league pitching.

Jim Duquette, who was the Mets' GM in 2004, offers his opinions as a studio analyst and columnist for MLB.com.

Lindor on WS ring: 'We're going after it'

All-Star shortstop looks to get Tribe over postseason hump
MLB.com @MLBastian

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Francisco Lindor had not stopped thinking about the Indians' early exit from the October stage last season. The star shortstop still has a pit in his stomach at the thought of how close they came to winning the World Series two years ago.

This spring, one word is on Lindor's mind.

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Francisco Lindor had not stopped thinking about the Indians' early exit from the October stage last season. The star shortstop still has a pit in his stomach at the thought of how close they came to winning the World Series two years ago.

This spring, one word is on Lindor's mind.

"Finish," Lindor said. "I want to finish."

Indians Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule

That is what is driving Lindor this spring and what will continue to run his internal motor throughout the 2018 season. The Indians had a 3-1 lead against the Cubs in the 2016 Fall Classic, and lost. They had a 2-0 advantage over the Yankees in the American League Division Series last year, and lost. Lindor, and the teammates who were a part of those teams, do not want those defeats to define this group.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Lindor was asked about all that the Indians did accomplish last year. They won a second straight AL Central crown and ended with 102 victories, representing only the third time in the franchise's long, storied history that a team hit the century mark. The Tribe rattled off an AL-record 22 consecutive victories across August and September.

Lindor shook his head.

"When you don't win, that's what you remember the most," he said. "To me, last year was fun. We had a great year. But to me, it wasn't a successful season. I want to win. That's not a successful season, because we didn't finish. We were healthy and we learned a lot from what we went through in the season, and we're blessed. But, we didn't win. At the end of the day, it's a season you don't remember."

After the Indians were eliminated by the Yankees in October, Lindor took about a month off from his training. He said he did not watch any of the subsequent postseason games in full -- just an inning here or there. Lindor allowed himself to turn on the World Series a few times, if only to toss a few more logs on his internal fire.

"It's tough for you to live without baseball," Lindor said. "You definitely don't want to finish your season like that. I'm still hurt about it."

How hurt?

"It's like the girlfriend that you break up with. You never get over it," he said. "You turn the page, but you can't get over it. You always remember that she was there."

One of the highlights of last season came in Game 2 of the ALDS, when Lindor belted a grand slam that electrified Progressive Field and helped put the Indians in position to win that classic game, 9-8, in 13 innings. Lindor is quick to point out that it was just one of two hits he had in the entire series.

"We were nine innings from moving on," Lindor said. "I didn't perform and I didn't help my team."

So, when November came around, Lindor focused on his training.

He worked out with Hall of Famer Barry Larkin and a handful of current big leaguers, as he has in offseasons past. Lindor did some boxing each week. He lifted. He took batting practice and gloved grounders at his old high school, Montverde Academy in Florida. With every drill, he kept his mind on his ultimate goal of helping lead Cleveland to its first World Series title since 1948.

Lindor was the runner-up for the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 2015. He won both Gold and Platinum Glove Awards for his defense prowess at shortstop in '16. Last year, Lindor belted 33 home runs, piled up 81 extra-base hits and walked away with an AL Silver Slugger Award, and he was fifth in voting for the AL Most Valuable Player Award. He has been an All-Star in each of his two full seasons.

What Lindor really wants is to get fitted for a World Series ring.

"We ain't curling up, I guarantee you that," Lindor said. "We're going after it, man. We want to win. I want to win. There's no one here saying we don't want to win. Everybody wants to win and finish the thing."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians, Francisco Lindor

Hosmer, Trout and defensive-metric dilemmas

Eye test usually aligns with defensive stats … but not always
MLB.com @JPosnanski

Let's talk for a minute about defensive statistics. These tend to be pretty controversial among traditional baseball fans; people get ticked off when the numbers tell them something that conflicts with what their eyes tell them. The most famous example of this was Derek Jeter. Most people saw him as a good, possibly great, defensive shortstop, especially when he was young. The eyes saw all those awesome jump throws, the famous dive into the crowd, the famous flip play against Oakland and so on. Jeter won five Gold Gloves Awards.

Defensive numbers, though -- all of them -- suggested Jeter was a real liability at shortstop, a defensive couch potato who lacked range and cost his team a bunch of runs every year.

Let's talk for a minute about defensive statistics. These tend to be pretty controversial among traditional baseball fans; people get ticked off when the numbers tell them something that conflicts with what their eyes tell them. The most famous example of this was Derek Jeter. Most people saw him as a good, possibly great, defensive shortstop, especially when he was young. The eyes saw all those awesome jump throws, the famous dive into the crowd, the famous flip play against Oakland and so on. Jeter won five Gold Gloves Awards.

