Diving into the depths: Arizona Diamondbacks

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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.

The Giants are winning but they’re still gonna sell

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The state of baseball in general, the state of the National League in particular and the state of the San Francisco Giants as a competitor are conspiring to create what seems like at least a mildly absurd situation.

The Giants, a veteran-laden team that, as recently as this past offseason but definitely within the past couple of years, were at least talking about being on a win-now footing, just swept a four-game series, have won five straight games and have won 12 of 14 to pull themselves to within two and a half games of a playoff spot.

Yet, that’s all for temporary show, because they’re about to sell off. At least according to Jeff Passan at ESPN. Giants president Farhan Zaidi tried to push back on that in a radio interview yesterday, denying that the club has foreclosed the possibility of a postseason push, but I’m not really buying that and I don’t think most people are.

On one level it makes sense to ignore the recent surge and forge on with a rebuild. Sure, the Giants are winning but they’re not exactly good. They’re two and a half out of the Wild Card, but there are many teams ahead of them. There’s a lot of reason to think that they’re playing in good fortune right now and that that, rather than finding some extra gear of sustainable better play, is what’s to credit. Hot streaks can happen at any time but the trade deadline only comes once a year. When you have the best starter available in Madison Bumgarner and the best reliever available in Will Smith, you gotta make those deals. That’s what I’d probably do if I ran the Giants and I think that that’s, wisely, what Zaidi will do.

Still, it’s an odd look, less for the Giants specifically than for baseball as a whole. We may in an era of cheap front offices who don’t like to contend if it means spending money, but it’s unfair to paint the Giants with that brush. They’ve spent money and acquired talent and have done whatever they can to extend their 2010-2014 mini-dynasty a few more years and in doing so they’ve made a lot of fans happy. That team has pretty much reached the end and, even in an earlier, more competitive era, they’d not be properly criticized for starting in on a rebuild. Heck, they’d be excused if they had done it a year or two earlier, frankly.

But, because so many teams have punted on improving themselves, these aging Giants are at least superficially competitive. As such, when they do sell off in the coming days, it’ll look to some like they’re waving a white flag or something when they’re not really doing that. I mean, the Rockies and the Pirates, among other teams, should be much better than they are but didn’t seem all that interested in improving, thereby helping the Giants look better, right? It’s less a knock on the Giants for rebuilding when they’re within striking distance of the playoffs than it is on the rest of the league for allowing a team like the Giants to be within striking distance of a playoff spot.

But that’s where we are right now. An insanely competitive Wild Card race from teams that, on the whole, are rather unconcerned with being competitive. What a time to be a baseball fan.