Ryan Roberts was perhaps the most pleasant surprise in Arizona’s pleasantly surprising 2011 season, taking over as the team’s third baseman and finishing with 19 homers and 18 steals in 143 games.
Alas, an encore was not meant to be. The 31-year-old Roberts, who lost his starting job last month, was designated for assignment Tuesday after hitting .250/.306/.357 in 252 at-bats this season. The move made room for fellow infielder John McDonald to return from the DL. Given that Roberts had never shown so much power in previous seasons, the decline wasn’t much of a surprise. Plus, even during his breakthrough season, he hit a modest .249.
A trade is likely forthcoming. Roberts is due only about $900,000 over the rest of the season and he offers plenty of versatility (besides third base, he can play second and both corner outfield spots), so a few teams could be interested in bringing him in. The Rays and A’s would be among the logical destinations. The Tigers were also known to want him, but that was before they acquired Omar Infante yesterday.
Update: Roberts told MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert that the Diamondbacks informed him a trade is already on the one-yard line. It sounds like it could happen within the next 24 hours.