Defensive numbers, though -- all of them -- suggested Jeter was a real liability at shortstop, a defensive couch potato who lacked range and cost his team a bunch of runs every year.

Those defensive numbers made a lot of people mad. I wouldn't say it sparked an interesting argument, though, because most people who saw Jeter as a good, possibly great, defensive shortstop simply wrote off the numbers. The numbers were stupid. The numbers were ridiculous. The numbers were hurting the game. And so on.

Video: 1996 ALCS Gm4: Jeter's diving stop robs Ripken of hit

But here's the thing: With a few rare exceptions, advanced defensive numbers such as Fangraphs' defensive runs saved (DRS) or the now ubiquitous ultimate zone rating (UZR) actually match up very well to the eye test. We'll get to the exceptions in a minute. There is one huge exception -- I'll bet you can figure out who he is.

Here's what we did: Our own Tom Tango produces what he calls "The fans scouting report" every year, and you can find the leaderboard here. In it, he asks fans to rank players on seven fielding categories -- reaction, acceleration, sprint speed, hands, footwork, throwing strength and throwing accuracy. Then, based on the results, Tango creates a fans scouting report which he then puts on the same run scale as the above DRS and UZR.

So we compared them player for player from 2011-17. And in roughly 95 percent of the cases, the fans scouting report matches up stunningly well with DRS, UZR or both.

Let's repeat that: The eye test and the defensive numbers almost always are very close. Tango and I looked at the years 2011-17 to get a larger sample size, and the agreement between eyes and digits was pretty staggering. We've been led to believe because of a few examples that the numbers and the eyes see defense in entirely different ways, and it just isn't true.

Between 2011-17, Andrelton Simmons saved 96 runs according to you, the fans. UZR has him saving 99 runs.

Video: LAA@SEA: Simmons lays out to make spectacular catch

The fans have the excellent third baseman and now shortstop Manny Machado saving 80 runs defensively over that time. DRS has it at 81.

This happened over and over. The fans and the numbers match on Yadier Molina, on Nolan Arenado, on Dustin Pedroia, on Starling Marte. It works in reverse, too. Fans see Daniel Murphy costing his team 61 defensive runs over the seven years; DRS sees him costing his team 65 runs.

The numbers are not always that close, but in almost every case, the advanced numbers basically match up to what fans are seeing on the field. The numbers say a player is very good defensively, the fans see it the same way. The fans say a player is average defensively, the numbers see it the same way. Both almost always agree about a defender being below average.

So what about those exceptions? What can we learn from those? (Have you figured out yet who is, by far, the big one?)

It seems like we as fans generally underrate Mitch Moreland and Mike Napoli as first basemen. Fans rated Moreland as seven runs above average, while his DRS and UZR average out to 20 runs above average. Fans had Napoli as an average first baseman, while the defensive numbers say he saved about 15 runs with his defense. Moreland and Napoli are not particularly graceful athletes; it is quite possible that we underrate them because of that.

Video: PHI@BOS: Moreland makes a beautiful diving stop

Meanwhile, we generally overrate second basemen Brandon Phillips and Robinson Cano. Oh, both are good defenders by the advanced numbers -- 24 runs saved for Phillips, 25 for Cano -- but we see them as crazy good (72 for Phillips; 52 for Cano). Again, this makes perfect sense. Phillips and Cano are both so fluid and fun to watch defensively. They both make dazzling plays.

There are two center fielders who, compared to the defensive numbers, we pretty seriously overrate. One is, yes, Mike Trout. We as fans have him as a ridiculously awesome defensive center fielder, the best defender in the game, saving 42 runs over the seven years. The numbers have Trout much, much closer to average (4 DRS, -2.2 UZR).

This one makes perfect sense to me. We as baseball fans want Trout to be better than he is as an outfielder, just like we as baseball fans wanted Jeter to be better than he was as a shortstop. It fits our narrative so much better. Trout is the best player in baseball, he's already one of the five best players I've ever seen, and so I want to believe he is superior in every possible way. Fans rated Trout above Lorenzo Cain. There is no possible way, looking at any numbers that you want, that Trout is as good a defender as Cain. But we want to believe.

