Josh Bell
Pirates' Josh Bell: Focusing on move to first base in 2017
Josh Bell, 1B, PIT
6:55 PM
News: General manager Neal Huntington said he's focused on deploying Bell at first base in 2017, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

After starting 2016 in Triple-A, Bell finished the season in the majors, slashing .273/.368/.406 over 128 at-bats while splitting time between right field and first base for the Pirates. Although he struggled on defense at times last season, the 24-year-old only began playing first base in 2014 due to Pittsburgh's outfield depth with Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polanco. In anticipation of Bell grabbing hold of the starting job at first base, the Pirates have kicked around the idea of moving John Jaso to third base. The move to first should only help Bell's fantasy value, as it now seems he could serve as an everyday player for the Pirates in 2017. Without having to worry about position changes, the switch-hitter could be poised for a breakout year at the plate.

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Wilin Rosario
Wilin Rosario: Re-signs in Korea
Wilin Rosario, 1B, COL
11:05 AM
News: Rosario will remain in the KBO after re-signing with the Hanwha Eagles, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reports.

There was a belief as the offseason began that Rosario might ink a deal to return to MLB, but he'll continue to provide pop in the KBO after swatting 33 homers and piling up 120 RBI in 2016.

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Richie Shaffer
Mariners' Richie Shaffer: Designated for assignment
Richie Shaffer, 1B, SEA
12/7/2016
News: Shaffer was designated for assignment by the Mariners on Wednesday.

A spot was needed for Chris Heston and Shaffer, whom the Mariners acquired via trade less than three weeks ago, was the roster casualty. He will now be subjected to waivers. A first-round pick back in 2012, Shaffer has posted a .783 OPS in two seasons at Triple-A but he's hit just .213 in 51 games at the highest level. Still, Shaffer is just 25 and may draw interest from a rebuilding club looking to take a flier.

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Hanley Ramirez
Red Sox's Hanley Ramirez: May not be full time DH
Hanley Ramirez, 1B, BOS
12/7/2016
News: Ramirez could still play some first base this coming season as part of a platoon with the newly acquired Mitch Moreland, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports.

While it was never stated as such, Ramirez was always seen as a replacement for David Ortiz as Boston's designated hitter. And now that Ortiz has moved on, Ramirez could easily slide into that role full time while Boston makes the lefty-hitting Moreland the everyday starter at first base. But not so fast. Having a classic left/right platoon at first base allows manager John Farrell to use the designated hitter spot as a way to take advantage of certain matchups and give his everyday players the occasional day off from the field.

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Mitch Moreland
Red Sox's Mitch Moreland: Gives Farrell flexibility
Mitch Moreland, 1B, TEX
12/7/2016
News: Moreland could be used in a platoon at first base, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports.

Moreland and Hanley Ramirez, who didn't kill Boston defensively at first as he did in left field the previous season, could form the platoon. The newly acquired Moreland would face right-handed starters and Ramirez could start against lefties. The platoon would allow manager John Farrell to use the now-available designated hitter spot to take advantage of certain matchups or keep players fresh. One can see Chris Young getting into the lineup more often against left-handed starters, or Dustin Pedroia getting a "day off" as the DH. We'll get a clearer picture of Moreland's projected usage in spring training, but be prepared for him to get fewer than 500 at-bats in a Boston uniform.

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Tommy Joseph
Phillies' Tommy Joseph: Everyday role in 2017?
Tommy Joseph, 1B, PHI
12/7/2016
News: GM Matt Klentak said as of right now the Phillies plan to enter next season with Joseph (wrist) as their regular first baseman, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Joseph, who suffered a minor wrist injury in winter ball, split time at first base with Ryan Howard last season, but Howard is now a free agent and the Phillies don't have any other first baseman on their roster. Signing a veteran first baseman to a one-year deal isn't out of the question, and if that happens Joseph could end up in a platoon. It seems more likely that the Phillies will give him a chance to prove himself as they figure out which pieces fit into their long term plans this season. Joseph also has to worry about Rhys Hoskins, who is coming off a 38 homer season at Double-A, and will be waiting in the wings at Triple-A next year.

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Chris Colabello
Chris Colabello: Elects free agency
Chris Colabello, 1B, TOR
12/6/2016
News: Colabello elected to become a free agent on Tuesday, Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.

After being outrighted off the Blue Jays' 40-man roster, it probably became clear to Colabello that he would have a better chance at earning big league at-bats in a different organization in 2017. He has a career .266/.322/.435 slash line against righties and just a .237/.304/.397 line against southpaws. That is not a very appealing profile for a first baseman/corner outfielder, so he is unlikely to enter next season assured of regular big league at-bats.

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Ben Paulsen
Twins' Ben Paulsen: Signs minor league contract with Minnesota
Ben Paulsen, 1B, COL
12/5/2016
News: Paulsen signed a minor league contract with Minnesota that includes an invite to spring training.

Paulsen hit just .217/.258/.304 for the Rockies last season. He spent most of his time at Triple-A Albuquerque where he hit .278 with a .765 OPS. The Twins have a logjam at first base and DH, so it's hard to see Paulsen adding anything other than minor league depth.

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Steve Pearce
Blue Jays' Steve Pearce: Signs two-year deal with Blue Jays
Steve Pearce, 1B, TOR
12/5/2016
News: Pearce (elbow) signed a two-year, $12.5 million deal Monday with the Blue Jays, Buster Olney of ESPN reports.

Pearce underwent surgery in September and was given an estimated recovery time of 4-to-6 months, but he is versatile defender after having played first base, second base, third base and the outfield over his time with the Rays and Orioles last season and managed to record .288/.374/.492 with 13 home runs and 35 RBIs despite the injury. Whether he will be able to return in time for next year's spring training or not is still in question, but look for Pearce to primarily contribute as a first basemen while providing depth in the outfield in Toronto.

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Stephen Cardullo
Stephen Cardullo: Non-tendered by Rockies
Stephen Cardullo, 1B, COL
12/2/2016
News: Cardullo was non-tendered by the Rockies on Friday, making him a free agent.

Cardullo's intriguing trajectory from four seasons in the independent leagues to the Rockies in 2016 took another turn as he hit free agency. He was solid enough in Triple-A during 2016, posting a PCL-inflated .308/.367/.522 for Triple-A Albuquerque, that he should at least be able to find another team needing minor league depth.

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