The Arizona Diamondbacks have undergone a massive makeover in many ways during the last couple of years, in almost every aspect of the team culture. The team which started 2010 under A. J. Hinch and Josh Byrnes is a very different one from the team we now see, after the winter meetings appear to have largely locked down the shape of the team for the 2012 season. But you might be surprised to learn how much the team has changed in barely 20 months. More than three-quarters of the Opening Day roster from 2010, are no longer part of the Diamondbacks organization. Where have they gone?
As a starting-point, we take the 2010 Opening Day roster. For each player no longer with the Diamondbacks, we list the manner of their departure, what they did in 2011, and their current status for 2012.
Departure: Granted free agency at the end of the 2010 season.
2011: Managed to get himself released by three teams that year, the Mets, Pirates and Cardinals. Threw 6.2 innings with the Mets resulting in eight earned runs, didn't reach the majors with the other two.
2012 prospects: Currently unsigned. And having had a 10.90 ERA in 34.2 minor league innings last season, not good.
Departure: Released on October 13 this year.
2011: Appeared in 20 games for Arizona, with a 5.40 ERA. then went on the DL in late May with inflammation in his right shoulder, and never came back.
2012 prospects: Signed a minor-league contract with Kansas City on Tuesday.
Departure: Traded to Anaheim on July 25, 2010, for Joe Saunders and three others.
2011: Went 16-10 with a 3.17 ERA for the Angels, as their #2 behind Jered Weaver.
2012 prospects: Will earn $12.75 million with Anaheim, in the final guaranteed year of his contract. There's a $15.5 million team option for next season.
Departure: Released by Arizona on July 19 this year.
2011: After a 6.88 ERA in 32 games for the D-backs, Heilman got his marching orders. The Phillies and Pirates kicked his wheels, but he didn't stick with either, despite 8.2 scoreless innings with the Pittsburgh AAA affiliate.
2012 prospects: Was apparently heavily involved in getting the new CBA agreement between players and clubs. With that out of the way, can now seek his own employment.
Departure: Lasted barely a month and a half, being released on May 17 with a double-digit ERA in 14 games for Arizona
2011: The 37-year old Howry, who went to high school at Deer Valley, retired before the season began.
2012 prospects: I dunno: fishing, maybe?
Departure: Was a trade deadline deal with the White Sox,in exchange for Daniel Hudson and David Holmberg.
2011: Was also a trade deadline deal this season, ending up in St. Louis. He went 12-9 combined, with a 3.79 regular-season ERA, and 1-1 in four post-season starts, posting a 5.60 ERA on his way to a World Series ring.
2012 prospects: Jackson declined arbitration and elected free-agency instead. Should be in line for a healthy payday, if as one writer believes, EJack is the best free-agent starter on the market.
- Ian Kennedy
Departure: Was the archetype #5 starter for us in 2010 i.e. cheap ($650K) and mediocre (7-16, 5.00 ERA). Granted free agency at the end of the year.
2011: Initially signed with the Braves, traded to the Cubs on May 26.Had a 4.42 ERA in 97.2 innings for them, both as a starter and reliever. Became a free agent there in October.
2012 prospects: Shares an agent with Albert Pujols, which got Cubs fans excited when their team talked to said representative. Turns out they were discussing Lopez, not Pujols. But no contract yet.
Departure: Was traded to the A's along with Brandon Allen in July this year, for Brad Ziegler.
2011: Threw 6.2 innings for Oakland, allowing six earned runs on eight hits and seven walks. So, no change there, then.
2012 prospects: Might have a shot for a spot at the back-end of the Athletics' bullpen.
Departure: Having failed to rebound after his knee injury, was dumped on Tampa in July 2010 for a PTBNL.
2011: Signed with San Diego and performed respectably, with a 3.51 ERA in 77 appearances.
2012 prospects: A free-agent, the Mets are apparently interested and may not be the only team.
Departure: Appeared in 16 games in 2010 with a 7.16 ERA, but missed three months with a stress fracture in his foot that required an operation. He was outrighted off the 40-man roster in November.
2011: I have no idea. Wasn't in the majors, wasn't in the minors, didn't seem to pitch overseas.
2012 prospects: Getting off Oceanic Airlines flight 815 would be a start.
Departure: Was DFA in September 2011, and was snagged off waivers by the Minnesota Twins.
2011: 31 games for the Diamondbacks, with a 4.15 ERA. He was sent to Reno in late June.