Video: KC@DET: Statcast™ measures Cain's four-star catch

The other center fielder who is widely viewed as way better than his defensive numbers is Baltimore's Adam Jones. The numbers say that Jones is a burden in center field. The fans consistently rate him as about average, perhaps a touch better than average. Again, this makes sense. Jones makes some great plays. He's a wonderful player. Jones is the face of Baltimore baseball. Fans aren't saying that he's a superior outfielder; they're saying, "Eh, he's not that bad." The numbers are a bit colder.

All of which leads us to the player who has the biggest gap between what the eyes tell us and what the numbers say. I assume you guessed him:

Yep, it's new San Diego Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer.

The fans have Hosmer as a great first baseman. They have him saving 28 runs over the seven-year period, which puts him in the realm of the best first basemen: Paul Goldschmidt; Anthony Rizzo; Brandon Belt and Adrian Gonzalez. The fans see Hosmer as a defensive star, and he has four American League Gold Glove Awards to match the reputation.

But the numbers show Hosmer to be a real problem as a first basemen, one of the worst in the game, minus-21 runs by DRS (only Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard were worse) and minus-29 by UZR (nobody was worse).

Hosmer is the only player in baseball who has such a vast gap between perception and what the numbers say. No other player has the fans seeing superstar while the defensive numbers calculate major trouble. What is it about Hosmer?

Well, it could be the numbers are wrong. Hosmer's greatest skill, by nearly unanimous opinion, is his hands. One theory is that he's as good as anybody in baseball at saving infield errors by scooping bad throws out of the dirt -- again and again people say that he saves 20 to 50 errors a year with the slickness of his glove -- and the numbers don't pick that up.

But is this true? Probably not. If Hosmer was really saving so many errors, wouldn't this show up in his teammates' defensive numbers? Wouldn't we be able to see this in, say, a substantially lower error total for third baseman Mike Moustakas and shortstop Alcides Escobar? But it doesn't seem like that's true. Escobar finished tied for the most in errors in the AL in 2012, when Hosmer was 22, and you would think at the top of his defensive powers, and he's been in the top five in errors two other times. Moustakas has been top five in errors as well.

And Hosmer has been top five in errors among first basemen five times. I don't like errors as a statistic and feel lousy for using it, but errors are useful here because they are part of the eye test. People who want to say that Hosmer's advanced numbers miss something have a harder time explaining why he makes quite a few errors.

Video: Hosmer joins Padres after finalizing eight-year deal

There are probably other ways to pick at the numbers, but realistically I think it's much more likely that the problem is that people simply (and wildly) overrate Hosmer's defense. That just makes much more sense. For one thing, Royals fans tend to see the group of young players that finally brought a World Series to Kansas City dreamily. As mentioned above, they probably overrate Escobar defensively. They also have catcher Salvador Perez (69 runs saved) well above his advanced defensive number (27). Hosmer was the most beloved player on one of the most beloved teams in baseball this decade, so that surely plays a part in the high rating.

And then there is Hosmer's style. He's just looks like a first baseman -- he's big, rangy, throws left-handed. When you picture a first baseman, you picture Hosmer.

The interesting question is: Will Padres fans, who will only now get to know Hosmer, see him that same way? Or will they judge his defense more the way the numbers do?

Joe Posnanski is a national columnist for MLB.com.

Eric Hosmer, Mike Trout

Cuban prospect Martinez granted free agency

Outfielder, 21, can sign with MLB club as soon as March 6
MLB.com @benweinrib

One of the top Cuban players is a step closer to signing with a big league team after Major League Baseball cleared 21-year-old outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez to become a free agent on Tuesday, MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reported.

At 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, Martinez has a promising combination of power and speed from the left side, and he can sign as soon as March 6. However, because he is under 23, he will be subject to international signing rules.

One of the top Cuban players is a step closer to signing with a big league team after Major League Baseball cleared 21-year-old outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez to become a free agent on Tuesday, MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reported.

At 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, Martinez has a promising combination of power and speed from the left side, and he can sign as soon as March 6. However, because he is under 23, he will be subject to international signing rules.

Martinez can sign before the current signing period ends on June 15, but depending on which team he chooses, he may opt to sign during the 2018-19 period, which begins on July 2. According to Sanchez, the Yankees, Rangers and Marlins are favorites to sign Martinez, and New York and Miami would likely prefer to wait until the next period.

Top 30 International Prospects list

The Rangers were finalists for Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani and had the largest remaining bonus pool to offer him -- most of which has gone unspent since he elected to sign with the Angels. Texas further bolstered its spending power by trading Minor League right-hander Miguel Medrano to the Reds for international pool money on Wednesday.

