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Diamondbacks Vets Not Producing In Spring Training, Don't Give Up On Them Yet

Maybe it's because I am an "old" man of 40 years, but it would be a mistake for the Diamondbacks to give up on their offseason veteran acquisitions just they are being out-played by the "kids" in Spring Training. These guys were brought in to do more than put up numbers. Patience is needed to let them do their work in the club house as "Culture Changers".

As the always great AZ Snakepit points out, the grey beards like Melvin Mora, Xavier Nady and Geoff Blum are being worked over by Gerardo Parra, Ryan Roberts and Tony Abreu. Here's the numbers comparisons from Jim McLennan (Avg., OBP, SLG):

  • Gerardo Parra .350/.381/.525 vs. Xavier Nady .189/.211/.324
  • Tony Abreu .317/.326/.439 vs. Geoff Blum .269/.321/.269
  • Ryan Roberts: .500/.614/.647 vs. Willie Bloomquist: .375/.405/.450 and Melvin Mora .222/.333/.222

There no questioning the great spring numbers from some of those guys battling for jobs and it's totally possible that a roster with Parra in left, Roberts at third and Abreu as the utility infielder would win the team a few more games this season then their veteran rivals.

But that's really not the point of this season anyway. 

The Diamondback are slotted to win around 70 games this season with the most optimistic projections climbing towards .500. A couple of extra wins that a Roberts might give you with his bat aren't worth the long-term objective of changing the culture on this team and teaching the young core of Stephen Drew, Justin Upton, Miguel Montero, and Chris Young how to play the game "the right way".

The only exception might be the Nady / Parra battle in left field. Beat writer Nick Piecoro reports that Nady's arm strength and bat speed aren't there while Parra, 23, has shown significant improvement according to manager Kirk Gibson.

"He's way stronger. He's more athletic. He has way better balance. You guys have watched his arm over the years. Who knew where it was going? His throws are outstanding. He's hitting everybody. That's nice... He's going to be a good weapon for us," Gibson said on Wednesday.

On a good baseball team, young Parra would be a fantastic fourth outfielder. He can play all three positions and he's at least a reliable hitter who's showing improvement. You could easily see a three-man rotation of Nady, Parra, and young Juan Miranda (who's also played well this spring) splitting time between left and first.

As for Abreu and Roberts pushing out Mora, Blum or Bloomquist...no thanks. Those guys haven't shown enough upside to justify giving up on the vets who are here to teach as well as play.