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Diamondbacks Offseason Update - December 1, 2009 | December
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As we enter December, let’s take a look at the Diamondbacks’ roster moves to this point, and the performances of some key players in the Fall and Winter Leagues. Additions for 2009: Brandon Webb (injury), Conor Jackson (injury), Brandon Allen, Tony Abreu, Aaron Heilman Subtractions for 2009: Chad Tracy, Doug Davis, Yusmeiro Petit, Doug Slaten, Daniel Cabrera, Ruben Gotay, Scott Maine, Ryne White Pitchers Brandon Webb – As expected, the Diamondbacks picked up Webb’s option for 2010 at $8.5M. Reports are that Webb has completed his rehab throwing assignment, and will be able to begin his usual preparations for the season in January. Outlook: Still on track to be the #1 Starter in 2010. Aaron Heilman – In their first trade of the offseason, the D’backs acquired Aaron Heilman from the Cubs for minor leaguers Scott Maine and Ryne White. Heilman has been used as both as a starter and reliever in his career, but has spent the four years exclusively in relief. Here are his stats for the last 5 seasons: 2005 (NYM): 5-3, 5 Sv, 3.17 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 108 IP, 8.8K/3.1BB, 0.5 HRA 2006 (NYM): 4-5, 0 Sv, 3.62 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 87 IP, 7.6K/2.9 BB, 0.5 HRA 2007 (NYM): 7-7, 1 Sv, 3.03 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 86 IP, 6.6K/2.1 BB, 0.8 HRA 2008 (NYM): 3-8, 3 Sv, 5.21 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 76 IP, 9.5K/5.4 BB, 1.2 HRA 2009 (CHC): 4-4, 1 Sv, 4.11 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 72 IP, 8.1K/4.2 BB, 1.1 HRA Heilman’s best season was probably 2007 with the Mets. Since then, he has a disastrous 2008, and a mediocre 2009. The biggest differences for Heilman are that he gave up way too many walks over the last two years – 5.4/9 IP in 2008 and 4.2/9 IP in 2009, and that he started giving up more Home Runs. . His strikeout rate stayed high, and actually went up over the last two years. Heilman is a slight ground-ball pitcher who throws a 93 mph fastball. According to Fangraphs, he was primarily a fastball-change up pitcher in 2007, but then added a slider in 2008 and mixed in more two-seam fastballs in 2009. His greatest value is that he can fill many roles in the bullpen, and can go multiple innings if needed. The D’backs are hoping he can provide some experience to the bullpen, and re-discovers his performance levels from 2005-2007. Outlook: Set-up Man in the bullpen. Doug Davis – Davis filed for free agency, and is not expected to re-sign with the Diamondbacks. Scott Maine – Maine is a left-handed relief pitcher who was traded to the Cubs as part of the Aaron Heilman trade. He was drafted from the University of Miami in 2007, and moved up to pitch in AA and AAA last season. Maine pitched reasonably well at both levels (AA - 2.66 ERA, 46K/15BB, 2 HR in 47 IP, AAA-3.68 ERA, 15K/7BB, 0 HR in 14.2 IP), but there are some questions as to whether his success will translate to the majors. His fastball does reach the low 90s, but his low arm-slot is deceptive for hitters, and may not be as effective as he moves up. Outlook: Relief Pitcher in AAA for the Cubs. Yusmeiro Petit – Petit was claimed off waivers by the Seattle Mariners. While Petit did have a few outstanding games for the D’backs, his fly-ball tendencies made him a poor fit for Chase Field. Pitching in Seattle, with spacious Safeco Field and an outstanding OF defense led by Franklin Gutierrez, is a good fit for Petit. Outlook: Back of the rotation starter for the Mariners. Doug Slaten – Slaten was claimed off waivers by the Washington Nationals. Slaten is a fairly generic situational lefty – a useful player to have around, but the D’backs have several others like him. Outlook: Relief pitcher for the Nationals. Daniel Cabrera - Cabrera was removed from the 40-Man roster and elected