The infield saw the most overhaul of any position group at the meetings. Three Opening Day starters from 2017 were traded to various teams. Hernandez was sent to the Angels, Joseph to the Indians, and Rupp to the Pirates.
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All of these moves were motivated by logjams at their various positions. Hernandez was the easiest to trade of the middle infielders and fetched a decent return. There were better options behind the plate in Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp, so Rupp was expendable. The same thing happened to Joseph at first base as Rhys Hoskins stole the show in the last two months of the season.
On Opening Day, J.P. Crawford and Freddy Galvis should be the starters up the middle with Pennington, Jesmuel Valentin, or Pedro Florimon backing them up. This will allow No. 3 prospect Scott Kingery to get his feet wet in Triple-A before (hopefully) coming up to the majors midseason. The team will still have to find someone as a backup first baseman, but those aren’t hard to find.