Saturday, March 24, 2007

The rambler is BACK!

I know I've been gone all offseason, but I've mostly done it to avoid the media circus that is the MLB offseason, and the hot stove. So a lot has changed in the world of the Diamondbacks. Gone is Gonzo, who's now signed with our hated divisional rivals, the Dodgers. And instead of blocking our top prospects, he's thankfully blocking the Dodgers. Gone too is Craig Counsell, signed with the Brewers. Also gone is Miguel Batista, who signed an outrageous 3 year, 25m contract to provide solid mediocrity for the Mariners.

The diamondbacks made two big trades. First, Josh Byrnes traded catcher Johnny Estrada, (along with Claudio Vargas and Greg Aquino) for veteran lefty starter Doug Davis, solid lefty starting prospect Dana Eveland, and OF Dave Krynzel. At first glance, the trade seems like a wash, as Davis was in the last year of his contract.

Davis has posted 200+IP regularly over the last few years, while posting a serviceable ERA. If he can cut down on the walks, and rely on the solid AZ defense he should do well in Arizona. In addition, GM Josh Byrnes quickly signed Davis to a three year, 22m extension, keeping him in Arizona through 2009.

Dana Eveland, who hasn't had much success in his limited time in MLB, has posted some mighty fine numbers in the minor leagues. Only 23 years old, with less than a year of MLB service time, Eveland has a minor league record that consists of an ERA of 2.69, with K/BB ratio of 382/115. His k/9 is 9.02, and he's given up less than a homer every nine innings. That's one stellar track record. The only knock on Eveland is physique, which many have compared to David Wells. We're not trying to sell jeans here, we're trying to win baseball games.

Dave Krynzel, a former first round draft pick, at first glance seemed to be a thrown in, as he has been described as both a "bust" and a AAAA player. However, Krynzel has made quite the showing in Spring Training, and may crack the opening day roster, with Jeff Davanon expected to be on the DL, and RF Carlos Quentin suffering from a slight tear in his labrum.

Then of course, Josh Byrnes traded Vizcaino, minor league pitchers Ross Ohlendorf, Stephen Jackson, and Middle Infielder Alberto Gonzalez for..... Randy Johnson. Yes, the same Randy Johnson who we know and love for his four cy youngs, and his world series MVP. Johnson had a poor year for the Yankees, winning 17 games, albeit with an ERA over 5. However, all of his peripherals suggest that that was largely due to bad luck, and a bad back. Most experts are expecting Rj to rebound nicely, with an ERA somewhere in the 3.5-4.0 range.

Josh Byrnes also managed to claim Alex Eomero, a mighty fine OF prospect off waivers from the Twins. All though he's not as good as our more heralded out field prospects like Chris Youing, Quentin, Upton, Or Gonzalez, he should make a servicable 4th outfielder, along the lines of Jeff Davanon.

And finally, there was one big change. Gone are the days of purple, teal, and copper. They have been replaced by Sedona Red and Sonoran Sand. The old colors, logos, and uniforms have been discarded in favor of much more fashionable uniforms, colors, and logos. This is truely a new era of baseball. I'm glad to be writing about the team again as the season draws closer. In my next article I will go over the starting position players, rotation, and bench.

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