Arizona Diamondbacks: Don’t expect much and you won’t be disappointed






Time goes by like pouring rain: Gerardo Parra started his major-league career in 2009 with a five-game hitting streak and nine hits in his first 22 at-bats. He hit .319 in his first month in the majors; unfortunately that’s been the highlight of his two-year career. Parra has few skills — little power, he doesn’t walk and a career average of .277. So far, he looks a lot like he’ll be the next Melky Cabrera. He’ll only be 24 in May, which should be an advantage, but Parra to the Diamondbacks seems more and more like a bad pet to a pet owner: he’s stuck with it for a long time, and dreading it.

I feel I’m knocking on heaven’s door: If Joe Saunders is in it, and if the D’backs just traded for Should Have Been Perfect Armando Galarraga, how hard can the starting rotation be to crack? Not terribly, so expect to see Wade Miley before the year ends. Miley is a 24-year-old lefty whose biggest endorsement might be that he was once drafted by the Rays. Fortunately for Miley, he turned down the Rays and went to Southeastern Louisiana –there’s a lot less competition on the way up the corporate ladder with the D’backs than the Rays. Miley gets better each step he climbs, which is good because he was easy to hit in the low minors. Last year he had a 1.98 ERA after a call-up to AA; if he keeps it up, there’ll be more call-ups in his future.

What is this man doing here? You know there’s not much depth on your team when Willie Bloomquist is in camp. But not only is Bloomquist a Diamondback, he’s on the 40-man roster. Surely, there’s someone in Arizona with more potential to contribute this year, whether it’s broadcaster Mark Grace, broadcaster emeritus Joe Garagiola or retired pitcher Randy Johnson. Somehow Bloomquist has spent all or parts of the last nine seasons in the major leagues, a remarkable achievement when your career-high OPS is .679. The good news for the D’backs? Bloomquist attained that milestone last year for the Royals. The bad news? Neither the Royals nor Mariners, Bloomquist’s last two employers, wanted him back. If they’re not interested, what does that say?

 Outlook:  The Diamondbacks have a new spring training facility, which is nice because after that they’ll be the same old D’backs again — get ready for a third straight season of 90-plus losses. The D’backs’ lineup is likely to include a lot of Melvin Mora and Xavier Nady, and the pitching, apart from very-promising Daniel Hudson and Ian Kennedy, is worse.

(Aside: How much better does Kennedy — 194 innings, 163 hits at age 26 — appear than the Yankees’ other options after C.C. Sabathia and Phil Hughes in the rotation?)

The D’backs flirted with the idea of using a humidor this season, but backed off. Too bad, because the D’backs staff could throw a lot of home runs balls even with the humidor. Apart from Hudson , all four other projected starters threw at least 20 home runs, and only one pitched 200 innings. Galarraga somehow threw 21 in but 144 innings in pitcher-friendly Detroit; rookie Barry Enright threw 20 in just 99 innings for the D’backs.

It sounds like there’s a lot of 11-5 losses this year ahead for the D’backs, and the future doesn’t look any brighter. The farm system is mediocre, Justin Upton will be looking to get out when his six-year anniversary comes up, and 2001 seems more and more distant every year.

Remember when: If only Mariano Rivera had fielded the bunt, if only the infield hadn’t been in (did the Yankees have a choice, even if Tim McCarver called it?). What are the odds of Rivera — 6 errors in 16 big-league seasons — messing up a bunt? And what are the odds of Tony Womack, a .233 World Series hitter, getting a big hit off Rivera?

And who scored the winning run? Hint: He bunted into a fielder’s choice after Rivera erred.  Hint: He had almost 2,000 career hits (1,963) and almost 200 home runs (195) and it was his only World Series appearance. Answer below the link.

That’s Jay Bell scoring the winning run.

Next: Texas Rangers

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