Options Open Up After Non-Tender Deadline

After the passing of the non-tender deadline this past weekend, a new wave of free agents have suddenly become available to teams. This is good news for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

With their modest $6.5 million remaining for player salaries they now have several more players available to fill their remaining roster spots. The question is, which players will the team target and bring to the desert?

In a somewhat surprising move the Pittsburgh Pirates did not tender their closer Matt Capps. While Capps struggled during 2009 he has dominating stuff. He would definitely fit in Arizona’s plans to find a veteran reliever for the back-end of the game.

He has experience closing if Chad Qualls does not come back from his knee injury. If Qualls is healthy, Capps could be used as an eighth inning set-up man moving Heilman to seventh inning duties.

Look for Capps to get a lot of interest from teams and he may be too expensive for Arizona. If Capps is willing and sees a chance that he may be the closer for the Diamondbacks he might just be the missing piece of the Arizona bullpen.

The second intriguing name that became available was Atlanta Braves second baseman Kelly Johnson. Johnson, a first round draft choice in the 2000 draft was the starting second baseman for the Braves until the 2009 season when he lost his position. He is primarily a contact hitter but struggled mightily last year.

Johnson is a good defensive second baseman and would be a step up from either Rusty Ryal or Ryan Roberts the two leading candidates the Diamondbacks have. Augie Ojeda is also in the mix but the Diamondbacks prefer to have him come off the bench.

It should be interesting to watch how many teams show interest in these two players and if Arizona will be able to sign either of them for the 2010 season.


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