Bowden on trade, contract
Here are tonight's lineups. Below, I've posted a quick transcript of much of the conversation with GM Jim Bowden about the busy day. By the way, two key points before we move forward.
* Joel Hanrahan will get the first shot at the closer's role.
* The deal for Guzman is two years, an even $16 million -- eight million per year. No rewards, no incentives.
Harris - 8
Guzman - 6
Zimmerman - 5
Kearns - 9
Belliard - 3
Flores - 2
Lo Duca - 7
Lopez - 4
Bergmann - 1
Lewis - 7
Velez - 4
Winn - 9
Molina - 2
Rowand - 8
Bowker - 3
Aurilia - 5
Vizquel - 6
Zito - 1
Q: What do you see from Emilio Bonifacio?
Second baseman. Future lead-off guy. Very exciting. He has tremendous range defensively. He's going to make our pitching staff better immediately. Best range of any second baseman we've had since I've been here. Very, very special. When I was starting my career and I came up with the Pirates organization, we had an infielder named Johnny Ray who was top-five in hitting in the league, and we brought in a guy named Jose Lind and between him and Van Slyke and Belliard we fixed up the middle and the club went on to have a nice run of winning. This is the kind of impactful defensive move that changes the complexion of a team. Also, in this day and age, it's very hard to get a leadoff man. There aren't a lot of Ricky Hendersons or Tim Raineses. There aren't a lot of guys who can lead off and steal you 40. He's stolen 40 or more bases each of the last four years. We think this guy is going to be a top-of-the-order leadoff hitter who can steal 40 bags every year and play unbelievable defense with a gun for an arm. ... For us, he's going to be our second-baseman long term. That's what he's going to be. We've optioned him to Columbus; we want him to develop. But he'll be up here at some point by the end of the year and he'll be our second baseman next year.
Q: What are the things he still needs to work on?
At bats. At bats. Also, play one position. The Diamondbacks have moved him around because of having Orlando Hudson at second base. Second base only for us.
Q: You lose Rauch.
Tough to trade a closer. His WHIP is the lowest in baseball; he takes the ball every day. It's hard to trade Jon Rauch. Loved Jon Ruach. Very difficult. You have to trade a reliever when you have the chance to get an everyday position player who's 23 years old. You have to do it. ... Short term, this helps the Diamondbacks with a chance to win the World Series. This is a good trade for them. Long term, it's a good trade for us. It's sticking with our plan. We're not deviating from our plan. Same as the Milledge deal, the Dukes deal, the drafting of Zimmerman and Marrero and Burgess and Hood - the same plan. We're stockpiling young players.
Q: Any sense of who gets the shot to close?
Look, ask Manny Acta that question for this year. For the rest of this year, we'll make it work. That's the manager's call who he decides to put back there.
Q: Mock? What's his role now?
We'll probably put him in the bullpen. His starts have been great; he's had a great July down there. I think his cup of coffee here really helped his confidence, and he's really earned the promotion here. We may try him in the bullpen here and see how that works. We did that with Joel Hanrahan, and I think Joel continues to develop. He's a potential closer for us; he's got the stuff.
Q: To sign Cristian, what does it mean for this organization?
Obviously it was very important, and first of all I want to thank Cristian for working with us and being sensitive to what we went through with his last contract, the four years where he was hurting for the most of it. He gave back to the club by signing a two-year deal and he knows on the free agent market he gets the four years. But he gave back... and I give him a lot of credit. Over the last two years only one other shortstop in all of baseball has a higher batting average, and that's Hanley Ramirez. Right now he leads the NL in hits. He's a switch hitter. Really developed with the bat. His work ethic is amazing. The way he takes batting practice is more professional than anybody on our team. The way he takes infield is more professional than anybody we have on our team. He was our all-star. We wanted to keep him. We looked at all the alternatives out there at shortstop for the next two years, potential free agents, potential trades, and we felt Cristian was the best possibility we had at shortstop for the next two years. ... Middle infield was a big question mark coming in; this year we didn't know what it would look like. Big question marks, with impending free agencies and having holes. And we feel with Zimmerman's range, Bonifacio's range, a healthy Nick Johnson, we have three out of four with plus-plus range.
Q: On a team with so many 23-year-olds, how much of a consideration was it to wrap up one guy who's 30, an older presence?
I think that's a good point. You've got to have a solid guy who plays the game right and wants to play every inning of every game. That's the message that Cristian sends every time he walks out there. He doesn't want to ever come out of the game. No matter what. That's a good message for all of the young kids to know.
Q: Two years, why did that makes sense for the club?
We preferred two. We went through four years of injuries with Cristian. We didn't want to have another contract and all of a sudden we have injuries again. So that was a factor for us. He's still young enough that if we want to sign him again we'll sign him again. He's happy here, and we're happy with him here.
Q: What does it mean to you to make this deal?
... We've been trying to get Emilio for a long time. We tried to make this exact deal a year ago, eight months ago, six months ago, two months ago. They would never give this player up until Sunday. They would never do it. We worked hard to get him, because you go down through all the minor leagues and try to find a second baseman that can lead off and steal 40. The pool is very small.
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