Trot Nixon worked out for the Diamondbacks in Tucson yesterday. The contact with the club was initiated by Nixon, and scouts from Toronto, Seattle and the LA Dodgers also observed.
"He looked good," D-Backs general manager Josh Byrnes said of Nixon.
"We’re going to talk about it. Probably the big issue is ‘Trace.’ If
our health returns, we are fine. But if we get more injuries, that
would make you a little worried."
Arizona said it was unlikely to sign a veteran free agent as a
short-term fill-in, and would have to run through that scenario with
Nixon before talks got serious.
This brings me to the one issue that has been bothering me all winter which is the club’s (at least public) lack of concern over the loss of Tony Clark. I half expected them to re-open talks with Clark after Chad Tracy’s injury proved more serious than first thought. When that didn’t happen the other half or me expected them to maybe go after Mark Sweeney.
In losing Clark they lost a powerful left handed hitter off the bench, a reliable above average back-up at first base as well as a team leader and veteran (you can never have too many of them). Clark ended up signing a smaller deal with division rival San Diego (another DOH!) than the one that was initially offered to him by the Diamondbacks.
I know that Robby Hammock has played everything except third line trombone, but he has exactly TWO games at first base as a major leaguer under his belt, and he doesn’t come close to being the long ball threat that Clark had been.
Is Nixon the answer? I don’t know. Certainly he isn’t a first baseman, but for a team that many feel is going to have to bump up their run production in order to keep pace this year, he could bring some of the intangibles back that they lost with Clark. Failing to address this issue is one off-season move I hope the D-Backs don’t end up wishing they hadn’t made.
I’m just sayin’, you know?
Now that the brouhaha over the new uniforms is over, and the news duds have officially been declared a dud, it’s time to get back to the real business of baseball as wunderkind Josh (no relation to Eric) Byrnes heads off to GM meetings where instant replay is on the agenda.
The Diamondbacks are admittedly looking for starting pitching but with the caveat of a $10 million dollar cap offer and the expressed desire not to extend a long term contract that is likely to come about via trade rather than free agency. This makes Arizona’s’ purported bid for Korean pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, as well as any other free agent pitcher not considered a health risk, even more puzzling – that is, unless there is something the Arizona front office hasn’t been telling us (like they found an extra five or ten million dollars in Jerry Colangelo’s empty sock drawer). It’s hard to imagine the D-backs would outbid teams like the Yankees, Mets or Red Sox (and there are rumours the Red Sox bid $31 million dollars just to TALK to the guy). Expect catcher Johnny Estrada to be dangled as trade bait as well as some of the plethora of young talent in the Diamondbacks’ minor league system.
The Diamondbacks have filled their last remaining coaching vacancy. Kirk Gibson has signed a two year contract to replace Jay Bell as bench coach. Gibson knows both how to win (with the Tigers in 1984 and the Dodgers in 1988) and how to lose (as the Tigers’ bench coach 2003-2005). His gritty determination will make him a great role model for all the young players on the big league roster, I think.
On a non-Diamondbacks related note: the Astros have signed Craig Biggio, who needs 70 more hits to reach 3,000, for another year. This allows me one more season to share one of my favorite blogs, Plunk Biggio, which follows Biggio’s quest to break the all time major league career record for getting hit by pitches. Honestly, there are so many numbers over there it will make your head swim, but the trivia is kinda cool!
Now, come on, boys! Let’s go get some pitching!