For eight years the name Luis Gonzalez was synonymous with the Arizona Diamondbacks. After the 1998 season the Diamondbacks were looking to re-tool. In what has been to date the best trade in franchise history, General Manager Joe Garagiola Jr. sent Karim Garcia to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for journeyman outfielder Luis Gonzalez and cash.
It was a perfect fit. The team received a left fielder who blossomed into a power hitting giant and Gonzalez found a home and a fan base who appreciated his skills. From almost the moment he arrived Gonzalez became a fan favorite for his gritty play and his community work on and off the field.
The Arizona Diamondbacks continue to make minor adjustments to their roster leading up to pitchers and catchers reporting three weeks from today. As rumored, the Diamondbacks completed a trade with the Detroit Tigers that brought starting pitcher Armando Galarraga to the desert in exchange for two minor leaguers.
The deal, which was completed just before 2 PM local time, added another right-hander to the Diamondbacks pitching staff that will compete for a spot in the starting rotation. Before the deal the rotation looked to be LHP Joe Saunders, RHP Ian Kennedy, RHP Daniel Hudson, LHP Zach Duke, and RHP Barry Enright. RHP Aaron Heilman was signed last week and promised an opportunity to compete for a rotation spot.
When the Detroit Tigers signed starting pitcher and former Arizona Diamondback Brad Penny to a contract it began a domino effect that is still rumbling around Major League Baseball. In order to make room for Penny on the 40-man roster, the Tigers designated starting pitcher Armando Galarraga for assignment.
This is the same Galarraga who received national attention last season when his bid for a perfect game was broken up by a questionable call by first base umpire Jim Joyce. Both Galarraga and Joyce showed humanity and compassion after Joyce admitted his mistake and Galarraga accepted the umpire’s tearful apology.
When the Diamondbacks signed Stephen Drew and Joe Saunders, it left two arbitration eligible players remaining on the 40-man roster. Starting catcher Miguel Montero and second baseman Kelly Johnson exchanged salary figures with the team as part of the arbitration process.
The Arizona Diamondbacks added to their beleaguered pitching staff by resigning right-hander Aaron Heilman worth a reported $2 million. Heilman was one of the very few bright spots for the Diamondbacks bullpen last season, which ranked at the bottom of nearly every category.
After a disappointing 2010 campaign Heilman entered the free agent market hoping to ink a multi-year deal. Unfortunately the economics of the game found few suitors for the right-hander’s services.
During the media preview of Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers announced the team had come to terms with two of its four arbitration eligible players.
Starting pitcher Joe Saunders agreed to a one-year deal worth approximately $5.5 million. This is Saunders final year of arbitration and is eligible to become a free agent after the 2011 season. After his trade to Arizona as part of the Dan Haren deal Saunders pitched well but came up short in run support leading to a 3-7 with a 4.25 ERA.
Yesterday we began coverage of the media preview of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies new Spring Training facility Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. In the first part of the tour we focused on the stadium itself and the amenities that are part of the fan experience.
Today we will pick up the tour with the Colorado Rockies clubhouse and offices followed by the Diamondbacks equivalent. These are areas usually off-limits to the casual fan so I was very excited to be able to see the facilities and get a glimpse into what it might be like for the players.