Jun 17, 2011, 2:30 PM EDT
Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson named Juan Miranda his primary first baseman at the end of the spring, but he’s obviously never really warmed up to the former Yankee. As of Friday, Miranda had started just 33 of the team’s 70 games. The decision to release Russell Branyan seemed like just the break Miranda needed to solidify his job, but Gibson has recently gone to Xavier Nady more and more, even against right-handers.
It doesn’t seem entirely fair. Miranda is hitting just .235 in 132 at-bats this season, but that comes with a .784 OPS. The NL league average for first baseman this year is a .795 OPS. Nady has just a .683 OPS in his 124 at-bats.
Furthermore, the Diamondbacks are 21-12 with Miranda in the lineup, compared to 17-20 the rest of the time.
Still, Miranda isn’t anything special. He’s 28, and he’s never going to be anything more than a platoon player. So if Gibson isn’t happy with him, the Diamondbacks should probably just move on now.
But who to move on to? 25-year-old Brandon Allen has been terrific in Triple-A, hitting .299/.421/.525. He came up last year and hit .267/.393/.400 in 45 at-bats down the stretch, and he really should have been given more consideration for a starting job this spring.
Then there’s 23-year-old Paul Goldschmidt, the minor league home run leader with 21 bombs for Double-A Mobile. He is hitting a remarkable .338/.458/.667 in the Southern League.
It certainly wouldn’t be very fair for the Diamondbacks to bypass Allen again. He has nothing left to prove in Triple-A, while Goldschmidt has yet to receive an at-bat at the level. Still, there has been more speculation lately that Goldschmidt could be the choice. Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers recently said that he could be added around the All-Star break.
Either way, Miranda’s days with the Diamondbacks may be numbered. He’s out of options, so it wouldn’t be surprised to see him flipped for a possible bullpen arm at some point within the next few weeks.
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