The Diamondbacks’ inclusion of Ender Inciarte in the Shelby Miller trade has pushed Yasmany Tomas back into the spotlight, writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Tomas’ disappointing rookie season was overlooked, to an extent, because the D-backs had three excellent outfielders with Inciarte, A.J. Pollock and David Peralta all delivering excellent contributions. That won’t be the case in 2016, as Tomas will now be asked to step up and contribute on an everyday basis. As Piecoro notes, Tomas is still young and didn’t play in 2014 as he defected from Cuba, nor had he ever faced big league pitching. Any of those factors could have contributed to his struggles, but Tomas will need to improve in the field and also show better plate discipline and increased power output if he’s to live up to the expectations that came with his $68.5MM contract.
Here’s more from the NL West…
- The Padres’ top priority is still finding a shortstop, general manager A.J. Preller tells Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link). Preller notes to Lin that the offseason is still relatively young. Teams do have more than two months before position players report to camp, of course, and most of the shortstop options that were available to Preller back in October are indeed still available now. (Notably, Asdrubal Cabrera has come off the board, and Brad Miller has gone to Tampa Bay in a trade — though he could of course be moved again.) Ian Desmond remains the top name on the free-agent market, though Preller hasn’t been shy about making trades in his short time as GM, and that avenue presents more options.
- In a full column, Lin notes that the Padres never made third baseman Nobuhiro Matsuda a formal offer. Matsuda reportedly has a five-year offer to return to Japan, and the Padres are under the impression that he’ll do just that, Lin hears. Lin also spoke with Preller about the team’s surprising Major League deal for career minor-leaguer Buddy Baumann, and Preller also told him that Brandon Morrow will be competing for a rotation job rather than a bullpen spot this spring.
- Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post spoke to both Rockies GM Jeff Bridich and rehabbing closer Adam Ottavino about Ottavino’s recent three-year extension. The contract turned some heads, as multi-year deals for relievers always come with risk, and on top of that inherent risk, Ottavino is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery. “We believe in him, we believe in his rehab progress,” said Bridich. “We believe that the risk was a good one, based on his talent, his health prognosis and the shared interest in an extended deal.” Ottavino said that he had assumed he’d be going year-to-year, especially after the injury, so he was pleasantly surprised to be approached by the team. “I have been playing for a really long time and I’ve never had anything more than a one-year situation,” said Ottavino to Saunders. “So it feels good to know that coming back from the injury that I don’t have to be back by a certain date.” Ottavino said he knows he won’t break camp with the club and isn’t placing an exact timeline on when he thinks he should return. Bridich said Ottavino could return by June or July, though that’s obviously a very early estimate.
- Rockies shortstop prospect Trevor Story has the potential to impact the Major League team in 2016 and possibly even on Opening Day, depending on the outcome of Jose Reyes’ domestic violence investigation, writes MLB.com’s Thomas Harding. Story, 23, rebuilt his stock in dramatic fashion last season, slashing a combined .279/.350/.514 with 20 homers between Double-A and Triple-A after falling off the prospect map somewhat with an ugly showing at Double-A in 2014. Story spoke to Harding about how much of an impact that Troy Tulowitzki had on his career and how much he learned from the former franchise cornerstone.