2012 prospects: Probably fighting for a Twins' bullpen spot in spring training, one of a number of hard-throwing right-handers accumulated by Minnesota.
It wasn't just a question of the Opening Day roster either. The Diamondbacks used 28 pitchers over the entire course of the 2010 season. Of those, only two - Hudson and Kennedy - appear to be guaranteed roster spots for 2012, with one space at the back of the rotation apparently to be decided. While a few more of the 28, most notably Barry Enright, are still with the organization, it goes to show how much the pitching in particular has been revamped since Kevin Towers took over.
Departure: Initially hoped to be our future second-baseman, Abreu could never get a solid foothold in the majors and was released last month.
2011: Spent the entire season at Reno, where he hit .292/.335/.429. Which is about a buck-fifty major league equivalent, more or less.
2012 prospects: Signed a minor-league deal with Kansas City.
- Stephen Drew
Departure: Never recovered from Valley Fever, and was traded to Oakland in June 2010, for Sam Demel.
2011: Hit .249 in 102 games for the A's, and was traded to the Red Sox, just in time for them to slump and miss the post-season. Went 3-for-19 with Boston.
2012 prospects: A free-agent this winter, might end up back in Oakland under Bob Melvin again.
Departure: Discussed this recently enough we shouldn't need to go over it.
2011: As above.
2012 prospects: Accepted arbitration with the Blue Jays. Probably make $7-8 million next year.
Departure: Allowed to walk after the 2010 season.
2011: Signed with the Nationals, but appeared in only 43 games, and needed labrum surgery on his left shoulder. Hit .172 with three home-runs.
2012 prospects: In the second year of his two-year contract in Washington, LaRoche will earn $8 million. There's a mutual $10 million option for 2013.
- Miguel Montero
Departure: From 2008-2010, only five players appeared in more games for Arizona than Ojeda, but he was allowed to leave as a free agent after 2010.
2011: Signed a minor-league contract with the Cubs, but hit .200 in 18 games at Triple-A and was released on July 9.
2012 prospects: He'll be 37 next week, so probably slim.
- Gerardo Parra
Departure: It wasn't long after Towers' arrival in September 2010 before Reynolds' strikeouts proved incompatible, and he was sent to Baltimore for relievers David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio.
2011: For the third time in four years, led his league in K's and errors; Batted .221, though did hit 37 HR.
2012 prospects: Will earn $7.5 million with the Orioles. $11 million team option for 2013.
Departure: Released in December 2010, with his contract being sold to the Yomiuri Giants in Japan.
2011: In 33 games, he batted .198, and was fined and demoted to the minors, after leaving the dugout while a game was in progress - a serious no-no, it appears - and was released as season's end.
2012 prospects: Whaddya know, he signed a minor-league contract with Arizona on November 8.
Departure: Almost traded before 2010, but the Blue Jays nixed it because of Snyder's back. Ended up a salary-dump on the Pirates at the trade deadline in 2010.
2011: Guess Toronto were right. After missing the first two weeks with back spasms, Snyder's season ended after 34 games on June 8, courtesy of a herniated disk that required surgery. To cap things off, his wife was attacked in a road-rage incident the next month.
2012 prospects: The Pirates declined arbitration. Houston might be a possible destination.
- Justin Upton
- Chris Young
Things have been a bit more stable on the position front, with five of those 13 still hopefully on the 2012 Opening Day roster - assuming Drew is healthy. However, of the seven others used during the year, Ryan Roberts is the sole one likely to be present, with Konrad Schmidt the sole organizational survivor apart from him.
The 2011 Opening Day roster
But don't think the changes have stopped. If we look at the Opening Day roster from last season, almost half the names (12 of 25) will probably not be found in the corresponding list next year. Again, the turnover has been particularly sharp on the mound, with only five of the dozen pitchers apparently guaranteed roster spots. Here's a summary of the 2011 roster, with the survivors from it again shown in bold.
Pitchers: Sam Demel, Barry Enright, Armando Galarraga, Juan Gutierrez, Aaron Heilman, David Hernandez, Daniel Hudson, Ian Kennedy, Kam Mickolio, Joe Paterson, J.J. Putz, Joe Saunders.
Position Players: Henry Blanco, Willie Bloomquist, Russell Branyan, Stephen Drew, Kelly Johnson, Juan Miranda, Miguel Montero, Melvin Mora, Xavier Nady, Gerardo Parra, Ryan Roberts, Justin Upton, Chris Young.