As the old saying goes, “It’s just business.”
This could be the theme for the Arizona Diamondbacks overhauled front office as they continue to mix, match and reshape an overpaid and underperforming roster which has been stuck at or near the bottom of the National League West the past few seasons.
Tony La Russa and his staff have already jettisoned long-time catcher Miguel Montero to the Chicago Cubs and many other prominent roster names have been bantered about at the ongoing Major League Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego. It’s a difficult puzzle to solve for a team which isn’t expected to compete with the World Series champion San Francisco Giants or the Los Angeles Dodgers.
One player Arizona hopes will be a big part of their future for several years to come is Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas who officially inked a $68.5 million, six-year deal earlier this week.
“I think people will be very excited about his offensive productivity,” ESPN baseball insider Pedro Gomez explained to Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat Wednesday morning from southern California. “I [spoke] to ex-Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel who was one of the Phillies’ scouts down looking at Tomas and had extensive workouts with him as well. [He] really, really liked him.”
Gomez said some of 24-year-old’s greatest strengths, according to Manuel who has seen him extensively are his plate discipline, strong hands and ability to drive the ball to the opposite field (right, right-center) with power. His running skills on the base pads and ability to field are still a bit of an unknown.
Manuel gushed over the Cuban’s approach at the plate and even believes his game is reminiscent of one of the most feared hitters of the 1990’s.
“He said…’If I had to compare him to anybody I’ve seen in the game it would be Albert Belle,'” Gomez told Cesmat during his recent conversation with Manuel. “If he’s even half or three-fourths of what Albert Belle was then the Diamondbacks definitely got something special coming.”
Manuel was Belle’s hitting coach with Cleveland Indians back in the 1990’s. He is widely regarded by people inside the game as the best hitting coach in the game in the last two or three decades.
“Charlie Manuel knows hitting,” Gomez said. “For him to compare Tomas to Albert Belle should get Diamondback fans pretty excited.”
The Havana native played in six games in the 2013 World Baseball Classic batting .375 with two home runs and five runs batted in.