05 Nov

for pondering

As major league baseball slips into its “off-season,” here are a few Mississippi-related things to ponder over the coming weeks:
1. Where will Mitch Moreland land? The former Mississippi State standout, who has been with Texas his entire career, is a free agent. A good-fielding first baseman with left-handed power (110 career home runs), he should have plenty of suitors, including the Rangers.
2. Will Jonathan Papelbon find a new team? The ex-State star, released in August by Washington, remains a free agent. His numbers from 2016 (19 saves, 4.37 ERA) weren’t bad, but he is about to turn 36 with a lot of miles on his arm. And there’s that other stuff.
3. How will Lance Lynn’s comeback go? The Ole Miss product, who had Tommy John surgery last November, pitched a handful of innings in the minors in 2016 but was never activated by St. Louis. The Cardinals need a good year from the 29-year-old Lynn, who has a 61-39 career record.
4. Is Hunter Renfroe ready for duty? The former State star looked great during his late call-up with San Diego, batting .371 with four homers and winning a National League player of the week award. The expectations will surely ramp up heading into next season for a Padres organization that hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2006.
5. Can Brian Snitker keep Atlanta on the right track? The former Mississippi Braves manager, a really good guy who has been in the Braves’ organization since 1977, steered the team to a 37-35 record after the All-Star break. “Snitker is baseball’s version of the guy who started in the mail room and became chairman of the board,” wrote Baseball America’s Tracy Ringolsby. It feels like Atlanta made a good choice for 2017.
P.S. Mississippians Chris Stratton (Mississippi State) and Anthony Alford (Petal High) are slated to play in tonight’s Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game, which will be televised by MLB Network at 7 p.m.

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