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Baseball's sterling sophomore class isn't the only thing people will be talking about during spring training. Here are the six things likely to be overheard in Florida and Arizona during the next six weeks.
MAKE ME AN OFFER.
There could be an unusual amount of trade activity as a number of teams address roster imbalances. After signing Michael Bourn last week, the Indians have four starting outfielders but holes in their rotation. The Diamondbacks have seven big-league-ready starters. The Rays, as usual, are pitching heavy and hitting light. The Reds, the NL Central favorites, don't have a major-league-caliber centerfielder—they're wish-casting Shin-Soo Choo into the role—and the Yankees lack a catcher. The free-agent market is picked clean, so during camp G.M.'s will have to fill gaps the old-fashioned way.
IS THIS WHERE I SIT?
A year after Mike Matheny (Cardinals) and Robin Ventura (White Sox) had great success as managers with no previous major league experience, the Rockies hope to follow suit with new skipper Walt Weiss, last seen coaching a high school team in Aurora, Colo. Two other managers will be running their first big league camps: Bo Porter with the Astros and Mike Redmond with the Marlins.
IS ANYONE HERE A DH?
Porter has his work cut out for him: After 51 years in the NL, the lowly Astros (107 losses last year) are now in the high-rent AL West. For Houston, this spring—the whole season, really—is about grooming young talent. But an immediate challenge is finding a designated hitter, no easy task for the team with the second-worst OPS in baseball last year. The leading in-house candidate: Chris Carter, who hit 16 home runs in 218 at bats for the A's in 2012.
The Yankees' camp looks like a rehab facility for the aged. Derek Jeter, 38, is coming back from left-ankle surgery. Mariano Rivera, 43, is trying to return from a torn right ACL. CC Sabathia, 32, is recovering from arthroscopic left-elbow surgery. Alex Rodriguez, 37, isn't even in Tampa—he's staying away as he works his way back from left-hip surgery and another p.r. disaster. Michael Pineda, 24, is trying to return from right-shoulder surgery and make his Yankees debut more than a year after being acquired from the Mariners. And Brett Gardner is working back from a strained right elbow suffered last April, which cost him all but 16 regular-season games in 2012.
NO, LET ME GET THE CHECK.