Arizona Diamondbacks v Atlanta Braves

Diving into the depths: Arizona Diamondbacks

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This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.

Rotation
1. Joe Saunders
2. Ian Kennedy
3. Daniel Hudson
4. Zach Duke
5. Armando Galarraga
6. Barry Enright
7. Aaron Heilman
8. Kevin Mulvey
9. Jarrod Parker
10. Wade Miley
11. Micah Owings
12. Josh Collmenter
13. Matt Torra
14. Pat Corbin

It appeared that the Diamondbacks set their rotation when they acquired Duke from the Pirates, but they’ve since brought back Heilman as a possible starter and traded for Galarraga. That means Enright, who got off to such a nice start as a rookie before losing each of his final five starts, might be returned to Triple-A for a bit. I’m pretty skeptical about Enright anyway, and Galarraga should prove to be an upgrade in the fifth spot.

Bullpen
1. J.J. Putz
2. Juan Gutierrez
3. David Hernandez
4. Aaron Heilman
5. Sam Demel
6. Kam Mickolio
7. Esmerling Vasquez
8. Mike Hampton
9. Carlos Rosa
10. Micah Owings
11. Armando Galarraga
12. Clay Zavada
13. Kyler Newby
14. Jordan Noberto
15. Zach Kroenke
16. Brian Sweeney
17. Rafael Rodriguez
18. Daniel Stange
19. Joe Paterson
20. Yonata Ortega

Baseball’s worst pen from 2010 got a makeover with the Putz signing and the Mark Reynolds trade. There will be plenty of competition for the final full spots, as holdovers Vasquez and Rosa try to fight off some newcomers. I think Hernandez will prove to be the team’s second-best reliever.

Catcher
1. Miguel Montero
2. Henry Blanco
3. John Hester
4. Konrad Schmidt

First base
1. Juan Miranda
2. Xavier Nady
3. Brandon Allen
4. Micah Owings
5. Andy Tracy

Second base
1. Kelly Johnson
2. Geoff Blum
3. Willie Bloomquist
4. Tony Abreu
5. Ryan Roberts
6. Cody Ransom

Third base
1. Melvin Mora
2. Geoff Blum
3. Ryan Roberts
4. Tony Abreu
5. Willie Bloomquist
6. Cody Ransom

Shortstop
1. Stephen Drew
2. Geoff Blum
3. Willie Bloomquist
4. Tony Abreu
5. Cody Ransom

Yeah, the budget was quite limited, but the Diamondbacks should have done better than Mora, Nady, Miranda, Blum and Bloomquist as their offensive pickups. My current guess is that Miranda starts at first against right-handers, with Nady shifting back and forth as the first baseman against lefties and the left fielder against most righties. Allen, who has the most offensive potential of the team’s first base-left field candidates, will probably go back to the minors to work on his defense.

Left field
1. Xavier Nady
2. Brandon Allen
3. Gerardo Parra
4. Cole Gillespie
5. Wily Mo Pena
6. Willie Bloomquist
7. Collin Cowgill

Center field
1. Chris Young
2. Gerardo Parra
3. Willie Bloomquist
4. Cole Gillespie

Right field
1. Justin Upton
2. Gerardo Parra
3. Cole Gillespie
4. Wily Mo Pena
5. Willie Bloomquist
6. Collin Cowgill
7. David Winfree

Just 23, Parra is awfully young to be at a career crossroads. However, he might not have the bat to help the Diamondbacks as a corner outfielder. Gillespie is the better bet offensively, and he could get a chance to overtake Parra as the team’s fourth outfielder. As a right-handed hitter, he’d make more sense for the club if the plan is for Nady to cover first against lefties.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.

Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery could share Cubs’ rotation spot in 2017

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 01:  Mike Montgomery #38 of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 1, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).

Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.

Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.

Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.