Which Arizona Diamondbacks‘ outfielder will not be with the team in 2013? Let’s face it, the organization has a surplus at that position and one of those players can be used to fill needs at Third, Short and pitching.
Jason Kubel? He had a nice first season in Phoenix hitting a career-high 30 home runs to go along with 90 RBI’s.
Gerardo Parra? Relegated to the fourth outfielder spot for much of the season, he still managed 395 at-bats and did win a Gold Glove in 2011.
Chris Young? Got off to torrid start and then injured his shoulder. He was the Center Fielder on two division winning teams.
I am not including Justin Upton and Adam Eaton in this discussion because I believe both of them are staying. So we go back to three guys previously mentioned. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if two of those names are dealt.
Start with Kubel. Last Winter, he signed a 2-year, $15 million deal with a $7.5 million option for 2014. He was the biggest power threat on the club in 2012 and when healthy can be counted on for at least 20-90-.270. At 30, his contract is friendly which makes him attractive for both this team and for other clubs in the D’Backs’ payroll range. His value may never be higher.
Then there is the player Kubel essentially replaced, Parra. At 25, there still may be some room to grow. We know he is a tremendous asset in the field and is respecable at the plate. It would be interesting to see what he could do with more than 550 at-bats and a consistent slot in the lineup. He is not even arbitration-eligible; if does not play full-time in Arizona, he could easily be someone else’s everyday Left or Center Fielder.
Although only 28, CY has been a D’Back mainstay for the last six seasons. He has hit 20 or more home runs in four of those seasons but also has a lifetime .239 average and .311 OPS. To be fair, he was on track for perhaps his best season when he went down on April 17th. Young is due to make $8.5 million in 2013 with an option for $11 million or a $1.5 million buyout for 2014.
These decisions are not easy. As always, money will be a determing factor. Trading your biggest power threat for a team that struggles to score runs would be a huge gamble. Trading an accomplished Major League Center Fielder poses other risks. And dealing a young player who could become an every day star infuriates the fan base. According to this article by Nick Piecoro at azcentral.com, GM Kevin Towers would like more defense and less strikeouts and Manager Kirk Gibson would like to become more athletic. If we are to go by that logic, it will be Parra, Eaton and Upton as the starting trio. That means this team will have to rely on speed and contact more than ever. Oh, yeah a return to form by Upton would certainly help.
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