Diamondbacks at the Winter Meetings: The Calm AFTER the Storm

After a day like yesterday, where it seemed that we revamped our entire roster, there was inevitably going to be a sense of let-down today, with Kevin Towers and Andy McPhail pausing to enjoy a cigarette and ask each other, "Was it good for you?" In the colder light of day, the Reynolds trade seems to get seen with a slightly less-jaundiced eye, at least, for now - judgment has been reserved, at least. In the absence of any actual moves to report, there were still some hints at what direction the team is going, in particular at first-base and left-field.

After the jump, we'll review the aftershocks of Tuesday, which seem gentle when placed beside the mighty earthquake which shook Diamondbacksland on the opening day.

Let's start at first-base and left-field - I'm lumping those two together, on the basis of  Ken Rosenthal's report that the Diamondbacks seem to "prefer 1B-LF utility type to full-time option like DLee." That may be in part because we haven't been able to land any of the latter. It seems likely the team has lost out on Paul Konerko. with the lure of bringing him back to his home-town has proved insufficient to overcome the lure of cold, hard cash. That said, the last report from Chicago was that talks there have hit a snag, Konerko's team looking for something in the $15 million range, more than the White Sox were willing to pay.

The names heard most in connection with the "utility" role for the Diamondbacks are Matt Diaz and Xavier Nady. Diaz will be 33 by next Opening Day, and has spent the last five seasons with Atlanta, compiling a 113 OPS+, while averaging just over 300 PAs per year. In his last year of arbitration, he was a non-tender by the Braves last week, and would offer a right-handed platoon partner for Juan Miranda and/or Brandon Allen. However, Diaz has almost no 1B experience, and it looks like he'll get more money elsewhere. The team may aim instead at someone with more position flexibility, such as Jorge Cantu or Nady, both of whom were mentioned today as of interest to AZ.

Nady missed most of 2009 after his second Tommy John surgery, and struggled with the Cubs last season, posting a mediocre line of .256/.306/.353. However, writing recently, Nick Piecoro thinks the team, "might see Nady as a low-cost gamble at returning to form since he’s another year further removed from surgery." Cantu is young: he's still only 28, and has a career 99 OPS+. However, he is mostly a corner infielder, and while he's a right-hander, I think we have enough candidates for the hot corner, thankyouverymuch.

However, the Diamondbacks could be making room, with reports they are exploring trade options for the current candidates in left, Brandon Allen and Gerardo Parra: Nick Piecoro says the latter is proving more productive. I was initially surprised by this, but was reminded that Parra will still be only 23 on Opening Day next year, and is 15 months younger than Allen. So his career OPS+ of 84 isn't necessarily disastrous. Still, he has at least been given his chances, having had almost 900 career PAs in the major-leagues already; in comparison, Brandon Allen has only had 172.

It's possible the team may not sign anyone, and give Juan Miranda his chance at first-base, with Jack Magruder quoting Kevin Towers as saying, "Miranda needs an opportunity. If he gets the opportunity, he can do some good things." But as IHSB pointed out, if that's the case, that leaves the team with a significant pot of cash unused: signing Nady or Diaz are unlikely to make much of a dent in the $10 million reported as being available before the meetings [and with Putz's cost covered by the departure of Mark Reynolds]. We've signed Mora at $2.4 million, but is there something else in the pipeline?

We're still supposedly looking at pitchers, with Jon Morosi listing us as among the teams interested in Rich Harden - it's not clear whether this would be as a starter or a reliever. However, it doesn't seem likely that we'll hear from potential back-up catcher Henry Blanco this week. And, finally, the Justin Upton trade seems to be all but dead, the team having decided that the holes he would have been used to fill - presumably, mostly pitching - are already largely dealt with.

Tomorrow? Might hear word from Mike Hampton, to whom we have made an offer. That, and the potential trades of Allen or Parra, are really just about all that seems left on the table for the Diamondbacks to deal with during their stay in Florida. Since I'm back to work tomorrow, that's probably for the best!

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