Monday, December 28, 2009

Diamondbacks Not Sold On Whitesell

On December 13, Josh Whitesell was non-tendered by the Arizona Diamondbacks. What does this mean? It means Whitesell's contract was not renewed and he is now a free agent. It also means that I'll be rooting for him to catch on somewhere else and stick it to the Diamondbacks' organization.

Whitesell will turn 28 in April, so he's still in his prime. The problem lies in is his versatility; he can only play 1st base and DH. And at 1st base, he is just average defensively. I'm thinking the Oakland A's could be a good fit. Jack Cust will likely sign with a new team. Whitesell's main competition would be Daric Barton and Jake Fox, both of whom are unproven players. And we all know that Billy Beane likes guys who can get on base. Whitesell is one of those guys.

Whitesell reminds me a little of Micah Franklin, a JML from the last decade who put up great numbers in the Minors and was only given a taste of MLB in 1997 with the Cardinals. Hopefully, Whitesell's fate will not be the same as Franklin's.

EDIT: Whitesell has signed a Minor League deal with the Washington Nationals, the team that drafted him in 2003 (then the Montreal Expos).

Staying in the NL hurts Whitesell's chances of getting significant playing time, as there is no DH. Still, he would be a defensive upgrade over Adam Dunn at 1st base. As I said before, Dunn is a liability wherever you put him.

If the Nationals moved him back to the outfield and used Whitesell at 1st base, defensively their corner outfielders would take a hit with Dunn and Josh Willingham while their corner infielders would improve with Ryan Zimmerman and Whitesell. And I still believe Whitesell can be a major contributor at the plate if given a fair shake.


William said...

It seems players are just like artists, musicians and writers. There are thousands of talents, many of whom go unnoticed and never get a chance to shine. It's a shame really. Whitesell needs a guy like up in Seattle that gave the big guy (can't bring up his name in my memory) a chance last year at first. I hope Whitesell gets a chance to at least show he does or doesn't belong. For every success in MLB, there are thousands who might have been bright lights if given the chance.

Anonymous said...

And Whitesell, after proving everything in AAA, has not received a real chance yet in the big leagues. Of his 108 at bats last year, 16 were in a pinch hitting role, not a good test for a rookie. He also had a very respectable .346 OBP, which means that plate discipline is not likely to be a problem. IF given a chance, and based on solid minor league evidence, he should be a solid major league performer.