26 March 2012
The Diamondbacks selected RHP Brett Lorin in last December's Rule 5 draft, and need to make a decision on his future with the organization within the next week or so. If Lorin is not on the Opening Day roster, he must be offered back to the Pirates for $25,000, or the two teams can try to work out a trade so that Lorin can stay in the Diamondbacks' organization. The team has been impressed with Lorin, but right now, there just doesn't seem to be any space for him.
Lorin, 24, is a tall (6-7) righthander who throws in the low 90s, with excellent command of a sinker and slider. His tall frame gives him a good downward plane on his pitches, and his pitching repertoire keeps the ball on the ground. Lorin has made six appearances during Spring Training in 2012, and has solid overall numbers - 7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K. The only runs he has allowed were last Friday on a two-run inside-the-park homer off the centerfield wall by A.J. Pierzynski. Manager Kirk Gibson praised Lorin last week, saying "He's sneaky. He's 6-7 and he got up to 90-92 (mph) today. That's getting on you quick. That's the thing about radar readings, you see guys who throw really hard and guys are all over it, you see guys who are 88-90 and they take bad swings at it. There's something about it."
The Diamondbacks expect to carry 12 pitchers, 5 starters and 7 relievers. The 5 starters are set, with Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Josh Collmenter, Trevor Cahill, and Joe Saunders. At first, there was some thought that since the team does not need a 5th starter until April 15th, the Diamondbacks could send down Collmenter and carry an extra reliever for the first ten days. But now Collmenter has been named as the #3 starter, and the team would not send Saunders to AAA to open the year.
So that just leaves spots for the 7 relievers. J.J. Putz and David Hernandez will certainly hold down the closer and setup roles. After those two, two slots should go to the side-arming pair of Brad Ziegler (RHP) and Joe Paterson (LHP). The final three positions are expected to be Takashi Saito, Craig Breslow (LHP), and Bryan Shaw. Saito brings another reliever with closing experience, while Breslow gives Gibson another lefthander in the bullpen. Neither has been particularly impressive in Spring Training (Saito: 7.71 ERA, 7 IP, 10H, 2 BB, 4K; Breslow: 7.11 ERA, 6.1 IP, 6H, 3 BB, 4K) but both still should be safe on the roster. The final pitcher, Bryan Shaw, was excellent for the Diamondbacks in 2011 (2.54 ERA, 24K/8 BB in 28.1 IP), but has also struggled this spring, with a 9.53 ERA and just one strikeout in 5.2 IP. But would that be enough to option him back to the Minors? It shouldn't be, but it might give the team some extra time to make a decision on Lorin.
So what will happen with Brett Lorin? I don't think the team will send down Shaw or release Breslow to keep Lorin on the roster. And of course, there are still questions as to whether Lorin is ready to make the huge jump from High A to the Majors. But I think the Diamondbacks would like to keep Lorin in the organization. So I think the most likely scenario is that the Diamondbacks will try to work out a trade with the Pirates. LHP Mike Zagurski, who has also been impressive in Spring Training (1.42 ERA, 6.1 IP, 2 BB, 7K) and is out of options, would perhaps be of interest to the Pirates. But Zagurski is already 29, and the Pirates would probably be more interested in a younger prospect. Most likely, a mid-level player at the A or AA level would be sufficient to retain Brett Lorin.