Teams may trade for up to 75 percent of their original bonus pool allocation to increase their offer for Martinez. But it's worth noting that 12 teams -- the Astros, Athletics, Braves, Cardinals, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, Nationals, Padres, Reds, Royals and White Sox -- cannot offer more than $300,000 this signing period after exceeding their bonus pool in the last two years.

Martinez earned spots on Cuba's 18U junior team in 2014 and '15. More recently, he played in the Cuban Serie Nacional during the '16-17 season and posted a .333/.469/.498 slash line with six home runs and 24 stolen bases in 61 games.

Martinez is considered to have the talent to start in Class A Advanced or Double-A once he signs with a team. However, his first assignment would depend on the team he chooses, and if they want to ease him into professional ball stateside.

Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. Follow him on Twitter at @benweinrib.

J.D. arrives at camp without official deal

Special to MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The official announcement of power hitter J.D. Martinez, and his much-needed bat for the middle of Boston's lineup, will have to wait at least another day.

After the 30-year-old free agent reportedly agreed to terms on a $110 million, five-year contract on Monday, he was seen walking into JetBlue Park just before 8 a.m. ET on Wednesday for his physical.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The official announcement of power hitter J.D. Martinez, and his much-needed bat for the middle of Boston's lineup, will have to wait at least another day.

After the 30-year-old free agent reportedly agreed to terms on a $110 million, five-year contract on Monday, he was seen walking into JetBlue Park just before 8 a.m. ET on Wednesday for his physical.

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A club spokesperson said just after 4:30 p.m. that there would be no announcement because the physical results were not in yet.

In the clubhouse, it looked like the spot for his locker was ready -- there was an empty one in between Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez's lockers.

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Left-handed pitcher David Price, Martinez's former teammate in Detroit, was gushing over the work the power hitter puts in each day.

"Him and Victor [Martinez] would hit all day long," Price recalled. "Victor was the DH and J.D. was right field. They'd get to the field early, hit in the cage and go out for BP. Then when BP was over, they'd go back to the cage and be in the cage again before the game.

"He takes a lot of swings. He's always working ... turned himself into a really good hitter."

Martinez wields the type of pure power bat the Red Sox missed so much in 2017 -- David Ortiz's first year in retirement. He belted 45 homers last year in just 432 at-bats.

His hard work has paid off after he was released by the Houston Astros in 2014. In the 520 games since Houston let him go, he has produced a line of .300/.362/.574 with 128 homers and 350 RBIs.

Boston's move to get Martinez was dictated by both finishing last in the American League with just 168 homers last season, and seeing the rival Yankees acquire Major League home run king Giancarlo Stanton in a trade from the Miami Marlins during the offseason.

"We're all excited to be able to add a hitter like that, especially in this division with the Yankees making a move themselves," Price said.

It's likely ramped up the rivalry, too.

Video: Benintendi talks Martinez's arrival to Red Sox camp

"I just know both teams are going to be really good," outfielder Mookie Betts said. "It seems like the rivalry is going to be like a slugfest on both sides."

Price also felt like Martinez will fit in fine into Boston's high-volume atmosphere of media coverage of the team.

"Yeah, he's got my vote. He's different than me," the lefty said. "We didn't talk anything about baseball. Me and J.D. have continued to be friends ever since we were teammates in Detroit. We've always continued to check in on each other."

And Price even offered some advice for his friend.

"Go play baseball. Go be yourself," he said. "Go be the hitter you've been since, I think, it was 2014 when he had that breakout season in Detroit. He's a great dude, he's quiet and is going to go about his business and he's going to hit a lot of homers for us."

Ken Powtak is a contributor to MLB.com who covered the Red Sox on Wednesday.

Boston Red Sox, J.D. Martinez

Cashman: Initial plan is to have Drury play 3B

Yankees GM, Boone excited to bring versatile infielder aboard
Special to MLB.com

TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees general manager Brian Cashman had D-backs infielder Brandon Drury on his radar for years. He was finally able to get his target, obtaining Drury on Tuesday in a three-way trade that also included the Rays.

"He is someone I think the industry has valued for a while because I know we have," Cashman said.

TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees general manager Brian Cashman had D-backs infielder Brandon Drury on his radar for years. He was finally able to get his target, obtaining Drury on Tuesday in a three-way trade that also included the Rays.

"He is someone I think the industry has valued for a while because I know we have," Cashman said.

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After hearing rave reviews regarding Drury from new Yankees third-base coach Phil Nevin, who coached in Arizona from 2014-16, Cashman ramped up discussions with D-backs GM Mike Hazen during the Winter Meetings. Once Hazen brought the Rays into the discussion about 10 days ago, the trade came together quickly.

