Ryan Roberts Designated For Assignment, John McDonald Back From DL

June 16, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Ryan Roberts (14) throws to first base against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

The Arizona Diamondbacks announced they have designated infielder Ryan Roberts for assignment and returned infielder John McDonald from his rehabilitation assignment with Rookie-level AZL D-backs and reinstated him from the 15-day disabled list, according to D-backs' Executive Vice President & General Manager Kevin Towers. Roberts, 31, batted .252 (63-for-250) with 9 doubles, 6 home runs and 33 RBI in 82 games with the D-backs in 2012. He appeared in 372 games over 4 seasons with the D-backs and hit .254 (281-for-1,105) with 34 homers and 133 RBI. Roberts signed with the D-backs as a Minor League free agent on Nov. 6, 2008.
-- Diamondbacks Press Release

In a somewhat unexpected development, the return of John McDonald from the disabled list, has led to Ryan Roberts being dropped from the roster. Both Nick Piecoro and Steve Gilbert suggest this is a precursor to a trade of Roberts, Gilbert reporting Roberts as saying "he was told a trade is on the one yard line." Piecoro adds that McDonald was also expecting to rehabbing in the AZL tonight, rather than being returned to the roster, which would also suggest that Roberts' departure is very close.

Ryan's time with the Diamondbacks began on Opening Day 2009, and the 28-year old enjoyed a solid rookie campaign, hitting .279 over 110 games. 2010 was disappointing, as he hit below the Whitesell line in 36 games, and spent most of the season in Reno - including a spell living in the Aces' clubhouse. He bounced back the next year, becoming the regular third-baseman for our NL West winning team. Though he hit only .249, he had 19 home-runs, including probably his finest moment, a walk-off grand-slam against the Dodgers. He added another slam in Game 4 of the NLCS, hitting .350 (7-for-20) with two homers and six RBI.

However, he struggled mightily this season, hitting .250 with six homers in 83 games, and a 74 OPS+. He had been losing playing-time of late, with only eight starts in 19 July games thus far - though, ironically, Roberts had been having one of his best stretches, hitting .344 (11-for-32) this month. Overall, he appeared in 372 games for the Diamondbacks, and hit .254/.334/.404, for a .707 OPS, with 34 home-runs and 133 RBI. As yet, there's no firm word on his destination: the team have 10 days to trade him, and MLB Trade Rumors suggest that the Rays are perhaps the most likely destination.

It will be interesting to see how these moves affect the Diamondbacks line-up the rest of the way. It seems to leave them with a surfeit of shortstops, that being the primary position not only of McDonald, but also Stephen Drew and Willie Bloomquist. Ryan Wheeler, recently called up from Reno, is the "truest" of third basemen, but will probably end up splitting starts there with Bloomquist - Willie is starting there tonight. Roberts sent out the following statement over his Twitter feed [man, between losing him and Enright, both with over 20,000 followers, it's been a bad day for the D-backs social media stars!]

I can't say thank you enough to all my fans for supporting me all these years! We had a great run and I will never forget what AZ has done for me and my family. I had the best times here, and my family says the same. As to all my teammates, I really love these guys and wish everyone the best. Thanku to all of you again and AZ will hold a special place in me and my family's hearts. Much love to AZ.

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