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Diamondbacks' Roster Nears Completion

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Yesterday's roster changes and announcements were a significant step toward finalizing the 2011 Opening Day roster for the Diamondbacks. Which is probably a good thing, given the first game is only three days off. Is there anything left to be decided? After the jump, let's go through my predictions for the likely 25-man squad: see if there are any blanks, and whose names might be going in there.

Starting Players

  • C. Miguel Montero
  • 1B. Juan Miranda
  • 2B. Kelly Johnson
  • SS. Stephen Drew
  • 3B. Melvin Mora
  • LF. Xavier Nady
  • CF. Chris Young
  • RF. Justin Upton

The only question-mark here is over Nady. He has had a very poor spring, posting a line of .239/.250/.358 and has 67 at-bats without a single walk. Since 1989, only five players in the majors have has as many ABs over a season, without getting to trot to first (including our own Jerry Gil, who went 86 ABs in 2004, and owns the all-time career record for most ABs with zero BBs). Okay, maybe Nady is trying to get his shoulder back into shape, but a 13:0 K:BB ratio and .608 OPS do not inspire confidence. Expected outcome: we'll hear how Nady has swung the bat much better of late - hey, he had two hits yesterday! - and deserves to make the squad, blah, blah.

Bench

  • 1B. Russell Branyan
  • C. Henry Blanco
  • IF. Willie Bloomquist
  • OF. Gerardo Parra
  • IF/OF. Ryan Roberts

The waiving of Tony Abreu brings to an apparent end a frustrating time, both for the player and fans. He came from Los Angeles, in that weird Jon Garland trade - it went down in-game to the team we were playing. At the time, there were hopes in Arizona he'd become a middle infielder of the future, but last year, he showed no power (one HR in 81 games) or plate discipline (K:BB of 47:4!). He's not "old", at 26, but the upside at this point does seem to be perceived as falling short of an everyday player.

Ryan Roberts took full advantage of Geoff Blum's injury, though even his most passionate defenders would accept that hitting .509 is likely not very sustainable... The obvious odd man out is Brandon Allen, Allen basically suffered the baseball equivalent of a mugging with sock full of pool-balls, as non-roster invitee Branyan came out of nowhere to seize his job as back-up first-baseman with a strong spring-training performance (a 1.260 OPS in 56 ABs). Expected outcome: Allen's remaining option mean he will be stashed up in Reno, in case Miranda or Branyan suck [or, in the latter's case especially, get injured].

Rotation

  1. Ian Kennedy
  2. Daniel Hudson
  3. Joe Saunders
  4. Barry Enright
  5. Armando Galarraga

The injury to Zach Duke certainly simplified the situation here, though this didn't so much make the decision, as postpone it until Duke recovers from his broken hand. With that as a given, the rotation here is probably what would have been expected: Aaron Heilman was given the promised shot, but I suspect Kevin Towers and Kirk Gibson might have been slightly relieved to see his last outing meltdown, as it meant they could make the decision to return him to the 'pen, without compromising the "competition" mantra. What will happen when Duke is healthy? Expected outcome: Enright's options will get him sent to Reno - but it's certainly up to him to prove otherwise.

Bullpen

  • J.J. Putz
  • David Hernandez
  • Aaron Heilman
  • Juan Gutierrez
  • Sam Demel
  • Joe Paterson
  • Esmerling Vasquez

Putz is supposed to pitch the ninth inning today, but I'm concerned about a closer who, even with that, will have only 2.1 innings of spring game work under his belt on Opening Day (though he may throw Wednesday too). We have several options for the eighth: I think Hernandez has shown good enough stuff this spring to merit him having first shot, but Heilman will be keen to prove himself back in the relief corps. Just when I was beginning to feel comfortable with Gutierrez, his last couple of starts were like week-old feta cheese dip, and I would be happier not seeing him in any high leverage situations for a bit.

The last spots aren't decided, but it seems likely Paterson will be the only left-hander; he has pitched very well this spring. Jordan Norberto's ongoing control issues - six walks in 8.2 spring innings - likely stop him from joining Paterson as a lefty. At the moment,. Vasquez would seem to have the upper hand over Kam Mickolio, based on Cactus League work, but... Expected outcome: I wouldn't be surprised to see a late pickup. Kevin Towers said, "We don't want to make final decisions on our bullpen right yet until we find out what's still on the waiver wire and who might be available for trade, if we think they're better than what we currently have."