Brandon Belt
Giants' Brandon Belt: Agrees to one-year contract with Giants, avoiding arbitration
Brandon Belt, 1B, SF
2/10/2016
News: Belt and the Giants agreed to a one-year contract, avoiding arbitration, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Belt bounced back nicely last season with a .280 batting average, an .834 OPS, and 18 home runs. Now that his contract situation is out of the way, he can return to being an above-average fantasy option at first base, assuming he can replicate his 2015 numbers.

Analysis: 

Travis Ishikawa
White Sox's Travis Ishikawa: Signs with White Sox
Travis Ishikawa, 1B, PIT
2/9/2016
News: Ishikawa agreed to a minor league deal with the White Sox on Tuesday which includes an invite to spring training, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Ishikawa had previously agreed to a similar deal with the Mariners less than a month earlier, but it ultimately fell through before becoming official. The 32-year-old hit just .206/.306/.302 in 44 games in the big leagues last season and the White Sox appear to be set with first base depth, so it's unlikely he cracks the Opening Day roster out of spring training.

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Jonathan Mota
Cubs' Jonathan Mota: Signs minor league deal with Cubs
Jonathan Mota, 1B, CHC
2/2/2016
News: Mota signed a minor league contract with the Cubs, according to Baseball America.

The 28-year-old will return for his 12th season in the Cubs' organization, providing defensive versatility but little else. Mota saw time at six different positions for Triple-A Iowa last year but hit .252/.297/.346 with two steals in 252 plate appearances. He has hit .266/.302/.392 in parts of five seasons at the Triple-A level.

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Jesus Guzman
Cubs' Jesus Guzman: Will join Cubs at spring training
Jesus Guzman, 1B, CHC
1/29/2016
News: Guzman received an invitation to big league spring training Friday.

One of the older non-roster invitees to Cubs spring training, Guzman also has a fair amount of MLB experience under his belt, but hasn't played ball since 2014. The veteran will look to make his mark during spring training, but it would likely take a lot for him to make the club out of spring training.

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Freddie Freeman
Braves' Freddie Freeman: Takes Some Cuts
Freddie Freeman, 1B, ATL
1/25/2016
News: Freeman (wrist) took 30 "dry swings" and hit 25 balls off a tee Thursday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. "Nice to finally swing a bat with no pain after seven months," he said.

Freeman's wrist problems date back to about June of 2015, so you'll want to track his health carefully during the walk-up months to the fresh season. He also has to deal with a mediocre Atlanta supporting cast; the Braves could easily have the worst offense in the National League.

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Lucas Duda
Mets' Lucas Duda: Agrees to deal to avoid arbitration
Lucas Duda, 1B, NYM
1/22/2016
News: Duda agreed to a one-year, $6.275 million contract with the Mets on Friday, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports.

Duda posted another consistent season in 2015, notching 27 home runs over 471 at-bats while hitting .244/.352/.486. While there's a chance he won't have Yoenis Cespedes in the middle of the order with him again in 2016, there's no reason to believe the 29-year-old won't post another solid campaign in 2016.

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Tommy Medica
Marlins' Tommy Medica: Outrighted, invited to spring training
Tommy Medica, 1B, MIA
1/21/2016
News: Medica was outrighted to Triple-A New Orleans on Thursday, but he still holds an invite to the Marlins' major league spring training, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports.

After going unclaimed on waivers, Medica will join the Marlins' Triple-A affiliate in New Orleans but he will have a chance to make the big league club out of spring training. Medica has put his best foot forward in previous spring training stints with the Padres and very nearly made their Opening Day roster a year ago, so he could be a sleeper to keep an eye on once camp opens.

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Darin Ruf
Phillies' Darin Ruf: Decision regarding platoon at first base will be made this spring
Darin Ruf, 1B, PHI
1/20/2016
News: Manager Pete Mackanin said Ryan Howard, who platooned with Ruf at first base toward the end of last season, will need to show improvement against left handed pitchers this spring to avoid entering the season with the same arrangement, CSN Philadelphia reports.

Howard hit just .130 with a .418 OPS and 40 strikeouts against lefties last season. It seems unlikely that Howard will finally overcome his difficulties with lefties this spring. A more likely scenario has Howard opening the season in a platoon with Darin Ruf, who hit .371 with 8 home runs and a 1.107 OPS against lefties last season. Ruf could also earn at-bats against right handed pitching if Howard struggles or if the team decides to bench him more as he heads toward free agency after the 2016 season.

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Ryan Howard
Phillies' Ryan Howard: Needs to show improvement against lefties this spring
Ryan Howard, 1B, PHI
1/20/2016
News: Manager Pete Mackanin said Howard (knee) will be platooned at first base if he does not show signs of improvement against left handed pitchers this spring, CSN Philadelphia reports.

Howard hit just .130 with a .418 OPS and 40 strikeouts against lefties last season. It seems unlikely that Howard will finally overcome his difficulties with lefties this spring. A more likely scenario has Howard opening the season in a platoon with Darin Ruf. That would continue the approach Mackanin took starting last August. Ruf hit .371 with 8 home runs and a 1.107 OPS against lefties last season.

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Dominic Smith
Mets' Dominic Smith: Receives spring training invite
Dominic Smith, 1B, NYM
1/15/2016
News: Smith (oblique) received a spring training invite from the Mets, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports.

Smith, whose Arizona Fall League campaign was cut short due to an oblique injury, was the 2015 Florida State League MVP. He slashed .305/.354/.417 with six homers and 79 RBI in 118 games to earn the honor. Smith's power production is the main question about his game, but he showed some signs of breaking out last year and the belief is that he should end up as a 15-20 home run hitter at a minimum.

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