As part of that deal, the D-backs received outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and Yankees pitching prospect Taylor Widener. The Rays received Yankees infielder Nick Solak, New York's No. 8 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, pitcher Anthony Banda, Arizona's No. 4 overall prospect, and a pair of players to be named.

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Drury was expected to arrive at Yankees camp Wednesday.

Cashman was extremely high on the prospects that he ended up having to part with, noting that he had previous talks with the Rays -- along with "about 10 to 15 other teams" -- regarding Solak.

"We gave up two players that we really liked," Cashman said. "I think both of these players have a lot of upside."

The 25-year-old Drury batted .267 with 13 homers and 63 RBIs in 135 games last season as the D-backs' primary second baseman. He has also logged time at third and in the corner outfield positions over his three seasons.

Video: How Yanks will deploy Drury, Andujar and Torres in IF

"Hopefully he is one of those guys we can help take another step and make even more of an impact than he has already been," manager Aaron Boone said.

In three years in Arizona, Drury compiled a .271 average with 31 home runs in 289 games. Drury has shown the ability to drive the ball to all fields, as he has proven with 68 doubles over the past two seasons, and can hit against both lefties and righties (.271 vs. .266). A jump in power numbers is likely as he continues to fill out his 6-foot-2, 210-pound frame and continues to improve on his average exit velocity (87.9 in 2017) for a third consecutive year.

"We believe there is some more gas in that tank," Cashman said. "Our pro scouts are really high on his potential to dream on a little bit, so we are going to dream on a little bit. At the very least, we are happy with where he is at and what he is capable of."

"I think there is power in there, which he has already shown at the big league level," Boone said. "But I think his athleticism will allow him to potentially take another step. This is a guy that has had success already, but hasn't had a regular role and I think he has that opportunity here."

Video: Hoch on the Yankees landing Drury in trade

Cashman said the initial plan is to use Drury at third base, where he played throughout the Minors, but because of his versatility and athleticism, plus what he could potentially do offensively, the Yankees would like to get him in to the lineup however they can.

"This guy has the ability to be more than just a quality everyday player," Cashman said. "He's got a lot of potential. He's established himself as a quality Major Leaguer and I know he has dreams to be even more."

Whether Drury sees more time at either second or third could also depend on the spring performances of rookies Gleyber Torres, who was an early camp favorite to win the keystone job, and Miguel Andujar, who was in line to take over at the hot corner. Torres, the team's No. 1 overall prospect, batted .309 in 23 games at Triple-A last season. Despite the addition of Drury, the team remains high on the 22-year-old Andujar after he hit .315 with 16 homers and 82 RBIs in 125 games over two Minor League stops last season.

"It just adds to the competition," Boone said. "It adds to the depth of competition that we want to create with our infield this spring. Nothing changes as far as Miguel Andujar is concerned for us. He's still going to have opportunities. There's still a level of competition still going on and I still feel great about the player."

J. Scott Butherus is a contributor to MLB.com.

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar, Brandon Drury, Gleyber Torres

Under-the-radar relievers who could break out

Who will be this season's Morrow, Knebel or Minor?
MLB.com @mike_petriello

A year ago, Brandon Morrow was an oft-injured non-roster invitee for the Dodgers. Chad Green was Minor League rotation depth for the Yankees. Corey Knebel was coming off a 4.68 ERA season and planning to set up for Neftali Feliz. Anthony Swarzak was a non-roster invitee coming off a 5.52 ERA. Mike Minor had thrown zero big league pitches since 2014.

They weren't notable names, nor were they expected to play big roles. Plus, if you're really being honest with yourself, you didn't even know who Blake Parker, Kirby Yates or Tommy Kahnle were. 

A year ago, Brandon Morrow was an oft-injured non-roster invitee for the Dodgers. Chad Green was Minor League rotation depth for the Yankees. Corey Knebel was coming off a 4.68 ERA season and planning to set up for Neftali Feliz. Anthony Swarzak was a non-roster invitee coming off a 5.52 ERA. Mike Minor had thrown zero big league pitches since 2014.

They weren't notable names, nor were they expected to play big roles. Plus, if you're really being honest with yourself, you didn't even know who Blake Parker, Kirby Yates or Tommy Kahnle were. 

If we'd put that list of names together in February 2017 and told you that they all would become extremely valuable relievers in the year to come, you'd probably have laughed, but that's exactly what happened. Minor, Morrow and Swarzak all signed multiyear free-agent contracts. The others had great years, several for playoff teams, and are being counted on for more in 2018.

