Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
Chris Young will no longer be patrolling the outfield at Chase, but the team has acquired a shortstop and another relief arm. In an impromptu round table, 'charmer, John B and myself talk about the legacy of CY, what the new players bring to the team, and whether more moves may be expected.
How will you remember Chris Young?
snakecharmer: For his phenomenal defense. I didn't think anybody would be as good as Steve Finley and CY came close, I was very happy with the transition.
Jim: Mercurial. It'll be some time before anyone challenges his franchise record of five walk-off homers - not least because Justin Upton is the only current D-backs with even a single one to his credit! And his defense could be sublime. But then there were the infield pop-ups, which were immensely frustrating, and a career .239 average, which ranks 129th among 132 active players with 3500 PAs. But if there's a single memory that I'll have, it's his homer off Ted Lilly in the 2007 NLCS. If there's another one, it's him bookending the game with home-runs on the night Gonzo's number was retired. That was awesome.
John: I was always a big fan of Chris Young. I remember him getting his share of big hits, as well as knowing if the ball was hit in the air in the middle of the field he was going to catch it. I always thought he was a class act too. I'll never forget his post-game interview after we clinched the playoffs last year. I still have that whole session on tape.
Will there be more moves this winter in the outfield, or is that it?
snakecharmer: Outfield? I expect that's it.
Jim: I'm uncertain. We still seem to have a few too many holes elsewhere, and not that many pieces which can be dealt. I don't think we can afford to pick up additional free agents, so we may have to sacrifice the outfield depth if we want, say, another starting pitcher.
John: I was hoping (and still am) that Parra would be the one getting traded. I'm sure I sound like a broken record on that front. If the right 3B deal comes along I'm not convinced they won't trade another of the outfielders. But if they do trade another outfielder, they may have to go looking for another one to bring in. That's probably why they'll keep Parra, ack.
What do you expect from Cliff Pennington?
snakecharmer: I expect him to work on his defense this spring. I expect him to get a majority of the playing time. I expect him to bounce back and have a .250-average season.
John: I expect him to play decently, especially if they don't over-expose him to left-handed pitching or try to put him at the top of the order and expect plus production there.
Jim: Definirely agree on keeping him away from lefties - no matter how good his glove, those splits against left-handers are pretty bad. I think moving to Chase will certainly help - as it does most hitters. I think we were spoiled a bit, in terms of good hitting shortstops, by Drew: we should probably lower our expectations for production from that position for the next couple of years - if a Bloomquist/McDonald platoon hadn't already done that for us!
Can Heath Bell bounce back from a dismal season in Miami?
snakecharmer: Yes. I think some of that was problems with the coaches. (Of course, his own actions and comments to the media certainly didn't help.) I think he'll be more comfortable in a Kevin Towers-made environment and I think he'll get his confidence back by working in the 7th inning.
John: I'm sure he can, especially if many of the situations are lot so high-leverage. He's had a lot more success than failure over the years, and a handful of bad games from a closer can make your season look dismal. He probably won't be quite what he was but he'll be better than what he was at the beginning of 2012. I'll be surprised if he has a bad season, let me put it that way.
Jim: His 2012 was a bit like Putz's - a terrible start, which bloated his figures for the rest of the season. Through mid-May, Bell's ERA was in double-figures, but was less than four thereafter, and over his last 20 games, it was all the way down to 2.55. I wouldn't expect him to be THAT good, but something in the threes seems plausible. He'll certainly be a lot happier, now he's no longer bashing heads with Ozzie.
What will his role be in the bullpen?
snakecharmer: Seventh inning, sometimes eighth, sometimes closing if JJ and D-Hern are both out. But as many managers will tell you, sometimes the game isn't "saved" in the 9th inning; sometimes it's saved in the 6th and 7th, and I think if he's brought around and fixed up right in Arizona, he can be that 7th inning saver.
John: I kind of like the idea of having four really strong relievers that are almost interchangeable for innings 7-9. That way when you get involved in a string of close games you don't have to resort to lesser relievers for any of those games. If it earns you 2-4 more wins over the course of the season that can be the difference between making the playoffs and not making the playoffs. It's never a bad thing to have a plethora of good relievers.
Jim: There were a couple of times this season, when it seemed like the same arms were being warmed up night after night, and I am certainly not averse to the idea of having multiple guys who can close. One thing that does surprise me is he's another power guy: Towers has said how he likes a bullpen that can offer a lot of different ‘looks', and Bell doesn't seem all that different from, say, Hernandez.
Would you, as GM, have made these two deals?
snakecharmer: There's a reason I'm not a GM. I honestly don't know.
John: Well, I don't know about that. I'm not sure I would have imagined these trades, but if the trades had been brought to me as an owner and with the logic behind them as we understand it is, I'm pretty sure I could be convinced to sign off on them.
Jim: At this point, I would perhaps have traded for Pennington, but not Bell. $6.5 million is an awful lot of money to pay any reliever, especially a set-up guy, and I would probably rather we had spent that on starting pitcher or third-baseman. But we'll see: I have a suspicion it's possible Bell won't even be here by Opening Day.