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BCB Mailbag #17: Hot dogs, calzones, and pancakes

Do you guys realize there are only 2 more of these before real baseball? Don't worry though. We'll keep it going into the season! But don't let that stop you from asking all the questions you have right now!

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

roguejim kicks us off again with this question:

"I'm making three assumptions

Anyone who has options left will be sent to AAA
Anyone we traded someone of value for and DOESN'T have options left makes the team.
We're keeping our Rule 5 guys
First, how likely is it that these three assumptions will hold?
Second, if they do, what camp battles are left to decide?"

Interesting question. Honestly I'm not sure what the answer will end up being. A week or so ago I'd have said the chances were very good that you were correct on all three counts. But at this point I have no idea who is going to win the center field job. I still think the smart money is on Kirk Nieuwenhuis. But Keon Broxton has been making a lot of noise. But they can keep both of them if they send Broxton to AAA and I'm less hopeful he can become a useful starter than a guy like Domingo Santana--who I also have reservations about. Another thing to consider is Broxton's AAA experience. He's only spent half a season at that level. I'm not confident enough about anything pertaining to center field, but my guess is Nieuwenhuis gets the job and Broxton goes to AAA.

One other position battle, if I can call it that, is for the bench spots. Yadiel Rivera has options remaining. But he's also the only guy on the 40-man roster that can play SS. History shows us that teams like to have a back-up shortstop on the bench. So that would seem to suggest Rivera stays up. However they're going to have at least one 40-man roster spot cleared before opening day--more on this in a bit--so it's possible Jake Elmore makes the bench. I think this only happens if they feel Rivera would benefit from more time at AAA. I'm not sure I see the value though, because he's defense first utility all the way. Might as well start learning that role now.

As for the Rule 5 guys, it's again tough to say. Unfortunately for reliever Zack Jones he's been hurt. He should get into game action soon. But they might not get a good enough look at him to decide if he's worth taking the risk. Under different circumstances I'd say they'd keep him regardless. But there are two relievers with out options in the mix: Ariel Pena and Sean Nolin. Only two of these three are going to make the roster. Either Jones gets sent back to his original team or one of Pena/Nolin gets put through waivers. They're going to risk losing one of them so they're going to want to make sure they're comfortable with the decision they make. That means the odds are stacked against Jones right now, because if they take him into the season and it turns out he just can't hang, then they might end up losing two assets. We are talking about relievers, but it's an added risk to consider.

As for the guys without options that we traded for that would be Jonathan Villar, Rymer Liriano, and Ramon Flores unless I'm forgetting someone. Villar is making it for sure. I thought Liriano had the inside track for center field. Now I'm starting to believe they just view him as a corner outfielder. That doesn't mean he won't make the team. But it makes it harder for him to develop in a bench role--though maybe that's just where they think his future forever home is. I think Flores has good chance of sticking. In fact I say it's next to a certainty. They've been trying him at first base which is interesting. If they think he can handle some time at the position, I could see them rolling with all three of these guys. The bench could look like this: C Martin Maldonado, 2B/3B Colin Walsh, 2B/3B/SS Yadiel Rivera, LF/RF Rymer Liriano, 1B/LF/CF Ramon Flores. Every base is covered and they get to keep Liriano/Flores in addition to Nieuwenhuis.

I think that answers your question. If not feel free to follow up in the comments.

AKBrewfan asks, "What, you've tired of my off-topic questions?"

I actually love the off topic questions. I just missed your question at the last minute. My bad! To answer "Which bear is best," after much though, I'm going with those Teddy Graham cookies.

drezdn asks, "Is a Calzone a sandwich?"

I'm with aaronetc, it's a pasty. Or like a pot pie kind of deal.

ThatOneGuy1337 asks the age old question, "Is a hot dog a sandwich?"

I believe Alton Brown confirmed it is indeed a sandwich and therefore I'm forced to agree. Though I do think it's equivalent to a culinary form of Newspeak to call it such.

tdgbp asks, "If it's called the International House of come you can't eat the walls?"

The only thing that's stopping you from eating the walls, is you!

Nuthatch asks, "With all the tearing down & trading away, at what point does the rebuilding start? Where do you draw the line and say ‘now we are collecting good players, instead of dumping our better ones'?"

I can't be certain, but I would expect around the 2018 season is when they stop trading major league assets--depending on the asset of course. But generally speaking, around 2018 is when they'll start to see a lot of prospects coming up and hopefully that's around when they'll start to become competitive again. They might still trade some major league assets--but it'll be a different equation at that point. They might be trading assets they don't need anymore because they have better guys knocking on the door. But a lot can change in two years, so it's hard to say definitively.