2013 Record: 81-81 (2nd Place NL West)
Ahh, Arizona. The land of rattlesnakes and aridity. Here’s a picture I took of then-Bank One Ballpark in 2005.
Since 2011, the Diamondbacks have been .500 or better every season. They’re a solid baseball team even if they don’t always get the respect that they deserve. They made some moves in the offseason to try to win now, and I think that they can do it.
1B/OF Mark Trumbo (acquired in trade for LHP Tyler Skaggs)
RHP Bronson Arroyo (2 years/$23.5M)
The power-hitting fiend that is Mark Trumbo is slotted as the fifth batter in the DBacks lineup, right after Paul Goldschmidt and Miguel Montero. Trumbo has hit 95 homers over the last three seasons and will be a big part of a dangerous middle of the lineup for Arizona. He will play left field for the DBacks, and he’s a very average left fielder. The Diamondbacks paid a high price for Trumbo in the first-rounder Tyler Skaggs, so they’re banking that Trumbo will produce this season.
Side note: Bronson Arroyo’s nickname on baseball-reference.com is “Saturn Nuts.” Want an explanation? Curt Schilling gave it to him on an online forum in 2004. Sorry for the digression. The DBacks signed Arroyo late into the offseason, but he is definitely a welcome addition to their squad. He’s slotted as a number-five starter for the team, but that’s more of a testament to how strong the team’s rotation is to any knock against Arroyo. Over the last two seasons, he’s started 64 games and had an ERA of 3.76.
Heath Bell: Even though he wasn’t as bad in Arizona as he was in Miami, Bell’s ERA of 4.11 was far too high for an back-end-of-the-bullpen arm who pitched in 69 games. The DBacks bullpen is shaping up to be pretty strong, and his departure allows the newly-acquired Addison Reed to step in in the back-end of the bullpen. Even more, newcomer Óliver Pérez will get a place in the middle of the bullpen, coming off of two very strong years in Seattle. All in all, Bell’s departure allows the DBacks to strengthen their bullpen even more.
Matt Davidson: Even though the third baseman didn’t get much action at the major league level last year, he has been ranked among the top MiLB prospects for the past three years, and his minor league statistics back it up. His OPS has been above .814 every year since 2010 at A, Advanced-A, AA, and AAA. Even though the DBacks got a pretty solid closer in Addison Reed in return, I speculate that they’ll regret losing this guy to the White Sox.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Addison Reed: If he can improve upon a strong 2013 season, he can plant himself firmly in the closing spot for the DBacks. The back-end of the bullpen of J. J. Putz and Reed could prove dastardly for opposing squads. Arizona seems poised to make a run in this season, and the last thing that this team wants is a shaky back-end of the bullpen to disrupt any would-be victories. If Reed can be strong, so will this team.
Projected Opening Day Lineup
Trevor Cahill, Wade Miley, Brandon McCarthy, and Bronson Arroyo should round out the rotation.
It’ll be Diamondbacks, Dodgers, and Giants at the top of the NL West this season. It’ll be a dogfight between three very strong squads, and this one has as good of a chance as any.