So who will be next to break out? Here are some candidates to look out for in the coming season.

The former starters
Adam Morgan, Phillies
Tyler Lyons, Cardinals
Tom Koehler, Dodgers

As with Andrew Miller, Wade Davis, Brad Hand, Swarzak, Morrow and so many others before them, a good way to find a pitcher who can succeed in relief is to look for those who couldn't keep it together in the rotation, either due to health, repertoire or stamina.

Morgan was a formerly well-regarded prospect who missed all of 2014 after rotator cuff surgery, then he arrived in the big leagues with below-average velocity, throwing fastballs at 89.6 mph in '15 and 91.4 in '16. That didn't cut it; he had a 5.37 ERA working almost exclusively as a starter. In '17, Morgan became a reliever, and he started throwing 95, though the larger change was that he threw the fastball less and his good slider and changeup more. He ended up with a 63/18 K/BB in 54 2/3 innings, and by one major Statcast™ metric, he was a Top 20 reliever in the second half.

Video: ARI@PHI: Morgan whiffs Descalso, side in the 8th

Lyons has been kicking around the bigs with the Cardinals since 2013, usually as a sixth starter and swingman, and then he missed the end of '16 and start of '17  after knee surgery. When he returned, he was quietly very good, throwing his slider 51 percent of the time -- more than any regular lefty aside from Miller -- and striking out 68 in 54 innings with a 2.83 ERA.

Koehler was not good in 2017. There's no getting around a 6.69 ERA, which he had for Toronto and Miami, or a career 4.39 mark. But when Koehler arrived in Toronto, the Blue Jays made him a reliever, and he was much better. In 12 relief innings, he struck out 11 with a 3.00 ERA, flashing improved velocity and throwing more than 80 percent fastballs and curves after doing so just 60 percent as a starter. The Dodgers took a chance on Koehler with a one-year deal in hopes of him becoming the next Morrow.

The import
Chris Martin, Rangers

You probably don't remember Martin putting up a 6.19 ERA in 40 games for the 2014 Rockies and '15 Yankees, but that's OK; we don't either. Martin spent the past two years in Japan, and the numbers in 92 games were stunning: a 1.12 ERA in 88 1/3 innings. Of the 190 pitchers who threw 50 innings in Japan over the past two years, Martin had the second-largest gap between strikeout rate and walk rate. That was good enough for Texas, which signed him to a two-year deal in December.

The traded relievers you didn't notice were already good
Emilio Pagan, A's
Dominic Leone, Cardinals

Both pitchers were involved in trades this offseason, which tells you that their new teams saw something they liked. The A's picked up Pagan from Seattle for Ryon Healy, just one of a trio of new Oakland relievers, along with Ryan Buchter and Yusmeiro Petit, which is part of why we find the A's so interesting this year. Leone came to St. Louis from Toronto in the Randal Grichuk deal.

Pagan struck out 56 in 50 1/3 innings and did so with so many weak flies and popups that he was a Top 12 reliever by the primary Statcast™ quality-of-contact metric. Leone whiffed 81 in 70 1/3 with a 2.56 ERA; Buchter had a 2.89 ERA while striking out a batter per inning and finishing in the Top 30 by the same metric.

None of them are big names. None are All-Stars. That could change this year.

Video: BAL@TOR: Leone fans Trumbo for his first MLB save

The 28-year-old rookie
Kevin Shackelford, Reds

A 4.30 ERA from a pitcher who will be 29 in April and spent parts of eight years in the Minors before making it to the big leagues doesn't exactly scream "stardom," but that's exactly who we're looking for. Shackelford piled up some big numbers in his 30 2/3 innings, striking out 38, after putting up a 1.53 ERA and nearly 12 whiffs per nine innings in Triple-A. A few bad early games inflated the ERA, but when looking at his quality of contact, he was more like Chris Devenski or Cody Allen -- in a much smaller sample, of course.

The former high pick who just needs to stay healthy
A.J. Minter, Braves

Minter was a second-round pick in 2015, but he's thrown only 74 professional innings due to Tommy John surgery, a separate elbow strain and a groin strain. During the rare times he's been on the mound, however, he's been phenomenal, using his 96-mph fastball to whiff 77 in 59 Minor League innings. Minter then put up ridiculous numbers in a brief Major League stint last year: In 15 innings, he whiffed 26 and walked just one. Last year, 607 pitchers threw 10 innings or more. Only one had a higher strikeout percentage: Craig Kimbrel. That'll work.

