Diamondbacks Curse in Left Field Continues

Perhaps one of the most lopsided trades in the history of Major League Baseball occurred eleven years ago this month. Fresh after their inaugural season the Arizona Diamondbacks decided to upgrade their team from the mish-mash of players collected from the expansion draft.

One of the more disappointing players from 1998 was right fielder Karim Garcia. He came with a high-upside that never seemed to materialize. As a result he was one of the first players then General Manager Joe Gargiola Jr. attempted to trade.

The Diamondbacks would send Garcia to the Detroit Tigers and in exchange they would receive journeyman outfielder Luis Gonzalez and cash. To this date I cannot type that without stepping back and shaking my head.

Gonzalez would blossom in the Arizona desert having the best years of his career as a Diamondback. He would go on to become a local hero with his winning hit during Game 7 of the World Series while Garcia would fall into obscurity after bouncing around several teams.

At the conclusion of the 2006 regular season, the Arizona Diamondbacks notified Gonzalez he would not be returning the following year. Like that the team discarded the face of their franchise and perhaps the most popular player ever to play there.

Since that time Arizona has tried several people in left field but each time something happens leaving you to wonder, have the Diamondbacks been cursed because of how they treated their favorite son?

After Gonzalez was released the Diamondbacks moved Eric Byrnes to the position. Byrnes had an outstanding season in 2007 and was rewarded with a three-year contract. The plan was for Byrnes to become the new face of the franchise.

In 2008 Byrnes would suffer the first of several injuries that would sideline him for much of the next two years. Now the Diamondbacks are looking for anyone willing to take Byrnes and his contract off their hands. The team is even contemplating releasing Byrnes just for the roster spot.

When Byrnes was injured, the Diamondbacks moved first baseman Conor Jackson to left field. While only adequate in the infield, Jackson thrived in the outfield becoming one of the Diamondbacks most consistent players.

Going into 2009 Arizona slotted Jackson in left field. Unfortunately, he fell victim to a case of Valley Fever which erased the majority of the season and led many to wonder if he would ever be able to play baseball again.

With Jackson down and Byrnes injured the Diamondbacks brought up minor league prospect Gerardo Parra. Given the chance Parra played very well earning rookie of the month honors and giving Arizona some hopes that perhaps they had found their long-term left fielder.

News came out today that Parra who is playing winter ball for Aguilas del Zulia in his home country of Venezuela was injured during a game against the Tiburones de La Guaira. The extent of the injury is not known.

It was reported that the outfielder tore his left thigh muscle. Parra will fly to Phoenix to be examined by the Diamondbacks medical staff. At this point there is no way to know whether Parra will be able to play in 2010 or if he will require surgery and a long recovery.

Perhaps the Baseball Gods are seeking revenge for the one-sided trade for Luis Gonzalez or perhaps this is just a long string of coincidences. All I know for sure is that I would think twice before accepting the job of left fielder for the Diamondbacks. And if I did take the job I would hire a witch doctor to exorcise the demons that seem to be haunting left field.

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