The last time the Arizona Diamondbacks went to the post season in 2007 they did so with a lot of help from rookie starting pitcher Micah Owings who was an important part of the team not just with his throwing arm but also with his bat. That season the Diamondbacks slugging pitcher won a Silver Slugger award and found himself with pinch hitting opportunities those days when he wasn’t pitching.
The next year there were big expectations for Owings who struggled a little in 2008 with his control and found himself shipped off to Cincinnati as part of the deal that brought Adam Dunn to the desert for a late season surge to make the playoffs. That of course didn’t happen and the Diamondbacks slid behind the Los Angeles Dodgers finishing out of the post season.
In Cincinnati Owings continued to struggle and soon found himself back in the minor leagues to work through some control issues and better hone his pitches. It looked as though Owings was going down the path of a one-season wonder and before last season found himself getting little interest from the various ball clubs.
Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers was looking to revamp his bullpen after taking over the job from Josh Byrnes. The 2010 Diamondbacks bullpen was one of the worst statistically in baseball history so any move he made would likely be seen as positive.
In an unheralded transaction that winter was a brief footnote that the Arizona Diamondbacks had signed pitcher Micah Owings to a minor league contract with an invitation of Spring Training. There at Salt River Fields Owings worked as hard as I have ever seen him work. Not just on his hitting which he could still do but also on his pitching.
Owings ended up forcing himself onto the Diamondbacks roster but not as a starting pitcher. He was sent to the bullpen to become the long relief. Owings appeared in 33 games with the Diamondbacks in 2011 with 29 of those appearances being in relief. He had a respectable 3.57 ERA striking out 44 while walking 23. Owings record ended up 8-0 for the regular season and he added another win in the post season.
It seemed like whenever Owings got into the game something would happen and the Diamondbacks would find a way to win. In a lot of cases it wasn’t pretty but it was effective. After the season ended the Arizona Diamondbacks decided that they had other pitching options and Owings was non-tendered ending his second stint with the team.
During this off-season there would be a few rumors that Owings may return to Arizona but there didn’t seem to be a roster spot especially after the Trevor Cahill trade that brought reliever Craig Breslow.
With Spring Training only three weeks away teams are now starting to finalize their rosters and reaching out to unsigned players with potential invitations to try and make the team. The San Diego Padres who’s GM is former Diamondback Josh Byrnes have contacted Owings and his representatives signing a minor-league contract with an invitation to Spring Training.
So for the second straight year Owings will be in Arizona but this time he will be in Peoria trying to help another team get out of the National League Western Division cellar. Hopefully he will be successful. Well successful unless he’s playing the Diamondbacks then we only want to see him sitting in the bullpen chewing sunflower seeds.