Diving into the depths: Arizona Diamondbacks

2 Comments

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.

Red Sox owner John Henry “haunted” by Tom Yawkey’s racist past, wants to rename Yawkey Way

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
1 Comment

The Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman reports that Red Sox owner John Henry is “haunted” by the racist past of previous owner Tom Yawkey and wants to rename Yawkey Way, the tw0-block street that runs from Brookline Avenue to Boylston Street.

Earlier this year, the Red Sox renamed an extension of Yawkey Way after David Ortiz.

Yawkey refused to promote black players from the minor leagues during the 1950’s despite exceptional performance. The Red Sox became the last major league team to integrate in 1959 when Pumpsie Green was added to the roster. Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in 1947, called Yawkey “one of the most bigoted guys in baseball.”

This comes days after racial tensions in Charlottesville, VA where protesters and counter-protesters clashed over removing the statue of Robert E. Lee. A member of a white supremacist group drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring 19. While President Trump has done little in the way of disavowing these hate groups, various city leaders have taken the initiative to remove Confederate monuments and the various other ways in which those people have been glorified. Baltimore, for example, removed four Confederate monuments early Wednesday morning.

Renaming Yawkey Way has been a long time coming and with the current political climate, Henry has finally been motivated enough to take action. He said, “I discussed this a number of times with the previous mayoral administration and they did not want to open what they saw as a can of worms. There are a number of buildings and institutions that bear the same name. The sale of the Red Sox by John Harrington helped to fund a number of very good works in the city done by the Yawkey Foundation (we had no control over where any monies were spent). The Yawkey Foundation has done a lot of great things over the years that have nothing to do with our history.”

Henry added, “The Red Sox don’t control the naming or renaming of streets. But for me, personally, the street name has always been a consistent reminder that it is our job to ensure the Red Sox are not just multi-cultural, but stand for as many of the right things in our community as we can – particularly in our African-American community and in the Dominican community that has embraced us so fully. The Red Sox Foundation and other organizations the Sox created such as Home Base have accomplished a lot over the last 15 years, but I am still haunted by what went on here a long time before we arrived.”

Henry says if the decision were entirely up to him, he would dedicate the street to David Ortiz, calling it “David Ortiz Way” or “Big Papi Way.”

Though racism is a problem throughout the U.S., racism has been a particular problem in Boston at least when it comes to baseball. Earlier this year, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones had peanuts thrown at him and was called racist slurs by fans at Fenway Park. Red Sox starter David Price said he has been on the receiving end of racist taunts from Boston fans as well. After the Jones incident, other players — including CC Sabathia, Barry Bonds, Mark McLemore, and Jackie Bradley, Jr. — spoke up and said that they had been treated similarly at Fenway Park.

Henry’s sensitivity to the issue is quite understandable. And he deserves kudos for doing the right thing in pushing to rename Yawkey Way, but one has to wonder why this hadn’t been done much, much sooner.

The Cardinals believe they are going to get Rally Cat back soon

Associated Press
5 Comments

The saga of Rally Cat continues to unfold.

To remind you, Last Wednesday the St. Louis Cardinals were propelled to victory via the magic of the Rally Catn. We were calling it “Rally Kitten” then, but now it’s Rally Cat, as we’ll explain in a moment.

Then, as soon as he appeared, he was gone, lost by the groundskeeper who captured him when he went to go tend to his numerous claw and bite injuries. Then he was found again and given to the St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach center! Yay! Now the Cardinals say they’re going to get him back. The Post-Dispatch reports:

The St. Louis Feral Cat Outreach organization has assured us they will be returning our cat to us after a mandatory 10-day quarantine period,” said Ron Watermon, the team’s vice president of communications, who added later that Rally Cat would be “cared for by our team, making the Cardinals Clubhouse his home.”

The Feral Cat Outreach center actually named him Rally Cat. Which, well, fine. But if good, smart people with better taste than them want to start calling him Yadier Meowlina, none of us will stop them.