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D'backs preview: Right Field

2004 performance [RF only]
Danny Bautista .288/.336/.405, 11 HR, 65 RBI

2005 predictions
Shawn Green   .285/.366/.510, 31 HR, 98 RBI
While the other two outfield positions had been owned by Gonzalez and Finley since 1999, right field has become something of a revolving door for Arizona, patrolled by Tony Womack, Reggie Sanders and Quinton McCracken, as well as the 2004 incumbent, Danny Bautista. In his 12th year as a major-league player, he finally got a full-time position, passing 400 AB's in a season for the first time. He did okay, hitting .286 overall, with 65 RBIs, enough for second on the team, and eleven homers, but after his fast start (he averaged .376 in April, and was still at .322 as late as July 20), he faded, hitting only .248 after the All-Star Break, with just one homer in his last 250 at-bats.

With his $4m contract up, the Diamondbacks never really made any attempt to resign him, knowing they'd have to pay something similar to a player who was really little better than a fourth outfielder. In the end, Bautista took a one-year contract with Tampa Bay for less than half that money, before retiring completely, and the Diamondbacks first had, then lost, then had again, Dodgers slugger Shawn Green. Green brought with him a 16-wheeler full of cash, with Los Angeles picking up $10m of the tab for the last year of Green's contract. Arizona then signed him to a 3-year $30m extension, with a mutual $10m option for 2008.

There's no question about Green's stamina - he's played 150+ games in each season since 1998. However, his OPS has declined every year since 2001 (from .970 down to just .811 in 2004), and the wisdom of signing him to a long-term contract has to be questioned. The move to a hitter-friendly park like BOB will likely help things improve, at least cosmetically, but even with this assistance, the chances of a return to the glory days of 40-homer or 120-RBI seasons seems very unlikely. Questions about his fielding also remain: in 2004, he played twice as many games for the Dodgers at first as in the outfield. A similar move later in his contract with Arizona is certainly not impossible, but we will likely be stuck with him in the outfield for this year at least.