FRIARS ACQUIRE CARLOS BELTRAN
St. Francis, looking for outfield depth, has obtained veteran flychaser Carlos Beltran from last year's most improved club, the New England Yankee Stompers. At age 35, Beltran managed to avoid any extended absences due to injury and hit .284 with 20 HR and 88 RBI for a club that came within one game of winning the league title in 2012. But, with a big contract and a need to rebuild their club, New England felt it was probably better to move Beltran now while his value was up.
To obtain Beltran, St. Francis parted with defensive whiz Hak-Ju Lee, who draws comparison with (among others) Cesar Izturis and Ozzie Guillen for the way he takes charge on the infield. Lee could be New England's starting shortstop by 2014 if he continues his development with the bat, but with the Friars having obtained veteran SS J.J. Hardy (still only 30 and with plenty of pop) to back up incumbent Alexei Ramirez, and with free agency still to play out, this move made some sense for the Friars.
FARM SYSTEM READY TO CONTRIBUTE?
So far, not so much. The parent club has added veterans on the long side of 30 this off-season, and has yet to either trade for or develop the ace starter the rotation needs to move into the upper-tier of BARB clubs.
So far, the vaunted list of phenom pitchers hasn't made a dent in the parent club's decisions. In the last 48 hours, Danny Hultzen, Casey Crosby and ultra-phenom Dylan Bundy have all been notified they will open the year at AAA. Shelby Miller still has an outside chance of breaking camp with the Friars, but so far it's been a quiet spring without a lot of battles.
But then there's this kid. He's got no chance of making the roster barring an unbelievable run of injuries. But the bat speed, the wrists have people talking about Javier Baez, who has drilled four no-doubt bombs in the last two days: