The Arizona Diamondbacks 2009 season ended three days ago with a record of 70-92. That may be the most positive thing I’ve said about the Dbacks all season.
Now the work begins to put together a team for 2010. You will see a lot of familiar faces and a lot of fresh ones as well. The changes have already started. The Diamondbacks released first base coach Lorenzo Bundy and third base coach Chip Hale a couple of days ago. To me, not real surprising given the base running blunders that took place throughout the season.
Here is my prediction of the opening day lineup in 2010:
1st Base – Brandon Allen. No he’s not a cousin I’m rooting for, however even though general manager Josh Byrnes wouldn’t commit to him the other day, saying that they liked some things he did, however left an impression that they were expecting a lot more out of him at the end of the season. If Allen can’t get it done in Spring Training, it will be interesting to see if Conor Jackson is put back at first with the logjam in the outfield.
2nd Base – Sounds like it may be a platoon situation with Ryan Roberts, Augie Ojeda and possibly Rusty Ryal. Manager A.J. Hinch hinted on his weekly show on KTAR yesterday that Ryal could be destined for the bench, at least at first. That actually might not be a bad idea. Roberts is a competitor and I like his fire. I hope he catches some next season.
Shortstop – It’s all Stephen Drew. I hope he can manage to stay healthy and hit lead-off all season. That’s where he seemed to be most comfortable.
3rd Base – Mark Reynolds. He improved his overall defense in 2009, although he still had lapses of “what the heck was he doing there?” moments. Certainly hitting 44 HR’s and over 100 RBI’s will keep you in the lineup.
Outfield – Justin Upton, Chris Young, Gerardo Parra. Those will be your starters. I don’t think the Chris Young experiment is over yet. He caught some fire at the end of the year and hopefully he can carry that into next season. I guarantee you the Dbacks won’t wait until August again to see if he gets going before sending him down. If he isn’t hitting .250 by mid-May, he’s gone – for good.
Catcher – Miguel Montero. If there was one guy I thought gave the most to the team and did the most for himself in 2009, it was Montero. Most definitely the most improved player on the team. Will the Dbacks give up on Chris Snyder? If Montero keeps hitting the way he does, Snyder will be hard pressed to get into the lineup every 3-4 days. Sure Montero will need a backup, but will Snyder sit on the bench more often instead of maybe someone like Jon Hester? I don’t think so.
Pitching rotation – Dan Haren, Brandon Webb, TBA, TBA, TBA. Maybe the most uncertain area of the team going into next season. Max Scherzer has left some with doubts he can last more than 5 innings in a game on a consistent basis. He may be destined for the bullpen. Doug Davis is all but gone in free agency. Yusmeiro Petit showed a little promise, but nothing to write home about. Billy Buckner might compete for a spot, however I guarantee you if there is a better pitcher on the market or available in a trade spot, the Dbacks will most likely go that direction first.
Bullpen – Your guess is as good as mine. Who knows? From the sounds of it Chad Qualls and Juan Gutierrez have spots for next season. Probably Clay Zavada and maybe Daniel Schlereth.
Say goodbye to for sure: Chad Tracy, Eric Byrnes, Doug Davis, Yusmeiro Petit
May be a mid-season replacement: Trent Oeltjen, Jerrod Parker
Go Dbacks in 2010!!!