Let’s get to what all this means.
Reign Nelson and Dre Jameson made the team
General Manager Mike Hazen and Manager Torey Lovolo raised the possibility of making the team a few days earlier, and it really did.
Nelson will be the No. 5 player, with Jameson at the start.
“[Nelson] Hazen said about what separates the two. “So when the games were important and they were real, he did a really good job. We thought he had improved as the spring went on. Early on it was a little challenging, but we felt like he kept making continual improvements, this will be his chance and hopefully he’ll deal with it.”
Despite this, Jameson was also impressive and secured a spot.
“Knowing where the playing field is important [for starters] it will be, [it] I felt like having a tall guy in the pen who could give us some length was a bit of a help, Hazen said. “Look, we felt he was one of our 13 best pitchers, and at the end of the day, we just made that decision.”
Jameson is the savior for now
Just because he opens the season in the bullpen, don’t discount the possibility that Jameson will start this year or in the future. D-backs will be looking to keep him stretched out early in the season, pitching multiple innings so he can jump into the rotation if needed.
Jameson enjoys the stuff to be an assistant of late, so it may turn out that he plays so well in the role that he stays in it, as Archie Bradley did in 2017. But that’s not yet clear.
“We know what he brings to the table and what we look for in our pen, and he has the wherewithal to do that,” Hazen said. “He also has the wherewithal to do that as a junior pitcher.”
Kyle Lewis broke it this spring
The D-back was a lot like Smith, and was their first true backup man. It was a great spring as well, but Lewis’ performance was just too good to ignore.
Another factor is that Arizona will see a number of left-handed starters early in the season, and Lewis allows them to use a right-handed batter in the designated hitting spot.
“It had an incredible spring,” Hazen said. “I think we’re going to get a lot of lefties out of the chute based on how we think the rotation lines up against us. I suspect [his] The power element is something we’ve talked about and not necessarily possessed, and it can represent that to us in a number of ways.”
The backup catcher role has not been set yet
Higgins’ reassignment seemed to mean Jose Herrera would fill the backup catcher role, but Hazen said there were still “other balls in the air.”
Hazen declined to say what that means, but it’s possible the D-backs have an interest in a catcher they know is subject to waivers or will be placed on waivers. Maybe a catcher is set for the job and the club feel they can make a deal for him.
The same goes for the final spot
As of right now, the only two players still in the running for a spot are Ryan Hendricks and Carlos Vargas, and there’s one spot left on the to-do list, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be one of those two.
“There’s a lot going on outside this time of year and we’re still at least at the top,” Hazen said.
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