"We don't need no stinkin' stars." That's not an actual quote from anyone on the Arizona Diamondbacks Opening Day Roster, but it sure does fit the group. There's an interesting mix here of young players who could turn into legit All-Stars along with a group of aging players who "play the right way".
The strategy is built on an understanding that this team, no matter what they did this offseason, wasn't going to be winning any pennants. Do you want to throw in more young players like Brandon Allen or do you go with the vets as part of a longer term plan to remake the culture of the team and give those young stars some adult supervision?
Kevin Towers and Kirk Gibson obviously took the long view which is refreshing to see in today's sports media-fan environment that demands immediate success. In the end, they will be judged by the results but this year's results won't necessarily be measured in wins and losses. That comes later. Hopefully.
Here's how the roster breaks down (courtesy of AZ Snakepit):
- C Miguel Montero / Henry Blanco
- 1B Juan Miranda / Russell Branyan
- 2B Kelly Johnson
- SS Stephen Drew
- 3B. Melvin Mora
- LF Xavier Nady / Gerardo Parra
- CF Chris Young
- RF Justin Upton
- IF/OF Willie Bloomquist
- IF/OF Ryan Roberts
- Ian Kennedy
- Daniel Hudson
- Joe Saunders
- Barry Enright
- Armando Galarraga
- J.J. Putz (closer)
- David Hernandez
- Aaron Heilman
- Juan Gutierrez
- Sam Demel
- Kam Mickolio
- Joe Paterson
If you count up those names you will notice there's only 24 on the list. Kirk Gibson was coy before today's final exhibition game against Club de Baseball Tigres de Quintana Roo.
With Stephen Drew still hampered by an abdominal strain he might opt for an extra infielder such as Tony Abreu who is reportedly on waiver. If he clears waivers the team could put him on the roster. Otherwise, they could either turn up another short stop from somewhere or just go with a Joe Paterson as the lefty in the pen. All will be answered in a few hours, please try and contain your anxiety.
[Note by Seth Pollack, 03/30/11 3:28 PM MST ]
And it's official, the 25-man Opening Day roster is set.
Tony Abreu cleared waivers but will start in AAA Reno along with Esmerling Vasquez and Brandon Allen. Joe Paterson will be the only lefty in the pen.
Gibby is confident that J.J. Putz is healthy and will be the closer on Friday in Colorado. He pitched well today (faced one batter) and his split-finger had good sink. The team is headed out of town this afternoon and will spend tomorrow working out in Denver before Opening Day on Friday.
If Stephen Drew can't go, Bloomquist or Roberts will play short. Needless to say, the team is a bit thin behind Drew with Abreu not impressing enough to make the roster and hot young prospect, Chris Owings still a few years away.