Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Too Many Sous-Chefs in the Kitchen 

Yesterday's game against the Rockies didn't have much of note. Villareal pitched OK -- seems like he's still in the race for the #5 spot.

The big news, of course, was that the Diamondbacks cut 12 people from camp. Here's who the Diamondbacks cut:

Justin Wechsler (40-man)
Dustin Nippert (40-man)
Enrique Gonzales (40-man)
Phil Stockman (NRI)
Casey Daigle (NRI)
Donovan Osborne (NRI, released, may sign minor league contract with D-Backs)

Corey Myers (NRI)
Juan Brito (NRI)

Alan Zinter (NRI)

Reggie Abercrombie (40-man)
Josh Kroeger (40-man)
Doug DeVore (NRI)

One indication of how decimated the D-Backs were last year is that these players had 383 AB's last season, or 7% of the team's total.

Of the 48 players left in camp, that leaves:
-- 25 pitchers (7 spots locked up, 18 fighting for 4 spots)
-- 4 catchers (1 spot locked up, 3 fighting for 1 spot)
-- 11 infielders (7 spots locked up, 4 fighting for 0 spots)
-- 8 outfielders (4 spots locked up, 4 fighting for 1 spot)

The problem is that the D-Backs have just 18 games before the Red Sox come to town on the 31st (by which time I would expect the 25-man roster to be set). Unlike the position players, where the competition for the spots are basically two-man competitions (Hill v. Snyder; McCracken v. Hairston), the pitching situation is much more fluid. And in a spring training where thus far no pitcher has appeared in more than 4 games or for more than 10 innings, it begs the question as to whether the D-Backs invited too many pitchers this spring. If you figure that the 4 confirmed starters will get 15 innings apiece in the next 18 games, plus maybe another 10 innings for the 3 bullpen locks, that's maybe just 90 innings left over for the other 18 pitchers. Congratulations, men, you'll get 5 innings apiece!

Even Bob Melvin noted the difficulty of finding innings, talking of Casey Daigle, "Casey's got good stuff, but I just wasn't able to get him innings in thereā€¦"

I suppose the silver lining in all of this is that the injury bug has thus far only nibbled around the edges of the D-Backs' roster, with only Greg Aquino's injury of any sort of concern. But can you imagine if the pitchers (who for the most part have been the ones injured) had been fine? The time competition would've been even worse.

So maybe next year we can dial back the NRIs in hopes of getting a better look at those players we expect to be on the 40-man.

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