Too Many Snakes in the (Outfield) Grass… Again
If Bob Melvin is a thinking man, he knows he has a decision to make that he might not have been expecting at the beginning of spring training. As of now, Byrnes, Young, Quentin, Hairston and DaVanon are the Diamondbacks outfield. But what of Dave Krynzel? He’s out of minor league options and he’s had a very good spring. With DaVanon, and possibly Quentin, starting the season on the DL, there should be a spot for Krynzel on the Opening Day roster. But when one or both of the injured players come back, Krynzel may find himself squeezed out.
Now it makes no sense at all for the Diamondbacks to have gotten him at all if they weren’t going to be able to use him. So there are two possibilities as I see it: a trade or a displacement of one of the other outfielders.
There’s a lot to be said for keeping Krynzel. First of all, he’s left-handed. Of the current outfielders, only Jeff DaVanon can bat lefty. But who knows when he’ll be back? Then there is Krynzel’s aforementioned lack of options. The problem with trading such a player is that the other teams know the situation and will not want to give up anyone of substance for a player they can claim on waivers. And then there are the spring performances.
As of today Krynzel is batting .333; his on-base percentage is .404, and his slugging percentage is .564. He has also stolen four bases without being caught. On the other hand, Chris Young is batting .242, with an on-base percentage of .299 and a slugging percentage of .387. He has stolen 2 bases and has been caught once. Young has had the most plate appearances of anyone on the team: 68. (Hairston has had 64). Krynzel has had 47. Clearly, Bob Melvin’s interest has been in getting Chris Young on track. But Young hasn’t had nearly the spring that all the other outfielders, except DaVanon, have had.
It would make sense to send Young, who still has options, back to Triple-A and keep Krynzel. Krynzel can play both the corner outfield positions; Quentin plays right and Hairston plays left. That would mean moving Eric Byrnes back to centerfield, which is his favorite position. And it makes a lot of sense to have the veteran Byrnes there as the captain of the outfield, positioned between two rookies.
There is one "problem" with this scenario. Krynzel is a young man trying to remake his career after falling from a motorcycle and from grace with his former team, the Milwaukee Brewers. There is a lot of hype surrounding Chris Young, who being young, black, and wearing number 24 in centerfield, has been compared to the young Willie Mays after he made a couple of circus catches late last season. The Diamondbacks had him pegged for centerfield this year from before the start of last year, which is why they only signed Eric Byrnes for one year; they needed a rent-a-centerfielder. But Byrnes gave them more than they were expecting, and now I think Krynzel has, too. Young may be very talented, but it would be a grave disservice to the man to rush him to the big leagues because of hype, as well as a disservice to Krynzel, Byrnes, and the Diamondbacks as a team.