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Yandy Diaz could be an impact bat in 2017

Morning news and notes for Monday, December 19, 2016.

Joe Sentry

Here’s to a week full of Holiday cookies, hassle-free traveling, and plenty of goodwill!

Indians still searching for a hitter — so what about Yandy Diaz?

The Indians are still picking through the free agent market to find a hitter. Prospect Yandy Diaz probably won't replace Mike Napoli's 34 homers and 101 RBI, but he might help fill the void. From Paul Hoynes:

But let's say they don't find this year's version of Napoli. Could Yandy Diaz help fill that role? Could he step in and make the club as a right-handed hitting DH, while playing some third base and the outfield?

"We think about everything," said GM Mike Chernoff, during the winter meetings, when asked about Diaz. "Our focus is to just put the best team out there that we can. We'll see where we are in spring training.

"I would imagine Yandy, from where he is, will have opportunities; whether it's to start the season or at some point during the season. Whenever that opportunity is there we hope he'll take advantage of it." []

Tribe awarded fourth option year on infielder Erik Gonzalez

Good news here for the club, as this gives the club more flexibility with the talented utility man. []

Ryan Howard training to become ‘superhuman that happens to play baseball’

Don’t count out the slugger just yet. Howard, who hit 25 home runs in just 362 plate appearances, is working out like a madman to extend his career. [Yahoo Sports]

Why free agents like Jose Bautista, Mark Trumbo, and Edwin Encarncion have yet to sign

Pitching first? Power overrated? Supply and demand? [Everything Bluebirds]

The new Cubs? Finding the team most likely to be MLB’s next juggernaut

Hint hint, this article doesn’t see it being our Tribe. [Sports Illustrated]