Diving into the depths: Arizona Diamondbacks

Leave a comment

This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.
Arizona Diamondbacks
Rotation
1. Dan Haren
2. Brandon Webb
3. Edwin Jackson
4. Ian Kennedy
5. Billy Buckner
6. Kevin Mulvey
7. Rodrigo Lopez
8. Bryan Augenstein
9. Barry Enright
10. Matt Torra
11. Cesar Valdez
The Diamondbacks should have the money to add one more pitcher, though whether it’ll be a fifth starter or another setup man remains to be seen. As is, I imagine Buckner would be the favorite in the competition with Mulvey and Lopez for the fifth spot. However, I’m not confident that any of the three would be adequate in that role. Considering that Webb and Kennedy are so far away from being sure things and there are no top prospects on the way — Jarrod Parker is out for the season following Tommy John surgery — adding a legitimate No. 5 should be a priority.
Bullpen
1. Chad Qualls
2. Juan Gutierrez
3. Bob Howry
4. Aaron Heilman
5. Clay Zavada
6. Blaine Boyer
7. Esmerling Vasquez
8. Billy Buckner
9. Zach Kroenke
10. Leo Rosales
11. Rodrigo Lopez
12. Daniel Stange
13. T.J. Beam
14. Roque Mercedes
15. Jose Marte
The bullpen lacks a true stud, but it contains four solid right-handers and plenty of potentially useful options after that. Bypassing Jose Valverde to sign Adam LaRoche and, hopefully, another rotation option was the sound strategy.


Catcher
1. Miguel Montero
2. Chris Snyder
3. John Hester
First base
1. Adam LaRoche
2. Mark Reynolds
3. Conor Jackson
4. Brandon Allen
5. Jeff Bailey
Second base
1. Kelly Johnson
2. Ryan Roberts
3. Tony Abreu
4. Rusty Ryal
Third base
1. Mark Reynolds
2. Ryan Roberts
3. Rusty Ryal
4. Tony Abreu
Shortstop
1. Stephen Drew
2. Augie Ojeda
3. Pedro Ciriaco
4. Tony Abreu
If Snyder gets traded this spring, then Hester figures to take over as Montero’s backup. It’s just too bad the Diamondbacks haven’t found a taker for his contract yet, since doing so would give them a lot more flexibility in adding a starting pitcher.
Left field
1. Conor Jackson
2. Gerardo Parra
3. Ryan Roberts
4. Cole Gillespie
5. Drew Macias
Center field
1. Chris Young
2. Gerardo Parra
3. Evan Frey
Right field
1. Justin Upton
2. Gerardo Parra
3. Ryan Roberts
4. Cole Gillespie
5. Drew Macias
The move to release Eric Byrnes would seem to clear the way for Parra to get 350-400 at-bats, even though he’ll open the season in a reserve role. It looks like Roberts and Ojeda will join Parra and the backup catcher on the bench. The Diamondbacks could still carry Abreu as their 25th man, since Roberts can serve as a fifth outfielder, but it’d make more sense to add another true outfielder and let Abreu play regularly in Triple-A.

Kirk Gibson home run happened 30 years ago

AP Images
1 Comment

With the Dodgers trying to make it back to the World Series for the second year in a row — and trying to win it for the first time in 30 years — it’s worth looking back at the last time they won it. More specifically, it’s worth looking back at the signature moment from the last time they won it. Which, really, was one of baseball’s all-time signature moments.

Yep, I’m talking about Kirk Gibson’s famous game-winning home run off of Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland Athletics in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, which happened 30 years ago tonight.

All playoff magic for anyone too young to remember Bill Mazeroski’s homer in 1960 is measured against Gibson taking Dennis Eckersley downtown to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 win. Heck, even if you were around in 1960, it’s far less likely that you saw Mazeroski’s homer than it was for you to have seen Gibson’s. Nationally broadcast in prime time to a nation of millions who had not yet fragmented into viewers of hundreds of obscure cable channels and various forms of streaming entertainments, it was a moment that sent shockwaves through the world of sports.

For my part, I was fifteen years-old, sitting in my living room in Beckley, West Virginia watching it as it happened. Like most of the rest of the country, I was convinced that the Dodgers had no chance to beat the mighty Bash Brothers and the 104-win Oakland A’s. Especially given that the Dodgers’ leader, MVP-to-be Gibson, was hobbled and not starting. Even when he was called on to pinch hit, I had no faith that he’d be able to touch Eckersley, the best relief pitcher on the planet, let alone hit the ball with any kind of authority.

But, as Vin said when he called it, the Dodgers’ year was so improbable that, in hindsight, it made perfect sense for Gibson to have done the impossible: