The veteran, who is entering the final year of his contract in 2017, feels as if he's in a much better position than he was at any time last season. Peralta's thumb, which required surgery that sidelined him until June, never fully healed until the offseason, when a prolonged stretch of rest finally did the trick. Upon his return last season, he faced a considerable challenge in the field, where he was being asked to play third base for the first time since the 2010 campaign with the Indians. With Aledmys Diaz now the full-time shortstop, Peralta had the luxury of going into this past offseason knowing that he could take all of his practice reps at third base, a position which he's expected to compete with Jedd Gyorko for this spring. The Cardinals feel that the hot corner is a better fit at this stage for the soon-to-be 35-year-old, considering it requires less overall range, and also feel that Peralta's bat still has plenty to offer. After a ragged start that included a .233 average over his first 103 at-bats, Peralta bounced back after the All-Star break to slash .274/.325/.403 over his final 186 trips to the plate.
As manager Joe Maddon put it, he wants Baez to cut down on the "chrome" and focus on making all the routine plays. Maddon added that Baez "has a flair about his game, so I don't necessarily want to subtract that. But just have him understand the routine stuff has to be made routinely well." The 24-year-old often makes amazing plays in the field, but he's still fairly error-prone at this point (see the two errors he made in Game 7 of the World Series). For Baez to grab an everyday role at second base, he'll have to show more day-to-day consistency.
The throwing session marks another significant milestone in Wright's recovery from his June 2016 neck surgery. The veteran third baseman began taking batting practice last week, as well. Though his rehab is progressing, his overall health entering the 2017 season still remains in question.
Manager Terry Collins explained how the PRP injection was always a planned part of Wright's rehab, expected to happen right before he began his throwing program. He is still recovering from neck surgery last June, and hopes this will help him overcome the last hurdle in his return to playing. Even if he begins throwing this shortly, it will be a slow and unsure return for the veteran.
With Curtis Granderson and Lagares still on the roster, Reyes isn't likely to see much regular season action in center field, but the Mets are exploring every possible avenue to get his bat into the lineup and into the leadoff spot. Given David Wright's ongoing back and neck issues, though, expect most of Reyes' playing time to come at third base in 2017, with occasional starts at shortstop and second base as well.
The Giants signed their 2016 postseason cult hero to a one-year deal this offseason with the plan to have him backup Eduardo Nunez in mind. The fact that he is left-handed gives him an edge over his competition so that manager Bruce Bochy can give him spot starts when a righty is on the mound. Evans noted that Gillaspie will still have to earn the job this spring over other third base options such as the recently-signed Aaron Hill or Korean Baseball Organization All-Star Jae-Gyun Hwang.
Baez's versatility in 2016 was a big boon for the Cubs, but second base is his best position, and it's possible he becomes an everyday player there sometime in 2017. "Obviously, when I get my years in the big leagues, I want to have my own spot," Baez said. Ben Zobrist is in the mix at second as well, but he'll likely spend time platooning with Kyle Schwarber in left field.
The 29-year-old spent the latter part of 2016 as the Giants everyday third baseman, although it's interesting to hear this nugget from Bochy given the fact that former-All Star Brandon Crawford is expected to eat up the bulk of the innings at that position. Nonetheless, this could help to boost Nunez's value if he can amass enough games there, especially given the expansive talent pool across the league at the hot corner.
Although Wright is still recovering from neck surgery that he underwent last June, the 34-year-old expects to be ready to be New York's Opening Day third baseman. Despite being a two-time Gold Glove winner, the Mets' captain has posted a negative-8 defensive runs saved in each of his past two seasons, leaving the door open for an eventual position change. However, the third base position appears to remain his to lose at this point.
The Mets DFA's Kelly to make room for recently signed reliever Jerry Blevins, and after he cleared waivers they outrighted him to Triple-A and invited him to camp. However, it's unlikely he'll crack the 25-man roster, with Wilmer Flores and Jose Reyes occupying the utility spots ahead of him. He'll likely start the season as organizational depth at Triple-A.