After finding a backup catcher in Henry Blanco the Diamondbacks “will next turn their attention to finding a right-handed bat who can play left field” and are targeting Xavier Nady or Austin Kearns, according to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com.
Gilbert speculates that Nady could have a slight edge because he has experience at first base in addition to seeing plenty of time in the outfield. Arizona is looking for a right-handed bat because projected starting left fielder Gerardo Parra swings from the left side of the plate.
Nady missed nearly all of 2009 following Tommy John elbow surgery and struggled to bounce back with the Cubs this year, hitting just .256/.306/.353 with six homers in 347 plate appearances. He’s a career .297/.367/.451 hitter versus lefties.
Kearns was more productive this year, hitting .263/.351/.395 in 461 plate appearances for the Indians and Yankees, and has a .261/.383/.416 career line off southpaws. He’s also a superior defensive outfielder and a year younger than Nady.
As a longtime lurker, occasional commenter, and former contributor at Baseball Think Factory I’m absolutely thrilled by this news: Carlos Gomez, who frequently posted comments and wrote articles at Baseball Think Factory under the screen name “Chad Bradford Wannabe,” has been hired as the Diamondbacks’ international scouting director.
Gomez, who pitched professionally in independent leagues after playing college ball at Purdue, became a scout for the Diamondbacks in 2007 when Jerry DiPoto “called me, impressed me, and then blew me away with an offer that I couldn’t possibly refuse.”
I loved Gomez’s articles breaking down pitching mechanics on Baseball Think Factory (and also The Hardball Times), and from reading his comments on various BTF discussions threads I also know that he’s a really smart, interesting guy who combines a ton of traditional baseball knowledge with an open mind to sabermetrics.
Helluva hire by the Diamondbacks and a helluva cool thing for everyone in the online baseball community.
Earlier this week the Diamondbacks were said to be on the verge of signing veteran catcher Henry Blanco and now Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona reports that they’ve come to terms on a one-year, $1 million contract.
Blanco will back up 27-year-old starter Miguel Montero and figures to get most of his starts subbing for the left-handed-hitting Montero versus left-handed pitching.
Blanco has never been much of a hitter and at age 39 his bat is pretty anemic at this point, but he can still shut down a running game after throwing out 11 of 22 steal attempts this year.