In the absence of any significant D-backs news from the winter meetings, all we've got today is Luis Gonzalez signing with the Dodgers. Excellent. [Rubs hands together in Mr. Burns impression] One step forward - signing Schmidt - two steps back for LA. I was hoping Schmidt, who has been a D'back killer, would have left the division, or better yet, the league, but we'll cope. I suspect the benefits of the pitcher will probably last less than the three-year deal that he's signed. [Though it's a Nobel Prize signing beside KC giving
$45 $55m to Gil Meche...] As for Gonzo, all those multi-year contracts he wanted proves as elusive as Britney's underwear, and he signed for one year, at $7m. Still more than he's worth.
Inevitably, the fan backlash is back in full swing, as witness this comment from AZCentral.com, which I reproduce exactly as it appeared:
Go, Dogers. :-) I admit it will, however, be very strange to see him patrolling left-field at Chase next year, in Dodger blue. And I still wish him all the best. But assuming he does get to play full-time, I think I have the ingredients for the first D'backs watch of 2007: Gonzo vs. whoever plays in LF for Arizona. Hopefully, Scott Hairston. My colleague at True Blue LA is phlegmatic, "Is Luis Gonzalez better than James Loney? Probably not. Is this the worst possible thing Ned could have done? Nope, so I'm relatively happy. Amazing what signing Juan Pierre will do for my expectations." However, he since reports Gonzalez has been assured he'll be the starting LF, and is now somewhat less content.
The arrival of Schmidt does leave the Dodgers over-stuffed with starting pitching, so they'll likely be looking to trade someone away. Maybe Josh Byrnes will be talking to them, since pitching is clearly top of our Christmas wish list. Rumblings suggest former D'back Brad Penny might be on the block, and I have to say, a rotation of Webb, Hernandez 2.0, Penny, Davis and EdGon would stack up pretty well against anyone else in the division. I would be leery of handing over prospects to our division rivals, especially as the Dodgers probably rival us in farm strength (albeit having fewer with elite potential).
Nobody foresaw Gonzo's destination in our free-agent pick 'em contest, with the Padres and Rangers the most popular choices instead. And nobody got Schmidt's destination right either, or predicted Mike Piazza signing for the A's, but johngordonma did call Maddux to the Padres, so scores one for that. Glavine to the Mets was perhaps less a shock, netting two points for npineda, Ben and johngordonma. We're now more three-quarters of the way through the sixteen-player contest, with Ben still in the lead, but holding only a narrow one-point lead over johngordonma.
The Rule 5 draft took place earlier today, with Arizona holding their breath after last year's event, where they got Uggla'd by the Marlins, losing the All-Star infielder. We couldn't select anyone, since we already had a full 40-man roster, but I had nightmares about an admistrative foul-up leaving someone like Mark Reynolds unprotected ("No, I thought you added him to the roster..."). However, the good news is that we didn't lose anyone either. Washington, on the other hand, had eight players taken by other teams. Ouch: Mike Rizzo must have been cleaning house.
No-one came up with the answer to yesterday's trivia question. Kevin Jarvis, Eric Knott, Shane Reynolds, Oscar Villarreal: what's the common link? It is, that they all started exactly one game in their career for the Diamondbacks. Here's the skinny on their meteoric trip across the firmament of the Arizona rotation:
Kevin Jarvis: June 17, 2006 at Texas. Probably recent enough not to need much description. One in a line of "proven veterans" who proved largely to suck, Jarvis went five innings in a spot start, but sucked up eight earned runs on nine hits and two walks. The D'backs lost 8-4.
Eric Knott: October 7, 2001 at Milwaukee. Not just any game, the last regular one in our World Series season. On the plus side, he gave up no earned runs. On the other hand, how about eight unearned ones? That was part of a ten-run Brewer fourth, thanks to errors by Colbrunn and Counsell. He was yanked that inning, and AZ slumped to defeat, 15-5. Still, we got better. ;-)
Shane Reynolds: June 28, 2004 vs. San Diego. Another one that shouldn't need much acknowledgement, thanks to Reynolds' place on the list of 10 Least Significant Diamondbacks. He made his only appearance between DL stints, lasting two innings before having to be pulled. Six runs, but like Knott, was the victim of his defense, with five unearned. Hasn't pitched in the major-leagues since, and Arizona lost 10-5.
Oscar Villarreal: April 8, 2003 at Los Angeles. This one might have thrown you. In his 5th game, Oscar started against the Dodgers. It wasn't great, but may be the best on this list: three innings, two runs, both earned, on four hits and three walks. We went down 5-3, but the L went, ironically, to Miguel Batista in relief. Villarreal started four games for Atlanta this year, going 1-0 with a respectable 3.50 ERA.