Injuries tend to play a significant role in the destiny of a season. Allowing for such circumstances, teams like to make trades, especially in the off-season, to help stock reserves at both the major and minor league levels.
The Diamondbacks took that step here between seasons to acquire left-handed hitting catcher Chris Herrmann in a deal with the Minnesota Twins. Pundits argue the projected use of Herrmann will be depth at Reno, the Diamondbacks Triple-A affiliate. At the advent of spring training, Herrmann may be in the same situation as catcher Blake Lalli found himself last season in spring training.
Also a left-handed hitting catcher, Lalli managed to hang around until the final week, but then cut. When the season began, manager Chip Hale kept Tuffy Gosewich as his starter and Jordan Pacheco as the back-up.
This time, Hale can turn to Welington Castillo, brought over from the Mariners in an early June trade for Mark Trumbo. The Diamondbacks had their eye on Castillo early as last spring training when the native of San Isidro, Distrito Nacional, Dominican Republic was with the Chicago Cubs. Finally acquiring Castillo, the 28-year-old fulfilled expectations.
In 80 games with Arizona, Castillo hit .255 (70-for-274) with 13 doubles, 17 home runs and knocked in 50 runs. He led National League catchers in home runs, and was good enough for fourth best in the majors.
As value because his bat, Castillo also had a calming effect on the pitching staff. A friend of starter Rubby La Rosa since childhood, Castillo’s easy personality seemed an ideal fit to settle Del La Rosa, known for his emotions and streaks of wildness.
At the winter meetings last month, Hale indicated Castillo would be the Diamondbacks starter behind the plate. However, concern surrounding Castillo could develop. That’s because he seemed to have a propensity for attracting minor ailments. Not the severe kind to keep him out of the line-up for a considerable period of time, but those knocks and bruises which tend to nag.
An ice pack or bandage wrapped around various parts of his body were not uncommon after games. If Castillo can somehow weather which appears as a constant stream of nagging, but minor injuries, he should be in a position to catch around 135 to 145 games. For the Diamondbacks, that would be a significant plus and Gosewisch would serve as the back-up.
Limited to 38 games in 2015 because of a season-ending ACL tear in St Louis May 27, Gosewisch’s command and handling of the pitching staff was missed. Considered a light hitter, his value was determined because of the rapport established with the staff and his attention to detail. While Gosewisch says he is also “team-oriented,” his ability to communicate with the staff is a clear complement to Castillo’s more lethal bat.
That essentially leaves Herrmann destined for Reno. In parts of the last four seasons with the Twins, Minnesota’s 6th-round pick in the 2009 draft, has a career .181 (64-for-353) battign average, six home runs and 33 runs batted in. The combined factors of a weak batting average and unfamiliarity with the pitching staff all point to the Diamondbacks acquiring Herrmann to catch at Reno.
For now, Castillo is the Diamondbacks main man behind the plate. To keep him there, extra precaution should be taken to reserve his health and durability.
FAN FEST COMING
The Diamondbacks will host their 12th annual Fan Fest on Saturday Feb. 20 at Chase Field. The event, scheduled from 12 noon to 4 p.m., offers fans unprecedented access to current players, coaches, alumni and broadcasters, including autograph and photo sessions on the field. Last year’s event drew an estimated 25,000 fans to Chase Field.
Children 12 and under will receive free autographs in a special area, while others can receive access to autograph sessions with a donation to the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation. Online autograph pre-sales for specific sessions will be made available to fans prior to Fan Fest. The first 3,000 fans will receive a SUBWAY® cash card that is loaded with amounts ranging from $1 – $100.
SIGN UP FOR THE CANCER RUN
The Diamondbacks will also host their fourth annual D-backs Race Against Cancer on April 10. The 5K/1 mile walk will wind through the streets of downtown Phoenix and participants will be able to end with a victory lap around the outfield fence at Chase Field prior to the Diamondbacks-Chicago Cubs game, with first pitch at 1:10 p.m.
The 5K will begin at 7:15 a.m. and the 1-Mile Family Fun Walk will start at 8:30 a.m. at Chase Field. Each participant will receive an exclusive D-backs racing shirt, unique finisher medal, D-backs drawstring bag and a ticket for a future D-backs game. Participants are encouraged to register early to take advantage of the $40 early registration for the 5K and $20 for the 1-Mile. Early registration ends on Apr. 2, after which registration will be $50 for the 5K and $30 for the 1-Mile. Registration for children 12 and under to participate in the 1-Mile Family Fun Walk is only $5.