The Opening Day roster is finally taking shape. Via Mark Sheldon:
IF Adam Rosales and LHP Bill Bray were optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Jonny Gomes was reassigned to the Minor League camp. That last move totally shocked me. I thought Gomes was as good as in when I left camp a couple of weeks ago and will try to learn more about the thought process behind it.
That also means shortstop Paul Janish and lefty Daniel Herrera made the team.
“I’m excited and fired up to be here,” Janish said. “Being on the Opening Day roster, for whatever reason, has such implications to it, so it’s a good thing. It’s huge because it makes me feel like they have a lot of confidence in me too to start the year here.”
There are still some extra players in the clubhouse so I’m not sure on the final 25-man roster just yet.
Outfielders Laynce Nix and Darnell McDonald were both given new numbers (16 and 17, respectively) and were unpacking lockers. Looks like they’re in.
Herrera and Nix made the team; I’m fine with that. Janish, not so much, but he’s a backup infielder. He can’t hit a lick, but he’s a good fielder, and probably won’t kill the team. It would have been nice to have Rosales’ bat on the bench, because Janish simply isn’t a legitimate option as a pinch hitter. Not a big deal, though.
Jonny Gomes being sent to the minors in favor of Darnell McDonald, however, is a disgrace. And it has Dusty Baker’s fingerprints all over it. (Although, let’s be honest, Walt Jocketty is the man who gets the ultimate blame.)
McDonald is 30 years old. He’s had two previous stints in the majors, both very limited, but he posted an OPS+ of -1 in those two opportunities. In the minors, he has never been particularly good, and he’s thirty-freaking-years-old, which means he ain’t gonna get any better.
Oh yeah, and Dusty is starting McDonald in CF on Opening Day and hitting him second!
Gomes, meanwhile, had a very bad year last year. His other three years in the majors included two years of being about an average hitter, and one year of being a great hitter. He’s younger than McDonald, still in his prime, and a slugger who absolutely crushed the ball in the minors. Plus, Gomes is a natural as a platoon partner for Chris Dickerson in LF.
Oh, and Gomes hit the ball better than McDonald this spring, as well.
Listen, these options for backups aren’t moves that are going to make the difference between winning a pennant and finishing in last place. But it’s indicative of the same type of nonsense we endured during the Corey Patterson fiasco last year.
I have absolutely no faith in the judgment of Dusty Baker or Walt Jocketty at this point…and now they’ve gone and put a damper on all the optimism I’d been feeling up to this point. Sheesh.
UPDATE: Now, it appears that Homer Bailey has been sent to AAA, as well. Dusty’s explanation:
“Homer did a great job. It was a tough decision. We’ve got a guy who’s done long relief most of his career in (Nick) Masset.”
Whatever. I guess competence plays no role in Dusty’s decisions.
He also claims that Willy Taveras is a bit sick, so they needed a center fielder, and that’s why they kept McDonald. Again, whether the guy can actually play is secondary to Dusty.
Meanwhile, he already has two guys in his outfield who played a competent center field as recently as last year (Dickerson and Jay Bruce).
Opening Day lineup below the fold, by the way:
Jerry Hairston Jr. LF
Darnell McDonald CF
Joey Votto 1B
Brandon Phillips 2B
Jay Bruce RF
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Ramon Hernandez C
Alex Gonzalez SS
Aaron Harang P