Ildemaro Vargas fielded a hard smash on one hop and flung it effortlessly across the diamond, making a difficult play look surprisingly easy. An inning earlier on Wednesday night, he had lined a single into left field to drive in two runs, a hit that came off reliever Carl Edwards Jr., a pitcher expected to play a big role in the Chicago Cubs bullpen.
Those sorts of moments have become commonplace for Vargas this month. Whether he’s having good at-bats, making slick defensive plays on the infield or opening eyes with his smart aggressiveness on the bases, Vargas has made a sort of under-the-radar push for a bench spot on the club’s Opening Day roster.
As it stands, the Diamondbacks do not appear to have room for him. For now, their five-man bench seems likely to include two catchers, infielder Daniel Descalso, a fourth outfielder and either Chris Owings or Nick Ahmed – whoever isn’t the everyday shortstop. That likely would leave Vargas in Triple-A Reno.
But Vargas’ emergence has highlighted the fact that the Diamondbacks’ depth at shortstop gives them options – along with Owings, Ahmed and Vargas, there’s also Ketel Marte – and sources say the club is exploring those options.
They say the Diamondbacks have shown a willingness to listen to offers on the defensive-minded Ahmed, who, by all accounts, has looked healthy in his return from hip surgery. They say Owings appears to have the leg up on the everyday shortstop job.
“That would make sense,” a rival scout said of a deal involving Ahmed. “They need to add prospects to their system.”
Read more at dbacks.azcentral.com.