We Got Glaus...So Now What?

<i>Nichols might be the biggest winner</i>

Troy Glaus is a Diamondback, and everybody in Phoenix is smiling, but puzzled and confused looks might emerge soon. The stocked Diamondbacks farm system has quite a few players who play third (where Glaus will stay) and first (where Chad Tracy will go). Managing Editor James Renwick breaks down the winners, losers, and the rest of the players and prospects affected by today's signing.</i>

So we got Troy Glaus.  The question now for D'Backs fans is what happens to the prospects?  How does the signing of Glaus affect those in the system already.  A quick breakdown (the clubs listed are where the prospects finished the '04 season) of some of the other players affected by today's signing.

Most Affected  Chad Tracy (Diamondbacks)--The third baseman won't be a third baseman for long.  Even before his debut in 2004 there was speculation that Tracy might be moved to first base for defensive purposes, and now it has become a foregone conclusion.  Tracy has worked at first base in the minors and if you listen closely you can hear Tracy taking ground balls right now.

Most In Need of A Good Year  Sergio Santos (AA El Paso Diablos)--Santos is a shortstop, but his size, limited range and knee problems have led many to believe that he would be shifted to third base sooner than later.  The Diamondbacks had quietly decided that they would give him one (injury free) year to work at short before converting him, and now that year becomes even more important.  If Santos can figure out the defensive side of the shortstop position he stays there, and looks to jump back into the top spot among contenders to take the job away from Alex Cintron (assuming that Stephen Drew does indeed go to the Independent League rather than sign for less than his agent, Scott Boras, thinks he's worth).  If Santos can't figure things out at short, he becomes a very valuable trade commodity to a team looking for a young third baseman.

Biggest Winners  Kyle Nichols/Jesus Cota (AAA Tucson Sidewinders/AA El Paso Diablos)--Nichols and Cota might be the prospects who benefit the most from the deal.  Richie Sexson has been offered arbitration, but barring a complete mental breakdown he won't accept it, and though Tracy will be the starting first baseman, he'll still be a corner infielder without a lot of pop in his bat.  Watch for the Diamondbacks to evaluate both Nichols and Cota and promote one of the two to the big league club to run a (probably partial) platoon at first, since Tracy did not show much promise hitting lefties, and both Nichols and Cota are right handed power hitters who eat lefties alive.

Biggest Loser--Poor Shea Hillenbrand.  After being the best hitter on the Diamondbacks last season his reward will be (at best) a shot at platooning with Tracy at first.  More likely he will be non-tendered and released so as to give younger, (and more importantly for a team with $55 million in deferred payments coming up) cheaper players like Nichols and Cota a chance.

Most Likely to be Fast Tracked  Chris Carter-- (Lo A South Bend Silverhawks)  Carter was dominant at Short Season A Yakima, enough so that he was bumped up to South Bend for the playoff push.  While he is still young and low on the totem pole, he saw so little playing time (at Stanford) before joining the D'Backs system that his rise may continue at a meteoric rate.  He's a first baseman/outfielder with a lot of pop.  Much more in the mold of the prototypical first baseman.  He wouldn't join the club until '06 at least, but if Sexson had signed he might not have had a chance to see the bigs with the Diamondbacks at all.

Most Likely to Change Organizations  Jaime D'Antona (AA El Paso Diablos)--D'Antona was part of the 'Three Amigos' that consisted of Conor Jackson, Carlos Quentin and D'Antona, and was having nearly as impressive a run as Jackson and Quentin until he got hurt during the second half.  Many had projected that D'Antona would overtake Tracy in the near future, but he won't be usurping Glaus.  Watch for D'Antona to get shopped as soon as he becomes 100%, for his own good as well the Diamondbacks.

Most Likely to Find Out '1' Is The Loneliest Number  Tim Olson/Matt Kata/Robbie Hammock (Arizona Diamondbacks)--This trio's value is versatility, but with third base locked down now there's less need for all of them.  The one hurt the most might be Hammock, who was primarily used as a catcher, left fielder, and third baseman, and probably lacks the range to play shortstop.  Kata and Olson both play just about everywhere but with both first and third locked up now there is probably only room on the roster for one of them.  If Kata's healthy he'll probably get the nod, otherwise Olson is the utility guy until further notice.

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