We had our 24 marathon last night. Hoo-boy. Los Angeles bites the big one again. Really, between earthquakes, gridlock and suicidal terrorists with suitcase nukes, I don't know why anyone lives there. Meanwhile, Phoenix, the 5th-biggest city in the country, is once again apparently ignored by the bad guys, while hamlets like San Antonio and Baltimore got hit. Much like Rodney Dangerfield, we just don't get no respect, even from the villains... [Quick scary note: I once was at a lecture by a former Special Forces Colonel. He said that during the Cold War, the Russians established mini-nuke caches inside America for use in World War III. He reckons those would be the most likely source of such weapons for Al Qaeda, etc.]
Great to see Jack Bauer, though the beared, wild-eyed version which got off the plane from China looked disturbingly like Tom Hanks in Castaway. That was soon rectified, even if his experiences seem to have created a kinder, gentler CTU agent: I mean, he even gave up torturing a terrorist after stabbing him only once, because he could "see in his eyes" he wouldn't talk. Ick. What a wuss. ;-) Still, we're thinking of getting T-shirts made, quoting the latest 24 president (whom we still can't help thinking of as the Buffy principal!). The first would say "Jack was right" on the front - the back would read, "Jack is always right". The other would say "Get me Jack Bauer..." on the front, with the back adding, "Immediately!"
As was noted in the comments yesterday, we picked up outfielder Alex Romero off waivers from the Twins. He hit pretty well up at the Double-A level (an .845 OPS in 48 games at the start of last season), but then hit a wall at the Triple-A level, batting only .250 with no homers in around 260 plate appearances. The upside is, he only turned 23 in September, making him pretty young for the level, so there is some upside: wouldn't think I'd go quite as far as Rotosheet, who said, "The Diamondbacks just found themselves a minimum-salaried replacement for Jeff DaVanon in 2008."
Interestingly, looks like we might also have found ourselves a minimum-salaried replacement for Jeff DaVanon in 2007, since he may not be ready for Opening Day. The Republic reports that Alberto Callaspo has been talked to about seeing outfield time as well. Said Josh Byrnes, "On a team where you could argue the more typical concern is no true cleanup guy, the credible concern is that we handle tough, right-handed pitching well enough." I've no problem with platooning, and in fact think this could be of significant help in a number of areas, though two of the most obvious candidates (S.Green and Gonzo) are no longer with the team. But a disturbing line is this one: "Byrnes said he could envision a scenario in which outfielder Jeff DaVanon, first baseman Tony Clark and Callaspo are in the lineup together against a right-hander."
Obvious, he's talking about our switch-hitters (along with O-Dawg), but it seems to me that Clark has a lot to prove before he can start taking any at-bats away from Conor Jackson. He's got to demonstrate that he is fit, and then, prove he has returned to the form he had in 2005, and not the sub-Mendozan monstrosity which batted .197 last season, with a slugging percentage equalled by Hernandez 1.0. I'd not mind if he did, as we could then swing a trade for him with a contender at the deadline, but I suspect this won't happen, and the two-year extension we gave to Clark is more likely to be consigned to the "Worst Deals in D'back History" file. Hey, that's an idea for an article, right there! Suggestions welcome. ;-)
The same article also mentions anouther outfield prospect, Carlos Gonzalez, who is having a good season down in the Venezuelan Winter League. There, he's hitting .318, but perhaps more importantly (especially given his issues in the minors), is walking almost as many times as he's striking out: currently at 25 walks and 33 K's. That compares very pleasantly with, say, his 2006 season, where he had not that many more walks - 37, between Lancaster and Tennessee - but fanned a total of 116 times. I imagine he'll be starting this season off in Double-A again, but if he can reproduce that level of performance, he'll be up in Tucson before long. That would then give ourselves the chance of having a minimum-salaried replacement for Eric Byrnes in 2008, as well as DaVanon...
First part of our Community Projections will go up as a diary tomorrow, taking a look at our expected catchers, Chris Snyder and Miguel Montero. So get your pencils ready for that...