MLB: AZ Diamondbacks Begin Evaluating Players
With a playoff berth out of reach this year for the AZ Diamondbacks, the front office has shifted its sights to fielding a roster for 2015. As of this posting there are 46 games left and this final stretch will be important for at least five Diamondbacks players. The front office will be determining their possible spot on the 2015 roster.
Let’s take a look at those the five players:
Cliff Pennington missed over two months following a June surgery to repair a sprained ligament in his left thumb. He does serve as infield depth and is a great teacher for other players, but with Jake Lamb, Didi Gregorius, Chris Owings, Nick Ahmed and minor league prospect Brandon Drury in the mix, it has become a crowded infield. Pennington brings a solid game defensively and is able to steal bases when he gets on, however his batting average is low and he does not bring much power to the plate. He will be a free agent in 2015, so it will be interesting to see what the Diamondbacks do with Pennington.
Aaron Hill, if he is not traded during the waiver deadline on August 31st, is another player the front office will have to look at. This has been a down year for Hill. Some speculate that it is the hand injury he suffered last year and that he has not fully recovered. We know the Diamondbacks tried to trade him before the July 31st trade deadline, but could not complete a deal. Hill will turn 33 in March and signed a contract in 2013 that will keep him under contract through the 2016 season. The need for a power-hitting second baseman, especially for a team that wants to be in the hunt for the playoffs, is always needed, but the Diamondbacks need to keep Hill for the 2015 season unless someone offers a deal that the front office cannot pass up.
Cody Ross is the other position player that will be under the microscope throughout the remainder of this season. He has been on the DL since July 22nd. He was hitting .358 with three doubles, a home run and four RBI in the 25 games prior to being assigned to the 15-day disabled list, for a left calf strain. It has been a long season for Ross and if/when he comes off the DL we will see if he is put through waivers and the Diamondbacks try to trade him. It is possible when the season ends Ross will be released by the Diamondbacks.
As for pitchers, Randall Delgado who started the season as a starter, was replaced after two horrendous starts, had not allowed a run in five consecutive outings in relief until the Pirates series. Although his ERA is over 5.00, he has lowered that from 7.58 since moving to the bullpen. It looks like the Diamondbacks have found a spot for him as a long reliever. He has been working with bullpen coach Mel Stottlemyre, Jr (in side sessions) with his setup and delivery in order to better develop a breaking ball to go along with a 93-95 MPH fastball and occasional curveball. He is only 24 and it makes sense for the Diamondbacks to keep him around.
The last player to look at is Trevor Cahill. He has a huge contract and if the Diamondbacks are going to trade him, they will have to pick up some of his salary. He is on the books for $12 million in 2015. Cahill will turn 27 in March. The Diamondbacks demoted him earlier in the year, first to the bullpen and then all the way down to Class A, in an attempt to get him back on track. Since coming back up to the big leagues, Cahill’s results have been encouraging, and if he can continue his progress over his final starts, he could build up his confidence as well the team’s belief in him. If the Diamondbacks are unable to trade him, he will most likely be on the 2015 roster.
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