Conventional wisdom would say the Arizona Diamondbacks might be interested in parting with either Didi Gregorius or Chris Owings, as there’s really only room for one of them in the every day lineup.
That thought was furthered even more when Patrick Corbin went down with an injury, with the idea being that the team could swing a deal involving one of its shortstops for a starting pitcher.
But that’s apparently not the case.
“Both shortstops we like a lot, and it would have to take a pretty significant deal for us to discuss one of them,” D-backs GM Kevin Towers told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday. “We really haven’t had any dialogue all spring about either of our shortstops.”
Towers, who is in Australia with the team as it prepares for a season opening series against the Dodgers, said some teams have called and inquired about the pair, but as of now there hasn’t been a deal presented that would make sense.
Gregorius spent most of 2013 as the D-backs’ every day shortstop, finishing the campaign with a .252 average along with seven home runs and 28 RBI. His defense was every bit as good as advertised.
Owings, on the other hand, spent most of the year with Triple-A Reno, where he hit .330 with 12 home runs and 81 RBI en route to the Pacific Coast League MVP Award. He hit .291 during a September call up that saw him appear in 20 games and while his defense is not quite on Gregorius’ level, it’s not exactly bad, either.
Neither has really separated himself from the other so far this spring, though Owings’ .273 average is a good amount higher than Gregorius’ .205 mark.
But the way Towers sees it, there’s no reason to make that decision just yet.
“More than likely we’ll probably at least start the year with both of them, probably until Cody (Ross) comes back,” he said. “And then, more than likely, we’ll have to make a decision on which one stays and which one goes.”
But that does not mean the battle’s “loser” will be gone from the organization in a trade. It’s possible — maybe even likely — that whichever one is’t with the D-backs will head down to Triple-A.
Even if, as Towers says, they’re both Major League-ready.
“I think they’re probably starting shortstops for anybody in the game,” the GM said about the pair. “Both of them have performed very, very well (this spring).”
Towers said Owings has improved his defense while maybe swinging the bat a little better than Gregorius, though the latter’s glove work has been as good as always.
“It’s going to be a close call,” he said. “I don’t think you could go wrong with either one of them. It’s going to be a tough decision for us.”