One of the greatest advantages that you can have as a front office/manager is a plethora of talent. It can also be one of the toughest situations to deal with when it comes to playing time and stroking the egos of professional athletes.
The Arizona Diamondbacks traded starting center fielder Chris Young to the Oakland A’s in the off season. This roster move still left Arizona with a number of guys on their roster with Major League experience and will lead to a multitude of players fighting for jobs. Justin Upton, Gerardo Parra, Jason Kubel, Adam Eaton and A.J. Pollock all obtained experience last season with the D’Backs and hope to gain more playing time this year.
Should the D’Backs trade one of their outfield assets to solidify their outfield for the future and eliminate any potential rifts between the front office, manager and players?
Or, is this the manager’s job to figure out a way to make it all work and make everyone happy? Is Kirk Gibson responsible for keeping his player’s attitudes in check as they fight for playing time?
If one should go, who should it be? The mercurial, but ultra-talented Justin Upton? The power-hitting, but defensively challenged Jason Kubel? The defensive wizard, but offensively lacking Gerardo Parra? Or the potentially good, but unproven duo of Eaton and Pollock?
If I had to choose today, it would be Parra who would be made available to suitors. He has never been happy with playing the fourth outfield position, although his professionalism during the process has been admirable.
While his defense is outstanding, corner outfielders have to produce offensively and he does not have the pace or range to be an every day center fielder in the Major Leagues. While he hits for a decent average (.273 last season), he doesn’t drive the ball with consistency into the gaps and doesn’t drive in enough runs (36 RBI’s last season in 133 games) to mandate playing a corner outfield position on a starting basis.
If Parra were happy playing as a fourth outfielder, keep him. If not, he is the guy that has to go in my opinion to keep the players happy and understanding their roles going into next season.