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Sunday 21st Jan 2018

paul goldschmidt full

 CATCHER: Probably in the market for a backstop to replace free agent Chris Iannetta.   Jeff Mathis is more of a defensive back-up while Chris Herrmann is coming off a season   where he hit .181, albeit with 10 HR and 5 SB. J.R. Murphy is in the picture, but doesn't   appear to be a regular.

 INFIELD: The corners are set with Paul Goldscmidt and Jake Lamb. Middle is in flux with   Brandon Drury, Chris Owings, Nick Ahmed and Ketel Marte in the picture. My initial lean   is Drury at second with Marte manning shortstop, but early drafters beware, this is a   situation that will flesh out in the spring.

OUTFIELD: Two of the spots belong to A.J. Pollock and David Peralta, though Peralta often sits versus tough southpaws while Pollock's durability isn't exactly rock-solid. The third spot is open, with J.D. Martinez hitting free agency. Yosmany Tomas is the top in-house option with Socrates Brito healthy.

BENCH: There's plenty of infield depth with Daniel Descalso capable of backing up everywhere. if Tomas doesn't win a job outright, he could spell Peralta on occasion.

robbie ray

ROTATION: The quintet ending 2017 line up to begin 2018, lead by Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray, followed by Taijuan Walker, Zack Godley and Patrick Corbin. Shelby Miller is in line for a return from Tommy John surgery sometime in the first half with Anthony Banda and Braden Shipley available if needed.

BULLPEN: Last year's closer Fernando Rodney is a free agent, clearing the way for Archie Bradley to assume the role, that's just speculation on my part. If another closer is brought in, Bradley is well worth drafting in all formats.

PROSPECTS TO WATCH: The cupboard is rather bare, especially at the top with no one knocking on the door to contribute in 2018. While he's not a prospect, someone to keep an eye on is first baseman Christian Walker, who crushed it at Triple-A Reno last season then impressed in a short September stint in the desert to end the season. Unfortunately, the 26-year old slugger is blocked by Goldschmidt.

POSSIBLE ACQUISITIONS: Look for the Snakes to bring in at least one, perhaps two productive sticks, with corner outfield and catcher being the likely destinations. They could also be in the market for bullpen help.

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