Ryan Roberts was one of the most popular players on the Arizona Diamondbacks. The tattoos, the fact that he worked his way from part time player to starter and his flair for the dramatic all combined to form the identity "Tatman" that the fans gave him. Now traded to the Tampa Bay Rays, he will be missed.
He did not have the same type of success he did in 2011, when he flirted with being a 20/20 player (20 HR, 20 stoleb bases), and the emergence of Ryan Wheeler in the minor leagues made it so his roster spot was needed by other players.
As with any trade or player move, it is hard -- for fans, players and coaches.
Teammate Justin Upton said Roberts "will definitely be missed." "he brought a lot of energy to the clubhouse," he explained.
General manager Kevin Towers said he would miss how Roberts plays with energy and enthusiasm, and also for his ability to come through in heroic moments. "His contributions to our club last year were significant\," said Towers. "I don't know if we would have won our division last year without what he was able to do defensively, offensively and on the basepaths."
Manager Kirk Gibson remembered how Roberts bounced between the major league club and Triple-A, and how his frustration almost led him to leave the game. Gibson convinced him otherwise, saying that he would be back if he worked hard.
Roberts did exactly that, forcing the team's hand to put him on the Opening Day roster in 2011. "He won his spot last year because of the way he played," said Gibby.
Gibby loved Roberts, saying last year at times Roberts was a "knucklehead," but he couldn't deny that "he's always played hard, up til to the last game he played for us."
Said Roberts, "I'll definitey miss the teammates. I'll definitely miss the fans that supported me when things were good and when things were bad."
Now he gets a new start in Tampa Bay. He versatility and his gritty play will keep him in the majors.
It is a sad day for Arizona fans, but we all wish him well in his career and hope we haven't heard the last of Ryan Roberts.
Get more Diamondbacks coverage over at AZ Snakepit.