Ryan Hanigan will be the backup while Christian Vazquez, coming off Tommy John surgery, is ticketed to start the season at Triple-A Pawtucket. That's the plan as it stands now, just prior to spring training. Swihart was called up to the majors last season, slightly ahead of scheduled, and proved himself a competent hitter. There's still parts of the job defensively he needs to work on -- blocking balls is the primary area -- but the Red Sox feel he'll learn that skill with experience and practice. Long term, with two young catchers capable of playing everyday in the majors, the Red Sox can either trade one of them or move Swihart to a new position.
Myers played 22 games at first base and 42 in the outfield in an injury-shortened 2015 season. But after trading Yonder Alonso to the A's, there's no one substantially in the way of Myers at first base this year. The bigger concern is whether he's fully recovered from the wrist injuries that marred last year's season.
The notion here is that if the Orioles close the deal with Yovani Gallardo and forfeit their 14th overall pick, they might be more inclined to forfeit a lesser pick to upgrade their outfield. At first glance, such an outfield spot seems readily available.
The deal isn't official yet, as hangups include the possibility of an opt-out clause being inserted after the first or second year of the deal. But sources are calling a deal "highly likely" at this point. As Gallardo was tendered a qualifying offer by Texas, the Orioles will surrender their first-round pick to sign him.
Guerra hardly played in 2015, as he was issued a 50-game suspension for a positive performance enhancing drug test. In 2014, he threw 46.1 innings of relief with the White Sox with a 2.91 ERA and 7.4 K/9, and the Angels decided that recent success was worthy of an invitation to spring training.
After the Mets inked him to a one-year deal on Jan. 15, the organization changed course with the signing of Antonio Bastardo just a few days later, waiving Torres in order to open up a spot on the 40-man roster. It's unclear if Torres has received an invite to spring training with the big club, but his career strikeout rate of 7.9 K/9 could serve him well in the competition for a roster spot with the Braves.
After bringing in Storen over the offseason, he will compete with Roberto Osuna for the closer job. After Osuna saved 20 games for the Blue Jays last season, they still sought to improve their pen by bringing in Storen, who saved 29 games last season and saved 43 in 2011. This good be a lengthy battle between the two as both have the stuff and experience to close for the Jays, who should be considered the front-runners for the AL East.
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.
The acquisition of Storen in a trade with the Nationals in early January has added a layer of confusion for fantasy owners trying to determine the Jays' plans for the ninth inning to begin 2016. While Storen's experience may ultimately lead him to the job, Osuna proved capable of holding down the job and pitching at a high level upon arrival last season. Both players have the potential to finish as a top-10 closer if they can secure the job all season.
The left-hander was claimed off waivers from the Angels on January 29, but he'll already be sent off the 40-man roster in order to make room for the recently-acquired Taylor Featherston. He pitched well with the Pirates last season, posting a 1.13 ERA in 11 appearances. Unfortunately for the 29-year-old, it seems he'll either have to spend another season primarily in the minors or wait to be claimed off waivers by a team who needs another southpaw in the bullpen.