to file for free agency. Cabrera has always had a live arm, but his lack of control has kept him from finding major-league success. Outlook: Will probably get a minor-league contract from some team. Infielders Brandon Allen – Allen did not have a particular good campaign in the Arizona Fall League, ending with a .177/.316 OBP/.274 SLG, with 1 HR, 12 RBI, and 3 SB in 30 games. Allen did lead the AFL with 22 walks, and also hit a 3-Run HR in the AFL Rising Stars game. Although Allen still looks like the team’s 1B of the near future, his AFL stint did not help his chances of starting 2010 in the majors. Outlook: Needs to show a lot in spring training to be the starting 1B in 2010. Some more At Bats in AAA are a strong possibility. Tony Abreu – Abreu has had a mediocre season in the Dominican Winter League, batting .281/.303 OBP/.354 SLG, with 0 HR, 6 RBI, and 17 Runs Scored in 24 games. Also troubling is his 16/2 K/BB ratio, and the relative lack of power – only 5 doubles and 1 triple. Still, Abreu’s track record has proven himself to be Brenda, and should be in the mix for the starting 2B job with the Diamondbacks. Outlook: Starting 2B in 2010. Chad Tracy - The Diamondbacks elected to buyout Tracy's contract for $1M rather than pick up his option for $7M. Ryne White – As you might guess from the first name, White was born in Chicago and was a 4th Round pick out of Purdue in 2008 as a first baseman. He has shown good on-base skills, but not much power – only 13 HR in 186 minor league games, giving him an overall stat line of .275/.366 OBP/.389 SLG between the Rookie Leagues, A, and High-A ball. He’ll be 24 next year, and still has a chance for success at the big league level, but wasn’t really a big part of the Diamondbacks’ plans. Outlook: Playing in AA for the Cubs. Ruben Gotay - Gotay, who hit .272/.429/.450 for AAA Reno in 2009, was signed by the Cardinals to a minor league contract and invited to spring training. Gotay has always had good offensive potential, but has struggled defensively at both 2B and 3B. Lyle Overbay, Nick Johnson - There were rumors of the D'backs trading Chris Snyder to the Blue Jays for Lyle Overbay, but those talks stalled, supposedly over concerns about Snyder's injured back. Nick Johnson has been rumored as a possible free agent signing, but Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks are unlikely to offer the multi-year deal that Johnson is looking for. Outfielders Conor Jackson – After missing most of the 2009 season with Valley Fever, Jackson had a strong showing in the Dominican Winter League, batting .425/.561 OBP/.589 SLG, with 2 HR and 16 RBI in 23 games. Jackson also was a perfect 9 for 9 in stolen base attempts. Outlook: Should be the starting LF or 1B in 2010. Cole Gillespie – Gillespie is a RH OF, who was obtained from the Brewers in the Felipe Lopez trade, and will be 26 in 2010. After struggling in AAA Nashville with the Brewers (.242/.332/.424), Gillespie hit much better in Reno (.304/.418./.514) and followed that with a nice performance in the AFL (.333/.461/.472). Although he has played all 3 OF positions, Gillespie’s arm and shoulder injuries probably make him best suited to LF. He has excellent plate discipline and gap power, but not the raw speed or power to be an impact player. Outlook: 5th Outfielder for the D’backs (especially if Eric Byrnes is moved); otherwise, starting OF in AAA. Trent Oeltjen – Oeltjen was removed from the 40-man roster and outrighted to AAA Reno. The Australian-born Oeltjen became a fan favorite by homering in 3 of his first 4 games, and playing good defense in the outfield. Ultimately, his lack of offense makes him a fringe major leaguers. Outlook: Starting outfielder in AAA. Alex Romero – Romero was also removed from the 40-man roster and outrighted to AAA Reno. He is playing in the Venezuela Winter League and is hitting .342/.412/.393. The lack of power is keeping Romero from major league playing time. Outlook: Starting outfielder in AAA.