"Sure, it feels good anytime somebody shows that they are interested in you,"
Ross Ohlendorf said of finding out he was being traded, along with Steven Jackson, Alberto Gonzalez, and Luis Vizcaino, "I really enjoyed my time in
Arizona though. The coaches I worked with, especially Dan Carlson in
Tennessee, they've been great to me."
Ohlendorf found out about his impending trade the same way most fans did,
through the news.
"A friend of mine sent me an email a few days before Christmas with an
article about the trade, and that was the first time I'd really seen my name,
but I didn't hear anything official from the Diamondbacks until Monday, and the
first time I heard from the Yankees was Tuesday."
Ohlendorf was a highly thought of prospect coming out of Princeton, but it
wasn't until last year that he really emerged as a top of the line prospect, and
Ohlendorf credits that to a maturation process that Carlson, Ohlendorf's
pitching coach in Tennessee, helped expedite.
"I fell into a trap that a lot of pitchers do. I used to get in tough
situations and just try to throw harder. As you move up location becomes
more and more important, and I really started to figure that out this year.
When you reach a certain level, the hitters can hit a fastball no matter how
fast it is if its not in the right spot. The two things that really
changed things for me this past season were my location and my change up."
While names like Micah Owings and Dustin Nippert were consistently thrown
about in speculation in the end it was Ohlendorf who the Yankees chose.
It's a massive stage, but one Ohlendorf isn't completely unfamiliar with.
"It really is one of the most exciting things about the move, because a lot
of the friends I made at Princeton are living in New York now," Ohlendorf says
about the up side of the trade. But even he admits there are levels of
this deal he hasn't necessarily come to terms with.
"I think its going to be a lot of fun, I've been to a few Yankees games, but
I'm not really sure I grasp the full magnitude of pitching there. I think
its going to be a huge challenge to pitch on that kind of a stage."
Generally speaking the Diamondbacks farm system is stocked, and the Yankees
farm system is thin. In the D'Backs system Ohlendorf was the fifth or
sixth ranked pitcher in line, and still probably a season and a half away from
the big leagues. In New York Ohlendorf could be a hot start and an injury
or two away from a Major League uniform and Yankee Stadium and the Red Sox
rivalry and all those statues and a million newspapers. Lest you think
Ohlendorf is intimidated, the focus remains the same.
"Rankings and predictions are great, and there are some guys who check that
stuff, and some guys who always want to tell you about that stuff, but really
those things can change and change pretty quickly. I've got a great
opportunity coming to the Yankees, but I really believe that if I'm good enough
to be successful and good enough to pitch in the Major Leagues, I'll get that
Was that a touch of bitterness? Of course not, Ohlendorf is far too
classy for that.
"The Diamondbacks treated me very well. All of my coaches were great,
and the interactions I had with A.J. Hinch and Josh Byrnes were always very
good. My time with the Diamondbacks has been great. I don't hold a
Ross Ohlendorf is a talented young pitcher who is officially no longer in the Diamondbacks organization. At FutureBacks.com we believe any player worth Randy Johnson is worth one last conversation, so Tuesday we checked in with the player we had ranked as #13 in the D'Backs organization before he shuffles off to Yankees Spring Training in Tampa.
The centerpiece of the Randy Johnson trade says goodbye to D'Backs fans on FutureBacks.com