I missed this yesterday, but apparently there had been a report that the Arizona Diamondbacks could be an alternate candidate to move to the American League in that whole move-the-Astros-to-the-AL realignment gambit. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports, however, that the Dbacks wouldn’t be terribly interested in that. And, for that matter, Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall doesn’t think that they make as much sense geographically as some other team would.
Actually, that last part doesn’t make a ton of sense. Three of the four teams currently in the AL West are on the coast, so adding a team to that division that is closer to the coast would make less overall travel for the division as a whole than adding the Astros would. An AL West Houston team would double the number of trips to Texas for Seattle, Oakland and Anaheim. If you add Arizona, it’s just another stop on the way to California that the Rangers are making anyway. Not saying that travel is the be-all, end-all here — the Braves were in the NL West for 25 years or so — but it’s not nothing.
My guess is that this has a lot more to do with money. I bet that Arizona likes having the Dodgers and Giants fans — who swarm to Phoenix in the spring already — helping out at the gate when they come to town. And you can’t blame him them for liking that.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.