First reaction to the Dodgers trading AJ Pollock for Craig Kimbrel was justifiably noisy in the FantasyVerse. People had been touting Kimbrel and drafting him as a closer for months upon months and only recently began to count how many chickens they’d pre-counted as eggs in the White Sox arm barn. Now Kimibrel was officially a Final Boss on the winningest team in baseball and people wanted to crow, which I tend to think is for the birds. 

Next second, the internet turned to watch as all the Blake Treinen shares went poof into a fine powder. The phantom limb pains of those who’d just lost 30 saves could be felt everywhere around us. 

A few internet moments later, Gavin Lux sprinted into the spotlight, charging the Twitter stage like Will Smith to smack the shit out of all the haters who’d buried him during draft season. Like me. Only I’ve been burying Lux on lists since way back when he was just a hotshot kid in California, so I saw him coming and ducked out of there. My attention was elsewhere anyway. 

I tea-leafed this move as Los Angeles rolling out the red carpet for Edwin Rios, who leads the team with three home runs this spring, hitting .438 (7-16) with four walks and just one strikeout. He’s recovered well from the surgery that cost him 2021 and made himself an option at third base, first base and designated hitter. Justin Turner is 37 years old. Cody Bellinger has struggled for years. Chris Taylor and Gavin Lux can both cover center or shortstop. What I mean to say is nobody has to get hurt for Rios to play a lot. How many home runs do you think he could hit with ~400 plate appearances, mostly against right handed pitchers? The raw math has him around 15.3 PA per HR in his career, meaning he’d get 26.7 HR with 400 plate appearances. I’ll take the over if he gets the opportunity and was thrilled to land him at pick 488 in the 20-team Highlander Dynasty Invitational. 

Nothing is official, but I think Pittsburgh SS Diego Castillo has claimed a spot for himself in the opening day lineup, showcasing opposite field power and a plus approach, punctuated by five home runs and a 1.367 OPS. Gotta be careful when you’re on top. That’s when the Diego comes for you. If Castillo plays and stays hot, that could bump Oneil Cruz to left field or even (gasp) give the club a reason to delay the big man’s arrival. As always (yarrr), the Pirates could hornswaggle us all and continue to start Kevin Newman. 

Arizona DH Seth Beer has been playing some first base and is hitting .429 with one home run in 21 spring at bats. Shoulder seems to have recovered after he injured it to finalize his 2021. Maybe the snakes have something in mind that I’m missing, but I’ve written Beer onto my shopping list and drafted him at 393 overall in the Highlander Dynasty Invitational. 

The Reds already announced one big rookie breaking camp in RHP Hunter Greene, but the whisper mill suggests LHP Nick Lodolo is next. Wanna change the narrative around your franchise? Bring your guys up when they’re ready. Pretty simple stuff. You don’t even have to spend money these days. Fans are conditioned to reward teams for their thriftiest tactics, but they still want to see the Rookies right away, and I commend the Reds for their off-season moves. I liked the Suarez contract extension when they made it. That didn’t work out. They found a way to move on. Tyler Naquin is a good hitter, and now he’ll be out there every day. Seven years or so of Brandon Williamson might be well worth a couple Jesse Winker seasons, and this is how our brains work now. Good for them for moving that dead Suarez money. The grass is a little greener in Cincinnati today. 

The Angels dumped Justin Upton, which works well for OF Brandon Marsh and perhaps even Jose Rojas and 2B Michael Stefanic. They’ll eat about 28 million bucks just to wave goodbye, and we might wind up with a DH elsewhere suddenly blocked by a free Upton pick-up. 

Diamondbacks SS Geraldo Perdomo will open his third major league season as the starting shortstop now that Nick Ahmed is out. Perdomo could Wally Pipp this situation with a couple good weeks, and he probably should, given Arizona’s place on the win curve.

I just saw SS Nico Hoerner range deep into the hole and make a long jump-throw across the diamond to rob a hit, so I think his shoulder is feeling okay. Side note that’s not really a side note: this team is not good and should play Hoerner over Andrelton Simmons. They can dress it up with a Suzuki signing here and a Miley/Simmons/Villar poo poo platter, but you just can’t start Jason Heyward in centerfield and call yourself a contender. Today (Saturday) a ball bounced right off his glove. Regular line drive. Just in and out. I think he’ll be fine there, defensively, but holy cow is he lost in the batter’s box. Ildemaro Vargas and Frank Schwindel are over .300. Everyone else is under .200 in this lineup. Buy Clint Frazier and Rafael Ortega. I can’t see why they’d take either guy out of the lineup. Schwindel, too, is a real hiter. I don’t know if he’s gonna hit .300 forever, but he’s a tough out with good power, and I’ll bet he’s going to be a big leaguer for the next half decade or so. 

Thanks for reading!

I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter.