The Arizona Diamondbacks pretty much have most of their roster figured out. Only a few spots are up for grabs. One such spot is the left-handed reliever spot out of the bullpen. There are currently three guys that are battling for that spot, although there is always a chance that more than one could get another bullpen spot. In any case, it means one guy will not be with the major league club.
Lefties Joe Paterson, Craig Breslow and Mike Zagurski are those guys. Zagurski has the toughest shot.
Paterson was with the club a year ago and was fairly effective. In 62 appearances, he posted a 2.91 ERA in 34 innings and a .224 batting average against. More importantly, he held left-handed hitters to a .204 average. He was in his rookie season a year ago, so the team can save him with an option to the minors.
Breslow was acquired in the trade that sent Jarrod Parker to the Oakland A's and brought Trevor Cahill to Arizona.
He was not used so much as a specialist. He faced more righties than lefties and had more success against them. Righties batted .261 while lefties .352. He cannot be optioned.
Zagurski has had three cups of tea in the majors, only amassing 37 appearances since 2007 in the big leagues. He also is out of options.
However, he has been the most effective in spring training. He has a 1.43 ERA in seven appearances and hitters are batting only .143 against him.
Kirk Gibson likes his approach. "He's been good. ... He's aggressive, he doesn't nibble and he goes right at guys," he said. "His side sessions have been great, too. I like him."
What happens remains to be seen. Breslow is the veteran and the team gave up a prize arm as part of the trade that brought him here. Paterson has had success, but has minor league options. Zagurski has neither options nor a track record of success in the majors.
Conventional wisdom says Zagurski will be out of luck. However, they could go with two lefties, keeping Breslow and Zagurski, while sending Paterson down, at least to see if Zagurski can keep up his spring success in the majors. But that could potentially cause another deserving reliever to be sent down or packing.
Whatever happens, we will know soon.
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