Video: SEA@ATL: Minter earns his first Major League K

The mid-season 2017 callups you definitely don't know
Drew Steckenrider, Marlins
Trevor Hildenberger, Twins

Did you know Steckenrider struck out 54 in 34 2/3 innings, a Top 15 rate among relievers with 30 innings? Like some others on this list, he entered the pros as a starter, then missed a full year due to Tommy John surgery. In 2015, Steckenrider's final year as a starter in the Minors, he struck out seven per nine innings. Then in '16, his first year as a reliever, he whiffed 12 per nine innings. That carried over in the big leagues, and Steckenrider fits the profile of a dominant reliever in so many ways, from velocity (95.6 mph) to simplifying to a fastball/slider repertoire.

The sidearming Hildenberger has always been a reliever, but his calling card has been outstanding control. In 171 2/3 Minor League innings, he struck out 200 and walked just 26. Hildenberger doesn't throw hard -- just 88.8 mph, actually -- but because he gets grounders, misses bats and doesn't walk anyone, the outcomes have been good. He's also on that same Top 30 list, per Statcast™ quality-of-contact metrics.

Video: CWS@MIN: Hildenberger fans Anderson, side in 8t

Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast.

Gomez set to join Rays on one-year deal

MLB.com @wwchastain

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays wasted little time in addressing their void in right field, agreeing with Carlos Gomez on an incentive-laden one-year, $4 million deal, sources tell MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez. The Rays have not confirmed the report

A day after trading Steven Souza Jr. and four days after trading Jake Odorizzi and designating 2017 All-Star Corey Dickerson for assignment, the Rays were in a buying mood on Wednesday. Gomez will provide an intriguing power-speed combination to an outfield corner.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays wasted little time in addressing their void in right field, agreeing with Carlos Gomez on an incentive-laden one-year, $4 million deal, sources tell MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez. The Rays have not confirmed the report

A day after trading Steven Souza Jr. and four days after trading Jake Odorizzi and designating 2017 All-Star Corey Dickerson for assignment, the Rays were in a buying mood on Wednesday. Gomez will provide an intriguing power-speed combination to an outfield corner.

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Following Tuesday night's Souza trade, Rays GM Erik Neander said that the Odorizzi and Dickerson moves had been motivated by the team having depth at their respective positions, but Neander acknowledged that no such depth existed in right field. Thus, the Rays would be in the market for a right fielder.

Gomez looks like the perfect fit.

Tweet from @RealCarlosGomez: ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? New chapter, same hustle! #TheHustleNeverStops let's get it! #Blessed pic.twitter.com/d13n1oQe1z

The right-handed-hitting Gomez, 32, slashed .255/.340/.462 for the Rangers, with 17 home runs and 13 stolen bases while manning center field in 2017.

Gomez has spent the bulk of his Major League career as a center fielder, but that won't be the case with the Rays, who have American League Gold Glove Award-winning center fielder Kevin Kiermaier locking down the position. Clearly, right field looks to be Gomez's destination, with veteran Denard Span and Mallex Smith left to compete for the job in left field.

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Gomez is the only player to accrue at least 12 home runs and 12 steals in each of the last six seasons. However, he has played 150 games or more in a season just once in his career and has averaged 112 games per season since 2015.

The Rays have been able to cut significant salary in the last week with their series of moves. Gone are Odorizzi ($6.3 million), Dickerson ($5.95 million) and Souza ($3.55 million), with cheaper replacements in Gomez and C.J. Cron ($2.3 million).

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)

While he can no longer match his heyday production of 20-plus homers and roughly 35 steals, Gomez still warrants attention in deep mixed leagues after averaging 15 homers and 15.5 steals across the past two seasons. With the addition of the 32-year-old Gomez to a rapidly changing Rays roster, the speedy Smith will likely move to a reserve role and no longer merits a draft pick in mixed formats.

Video: Zinkie on 2018 Gomez fantasy impact with move to Rays

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays, Carlos Gomez

Mike Trout drove Shohei Ohtani around in a golf cart and the photo is wonderful

Spring Training just started, but we've already been blessed with some real gifts. Odubel Herrera showed off his amazing new hairstyle, AJ Ramos played reporter and grilled Michael Conforto, Hector Santiago made his own jersey for Photo Day with the White Sox ... the list goes on.

