The Outfield: It was already the most jumbled part of the Diamondbacks roster, and today, it gets even more confusing. So many hitters, so few spots. So who is it? Which three (of the no less than five) would be on the lineup card today?
Left Field: In Arizona there have been a few sure things, and one of them is Luis Gonzalez. The face of the Diamondbacks, and even more so since the departure of Randy Johnson, Gonzalez is hitting third in the order, and playing his mediocre brand of left field, until he's retired or dead. Rumors of potential trades are false, rumors of a potential benching are ludicrous. Gonzo is there on opening day.
Center Field: As of yesterday, it was Shawn Green...by default. As of yesterday Green was headed back out to center, a position he has neither the speed nor the instincts for. As of yesterday the Arizona Diamondbacks outfield was the worst in baseball.
But that was yesterday.
Today the Diamondbacks will announce that they traded Javier Vazquez for Orlando Hernandez and a young minor leaguer by the name of Chris Young. Chris Young. Hear it, listen to it, believe it. Regularly regarded as an incredible talent, scouts get all mushy when they talk about the specifics of his game.
"He can do absolutely everything," one scout said after watching Young in the Arizona Fall League, "I had heard stories about him, but hadn't seen him until he got here. He got the best jumps on the ball of any outfielder in the league, might have been the fastest guy too."
Another was equally impressed, "This guy is a Major League talent. He's just starting to show his power, and it's just going to keep coming, because he generates all of it with his wrists. As he starts to realize that, he's going to move less and less in the box, and that's going to make him so dangerous."
Managers and coaches have raved about his work ethic, and in the AFL his ability to make adjustments in the afternoon, and incorporate those adjustments into that night's game, was incredible. He's everything you could want in a center fielder, great defense, some power, incredible speed, and smart. Welcome to Arizona Mr. Young, hope to see you here for quite a while.
Right Field: And then all hell broke loose. Pick your poison.
Shawn Green is a veteran with a track record. He has power, will hit .280, and plays an above average right field, with one of the most accurate (if not incredibly strong) arms in baseball.
Chad Tracy is a budding star in this league, he's putting on weight to give him even more power, and like Green, he's a left handed bat. He will likely hit for a higher average than Green, and strike out less. His right field defense isn't much, but has improved, though he will never have a right fielder's arm.
Carlos Quentin has been one of the top three prospects in the Diamondbacks organization since he signed with the organization. He has power, better speed than either Green or Tracy, a cannon arm in right. He has massive potential, and some believe he will eventually be a consistent .320/35/115 Major Leaguer. He has calmly waited his turn, even playing center field for the last two months of the 2005 season in Tucson, just to prove he could. Many, including those of us here at FutureBacks.com, believe that when all three of these players have retired, a stats comparison will have Quentin far outdistancing either of the other two.
So if the season started today, the Diamondbacks starting right fielder would be...
Yes, yes it would. Green starts for one simple reason, because he's making about $7 million more than the other two combined. Now, just so everyone understands, Green is going to be dealt, probably to the Chicago Cubs, in the next couple of days. But today, right now, Green is your starting right fielder.
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