Two former Indiana baseball players are heading for a change of scenery which gives them a fresh start as spring training awaits.
While it is still the offseason for MLB, spring training is quickly approaching which means sooner rather than later, offseason additions will find out their fate with their new teams. For two former Indiana baseball players, new teams also means a fresh start.
After spending last year with the Oakland Athletics, veteran catcher Josh Phegley was signed by the Chicago Cubs this past week, joining forces with another former IU star, Kyle Schwarber. During his time with the A’s, Phegley appeared in 300 games with a .233 batting average and 27 home runs and 131 RBIs. Despite the fairly below average numbers, Phegley is coming off of his best year as a pro, when he made 90 starts and hit .239 with 12 homers and 62 RBIs.
With the A’s slowly getting younger, it made sense that the two parties would separate, and now with the Cubs, he is getting a chance to compete for a spot in the lineup. Currently the Cubs have Willson Contreras and Victor Caratini on the roster behind the plate, but there have been multiple rumors around the possibility of a Contreras trade. If so, Phegley could see significant time as a tandem catcher with Caratini if he can become a bit more of a consistent defensive catcher, something he has struggled with at times.
As for the second former Hoosier on the move, Sam Travis is getting another shot to rejuvenate his career after stalling a bit over the past few seasons. The six-year pro has spent his entire career thus far with the Boston Red Sox, but was traded to the Texas Rangers last week.
Travis was on the Opening Day roster for the first time for the Red Sox last year and appeared in a career-high 59 games, hitting .215 with six home runs and 16 RBIs. What could help Travis see more time is his ability to play multiple positions, as he made 20 starts at first base and 11 in left field last year.
The Rangers also signed veteran Todd Frazier, whom they plan to play at third base, giving way for Travis to earn time at first. With Ronald Guzman projected as the starter as of now, his regression was glaring as his batting average dropped 20 points to .219 in 87 games last year.
Both the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers report to Spring Training on Feb 17.