Over at the Angels' facility, much of the to-do so far has involved Shohei Ohtani, who arrived at camp and put on a show, throwing his first bullpen session and impressing Mike Trout with his hitting skills

Pence stays upbeat in face of uncertainty

Veteran outfielder moving from RF to LF in last year of contract
MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Fascinated by the mindset of a kid who was an incurable optimist, child psychologists locked the youth in a room full of horse, uh, waste. Pretty soon, the kid began burrowing through the filth. The child's explanation: "I figured if there was this much horse stuff, there had to be a horse somewhere!"

That pretty much summarizes Hunter Pence's approach.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Fascinated by the mindset of a kid who was an incurable optimist, child psychologists locked the youth in a room full of horse, uh, waste. Pretty soon, the kid began burrowing through the filth. The child's explanation: "I figured if there was this much horse stuff, there had to be a horse somewhere!"

That pretty much summarizes Hunter Pence's approach.

By various measures, Pence's performance for the Giants has declined markedly the past three seasons. His offensive WAR, a respectable 4.0 in 2014 according to Baseball-Reference.com, plummeted to 1.0 in 2015, settled at 2.2 the following season and dipped to 0.6 last year. His OPS of .701 and OPS+ of 86 in 2017 were career lows.

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Moreover, Pence faces potential distractions. His five-year, $90 million contract expires after this season, leaving his future uncertain. To accommodate Andrew McCutchen's arrival, Pence must move to left field, where he has never played in 1,510 games spanning 11 seasons.

And Pence is toiling for a Giants club that's coming off a 64-98 season.

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Pence typically regards such ominous, negative factors as so much ... well, horse stuff. He sounded thrilled about the potential that this season holds.

"We all put in the work this offseason because we want to make a change," Pence said. "We want to make the adjustment, and we're excited to get back together and get that opportunity. It feels good. It feels fresh to be here."

The challenge of moving to left field, where he must master strange acreage and unfamiliar barriers, doesn't faze Pence in the least.

"It's fun to kind of see a different angle," said Pence, 34. "It's going to be fun to go to all the ballparks and look at all the different walls. ... It feels invigorating to get the opportunity to do that."

Video: Giants welcome new additions to team

Pence has experienced this sort of change, though much time has passed. After playing primarily center field as a rookie in 2007 with Houston, he shifted to right the following year and has remained there since, with the exception of an inning in center for the Giants in 2014.

Pence reasoned that, to a considerable degree, playing left will resemble handling right. For example, in left, a pull-hitting right-handed batter will hook pitches foul, just as left-handed batters did in right.

"I don't think this transfer is as tough as moving from center to one of the corners," Pence said. "I think that's a lot different than going from a corner to a corner."

Tweet from @SFGiants: Time to get to work. @hunterpence | #SFGPhotoDay 📷 pic.twitter.com/XtHvGukLXy

Many Giants and most fans probably would prefer to forget 2017. Pence, who frequently sounds more like a philosopher than a ballplayer, considered it a source of growth.

"We have to make the adjustment and take the gifts that failures bring. The gift of fueling the fire," he said. "The gifts of working a little different, [paying] attention to the details, getting back to the grit and the work, and remembering what it was that we did to succeed."

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants, Hunter Pence

Angels acquire Blash from Yankees

MLB.com @mi_guardado

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels expanded their outfield depth on Wednesday by acquiring Jabari Blash from the Yankees in exchange for a player to be named or cash considerations. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, the club transferred Alex Meyer, who is recovering from right shoulder surgery, to the 60-day disabled list.

The Yankees designated Blash for assignment after acquiring Brandon Drury as part of a three-team trade with the D-backs and Rays on Tuesday. Blash is known for his immense power, but the 28-year-old has struggled to translate that skill to the Majors, batting .213 with a .675 OPS, five home runs and 66 strikeouts over 195 plate appearances with the Padres in 2017.

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels expanded their outfield depth on Wednesday by acquiring Jabari Blash from the Yankees in exchange for a player to be named or cash considerations. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, the club transferred Alex Meyer, who is recovering from right shoulder surgery, to the 60-day disabled list.

The Yankees designated Blash for assignment after acquiring Brandon Drury as part of a three-team trade with the D-backs and Rays on Tuesday. Blash is known for his immense power, but the 28-year-old has struggled to translate that skill to the Majors, batting .213 with a .675 OPS, five home runs and 66 strikeouts over 195 plate appearances with the Padres in 2017.

San Diego traded Blash to New York for Chase Headley in December.

Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Kole Calhoun are projected to comprise the Angels' starting outfield this year, with veteran Chris Young serving as the backup, so Blash is likely to open the season at Triple-A Salt Lake.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels, Jabari Blash