The Arizona Diamondbacks recently penned first baseman Mike Jacobs to a minor league deal, perhaps to fill the role vacated by the Paul Goldschmidt-led shuffle that followed after Goldschmidt became a breakout big league stud upon his promotion last August.
You might remember Jacobs for something he did just weeks after Goldschmidt became an every day MLB player. On August 18, MLB announced Jacobs of the AAA-Colorado Springs Sky Sox tested positive for human growth hormone (HGH), one of the most high-profile banned substances under MLB's drug policy.
In the first half of 2011, Jacobs experienced a .867 OPS while recording a 1.056 OPS between July 14 and mid-Aug.
Within hours of MLB's disciplinary press release, the Colorado Rockies released the delinquent first baseman, who is the first athlete in North American professional sports history to have tested positive for HGH—that includes baseball, basketball, football, track & field and every other conceivable sport.
In signing Jacobs, the Diamondbacks must first wait for Jacobs to serve his entire 50-game suspension before seeing him in action.
Jacobs has experience at the major league level, having played his first MLB season with the New York Mets in 2005, but had struggled as of late and didn't make it to the big leagues at all for the first time in 2011.
The Diamondbacks are expected to alternate the 2012's first base duties between Lyle Overbay and Goldschmidt, but very likely have signed Jacobs as a backup's backup—just in case either big league first baseman experiences a Kendrys Morales style injury, which contributed to the destruction of Los Angeles Angels baseball for nearly two years.
The Angels ultimately brought up prospect Mark Trumbo to replace Morales before buckling down and trading for All-Star first baseman Albert Pujols this offseason.
Arizona looks to avoid this scary possibility by supplementing their depth chart with a veteran ballplayer in a position that had previously been their most shallow.
Though he will be unavailable for nearly two months at the start of the 2012 season, the Diamondbacks will experience greater flexibility at first base next season, even if Jacobs never makes it back to the show.