It is two weeks from the first game of the regular season and the Arizona Diamondbacks are no closer than they were a month ago to choosing a starting shortstop. Both Chris Owings and Didi Gregorius have not done anything worthy to consider themselves the leader in the clubhouse. Owings has a couple of extra base hits with two errors while Gregorius has three hits in 15 at-bats with some solid, if not unspectacular plays in the field. But don’t take it from me. The manager sure seems like he hasn’t made up his mind yet as this quote via Nick Piecoro at azcentral will attest:
“Defensively, I think you’d give Didi an edge, offensively give Owings an edge,” manager Kirk Gibson said, speaking more generally than in specifics about their Cactus League performance. “We knew that going in. Didi’s probably got a little more range, a little more athletic with his arm. C.O. is probably a little more vanilla fielding, but then again, offensively, I would say C.O. probably has a little more in there.”
Shocking, right? Then again, Gibby could have already made up his mind and is being coy about his true feelings. After all, the general belief is that one of these guys could easily be traded by the time April rolls around. Why give even the slightest knock on either Owings or Gregorius? Any small negative connotation brings down their trade value.
At this rate, we may not know who is the starting shortstop until the plane departs Sky Harbor International Airport for Australia. Unless Owings hits for the cycle or Gregorius backflips like Ozzie Smith, these guys will be even for the next ten days. Bold prediction: with management emphasizing on more than one occasion the importance of defense, a need to balance out the lineup and the fact Kevin Towers traded Trevor Bauer for him, Gregorius will be the man at short. What’s your prediction?