It is starting to be crunch time as the Majors begin to whittle down rosters, and we speed towards Opening Day and the draft season reaches its apex. Of course, players come and go, so we can bid adieu to Maicer Izturis, Randy Wolf, Willie Bloomquist and Skip Schumaker, who all announced retirements this week.
On the other hand, I have indeed been drafting in some pretty deep--24-team, 35-man rosters--leagues and coupled with a few late signings this week and since there is often survival linked to nabbing the correct floatsam and jetsam out of the free agent pool, here are a few more names of interest who could be cheap or undrafted and might even be of interest on draft day, or help over the course of the season.
Austin Jackson: Signed this week with the White Sox, Jackson is pretty much a similar statistical commodity to Avisail Garcia, Adam Eaton and Melky Cabrera at this point, and with DH open, all four should get plenty of time and at-bats. A crapshoot/afterthought before the signing, Jackson is actually a nice play in an AL-only format and a good fourth or fifth flychaser in a deep contest.
Kelby Tomlinson: Tomlinson will surely earn the utility spot on the team following his good .303-2-20 line last year when pressed into service after Joe Panik went down. Tomlinson has played a little third this spring and has enough stick to spell his infield mates with more stick than what the Giants bench has produced the past few years.
Coco Crisp: I noted last week that Coco is on a mission, and even though his spring totals are on the anemic side (.077-0-1), the Oakland management maintains Crisp is in great shape and determined to prove he is not nearly as through as last year indicates. Crisp has his eye on being the starting left fielder, although Khris Davis will clearly get his starts to keep Crisp as fresh as permits, but Coco is streaky, productive, and can still give you 10/10 in steals and homers or better. Right now, he fetches a bargain basement price, if that.
Alex Guerrero: In my scoresheet league, Guerrero was pick #786 out of 840 picks. For a guy on a Dodger team with some potential holes and questions as the season draws near--especially one who played in 106 games last year and hit .233-11-36--nabbing the utilityman that late is a steal.
David Freese: Freese signed with the Bucs this past week, but he has not really been much of a force since 2012. Now 32, injuries and age have relegated the third baseman to the role of afterthought. If I had to pick a bench guy in a deep league, I would go Guerrero and Tomlinson before I froze out.
Dilson Herrera: The Mets have so many veterans up the middle with the likes of Wilmer Flores, Asdrubal Cabrera and Ruben Tejada that the now 22-year- old Herrera is kind of lost in the shuffle. He will start the year in Triple-A most likely, but this kid is oozing with talent while Cabrera and Tejada are not much of a long-term position threat. Drop Herrera in your back pocket for future considerations.
Doug Fister: Coming off a rough season in Washington (5-7, 4.19), Fister is an Astro, with a chance to make the rotation. I do have to admit that I have never been much of a fan of the guy, despite his success. But now, as a cheap crap shoot on a team that is really good where maybe Fister is a fourth starter at best, things point to some success.
Arquimedes Caminero: The 28-year-old Domincan holds my favorite name this spring (how I wish I had a team with Caminero, Socrates Brito and Homer Bailey), but the 6'4", 245 pounder throws hard and did a more than credible 74.6 innings last year, striking out 73 while posting a 1.232 WHIP. I am a big fan of having a couple of solid strikeout producing set-up guys to plug in as necessary, and Caminero is the flavor of the month for me.