Arizona Diamondbacks Sign Infielder Cliff Pennington to a 2-Year Deal

Paul Francis Sullivan@@sullybaseballChief Writer IJanuary 23, 2013

The Arizona Diamondbacks have extended the contract for newly acquired infielder Cliff Pennington, keeping him in Phoenix on a two-year, $5 million deal. The signing was reported by Buster Olney of ESPN via his Twitter feed.

The 21st overall pick in the 2005 amateur draft played five seasons with the Oakland Athletics. He was never much of a hitter, but played defense well enough to start. He was the starting second baseman for the Athletics in the 2012 Division Series.

He came over to the Diamondbacks in the three-team deal that sent Heath Bell to Arizona and Chris Young to Oakland. The Diamondbacks depth chart on MLB.com has Pennington as the starting shortstop.

But Arizona also acquired Didi Gregorius from the Cincinnati Reds to play shortstop, and it cost the team Trevor Bauer, who is a top pitching prospect. So, where the 29-year-old Pennington fits into their long-term plans is unclear.

Perhaps the move insures a deep infield to go along with their stacked outfield and strong, young rotation. 

Either way, the shortstop position, which looked so uncertain after the trade of Stephen Drew during the 2012 season, has a little more depth to it now.

The Diamondbacks' off season might not have been easy to define with some of their surprising moves, and the never ending Justin Upton rumors. But they seem to have filled in a lot of holes in the process.

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