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Sunday 17th Dec 2017

I am just back from time at our mountain house, where as I have noted we have no television or radio. We do have Internet, but that is all.

So, I can write, and track scores, but I don't listen to games and certainly don't watch any. Mostly, I look at the trannies and the box scores and that is it, so it was weird to come home on Sunday and while looking at the day's boxes, see that there were six shutouts.

That's pretty good and fun in a week that features a lot of anticipated stars, but let's start with Roenis Elias, Seattle's new flash who tossed one of those sets of goose-eggs for his first Major League complete game, whiffing eight, allowing just three hits and a walk, bringing his season totals to 4-4, 3.41 with 65 whiffs over 76 innings, with 27 walks. Elias did get clubbed around his last start (five runs, eight hits over 6.3 innings) but he is exactly the kind of arm I would target right now if you need to take a chance: enough starts to get the hang of the Show as the warm weather arrives.

Switching to less mundane things, the Cards' Oscar Taveras was finally given a shot, and he homered his first game, against the Giants. And, I am not so sure what I can tell you that you don't already know? .321-52-315 minor league line over 423 games with an .896 OPS. Matt Adams' injury cleared the path for Taveras, but rest assured, now that he is here, he isn't going anywhere but in the lineup every day. Taveras is the NL's answer to George Springer this year. At least so far. If you can grab him, do.

Just as interesting, not quite so marquis, is the Braves' new second sacker Tommy La Stella, who has a .322-21-167 line with 63 doubles and 34 minor league steals. La Stella has a great eye with 136 walks to 102 whiffs, good for a .407 OBP over 288 games. La Stella will never hit with the power of Dan Uggla, whom he replaces, but at least he will get on base and score some runs and cause some grief on the basepaths. I have to think that is of more value.

One additional exciting promotion--albeit temporary--was the one-day visit of the Red Sox Garin Cecchini. A fourth-round pick of Boston in 2010, Cecchini is another youngster who can take a walk (192 walks to 235 strikeouts, and a .408 OBP) and a .307-15-167 line over 329 games. Boston might have to make some decisions with Brock Holt as Stephen Drew is back at shortstop, pushing Xander Bogaerts to third (and Cecchini back to Pawtucket). Short term, Holt will be filling in at first base as Mike Napoli, Mike Carp and Ryan Lavarnway are all on the disabled list – Spinal Tap anyone? Cecchini’s development may make Will Middlebrooks deadline trade bait. If Cecchini’s short recall makes him eligible in your league, he’s worth a stash as he should be pretty good in a Kevin Youkilis way.

Should you be jonesing for some speed, the Mariners just revived the career of Endy Chavez. Well, at least that is how we thought of Chavez, who swiped 18 in 2003 and 32 in 2004 for Montreal, but just 47 since including just one last year over 97 games and 266 at-bats (.267-2-14 with a .298 OBP). He might be a vet, but pass.

The Phils promoted big (6'7" 260 pound) Phillippe Aumont, the Mariners' first-round pick in 2007, who was then swapped in exchange for Cliff Lee in 2009. Aumont is a reliever, but he could slowly move into the closer role (he notched a pair last year) as Jonathan Papelbon ages. Aumont earned 43 saves over seven seasons in the Minors with 429 whiffs but with 240 walks and a 1.512 WHIP. He is worth keeping an eye on for future considerations, but not much more.

Yes, that is the same Dana Eveland the Mets promoted who pitched for the Orioles and Athletics and Brewers and Pirates and Dodgers and Diamondbacks over his past 11 professional years and eight Major League seasons. Eveland is still just 30, believe it or not, but I would not count on some form of Scott Kazmir-like transmogrification into a decent starter. Left-handed situations are about as much as I would trust him with at most. Kind of a Jamey Wright type, with a career mark of 19-25 over 392.6 innings, with a 5.46 ERA and 1.66 WHIP. I may like looking at vets to help plug roster holes, but this is where I stop.

I have always liked the Orioles' Francisco Peguero, who was originally signed by the Giants in 2005 out of the Dominican Republic. Peguero has a pretty good .307-36-359 stat line over 706 games. The problem for Peguero is 111 walks to 502 strikeouts and a .338 minor league OBP. That has not translated into any kind of big league anything, but Peguero could have a hot streak that could help in an AL-only setup.

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