Remember way back in December when Jason Kubel signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks? At the time, many people wondered if the D-Backs would be able to find time among four quality outfielders. After all, Gerardo Parra was coming off a year where he batted nearly .300 with a Gold Glove to his credit. Justin Upton rounded out his stellar 2011 by placing fourth in the National League MVP race. Then of course, we have Chris Young, the “elder statesman” of the group who had just finished his fourth campaign of 20 or more home runs. How would manager Kirk Gibson find enough at-bats for all four men?
Fast forward to today. The Kubel signing by general manager Kevin Towers has proved to be a hit as the 30-year old left fielder has clubbed a career-high 29 homers and also leads the team in RBI’s with 86. As far as finding playing time for everyone, injuries has made four outfielders a necessity. Each guy will finish this season with at least 350 official at-bats. Now, with just 19 games left in this season and Arizona on the fringes of playoff contention, Pacific Coast League Player of the Year Adam Eaton has made an immediate splash since being called up from Triple A Reno. The rookie has collected 10 hits in his first 31 times at bat, good for a .323 average. He has also made several highlight reel plays in the field including this spectacular double play last Sunday. His work has relegated Young to the bench even though CY’s quad injury has just about healed.
It is almost guaranteed that all five of these players will not be on the D-Backs’ Opening Day roster in 2013. We can speculate which ones will stay and which ones will go after the season. The second Wild Card, while a stretch at this point, remains an option. After that, we may witness the busiest offseason in D-Backs’ history.
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