From the Cheap Seats –
Arizona Diamondbacks – What’s Going to Happen?
The baseball season is winding down and it’s been clear for weeks now that the Arizona Diamondbacks are out of the pennant race. That always sticks in my craw as you could probably tell by my articles throughout the past few weeks. Personally I’m not interested in the playoffs coming up especially if my team isn’t participating.
My normal congratulations go out to the San Francisco Giants for winning the NL West division. But that’s as far as I care to go with that. I don’t like the Giants and with the Diamondbacks out of it, baseball is basically over. I may catch a few innings of the World Series but overall I’m done with baseball.
But if I have any thoughts of baseball and my Diamondbacks it will be for what needs to happen next year. What I would like to do in this article is break down position by position where I see the Diamondbacks.
First and foremost is their pitching staff. Wade Miley should win rookie of the year and could finish with 18 or so wins which is excellent for a rookie much less a rookie on the Diamondbacks with the type of hitting that we had this year. But from there I’m hoping to see players like Ian Kennedy regain his form from last year. Pitching is always an issue but I think the Diamondbacks are putting too much trust and responsibility on the young arms. Personally I would like to see the Diamondbacks secure one or two veteran starters and allow these young kids to mature at a natural rate in the minors.
At first base we have Paul Goldschmidt who has locked up that position. This kid is a stud and will emerge as a superstar in this league if he stays healthy. From there it’s a matter of signing a backup at first base and for that position I really don’t care. At second base is Aaron Hill who also has locked up that position and has proven to be one of the best acquisitions the Diamondbacks have made in quite a while.
The left side of the infield is the question mark. After trading Stephen Drew to the A’s for a minor leaguer, the Diamondbacks spent the rest of the season playing musical chairs with the starter at shortstop. Willie Bloomquist was injured for about half the year and Paul McDonald filled in extremely well defensively but his bat has always been the weakest part of his game. It is vital to have a good glove at shortstop but if you’re batting below .240 for your career the Diamondbacks just cannot afford to have that week of a player in the lineup on a regular basis. The same applies for third base, after trading Ryan Roberts for lack of production, the musical chairs continued at third. The Diamondbacks brought up younger players and even tried to bring in a veteran for the position but none of them really did a bang up job to secure that position for themselves. So like shortstop, the Diamondbacks have to find themselves a third baseman.
Behind the plate is Miguel Montero and he did a pretty solid job overall batting above his career average but more notably excelled defensively both with his glove and his throwing arm. I guess signing a big contract gave Miguel the incentive he needed to become a better catcher and I’m glad because that was needed. But it is good to see that a player that signed a big contract follow up with some good play.
In the outfield we have a mess. We’ll start with left-field and Jason Kubel. Jason for the most part was one of the players that carried this team for almost the entire season. His numbers did wane towards the end but that’s acceptable considering for most of the year he was one of the few players that delivered when they needed it. In centerfield we have Chris Young. Here’s where the fat needs to start getting trimmed, Young is one of the most expensive players on the roster and is always a good defensive center fielder but just cannot learn to lay off pitches out of the zone. He’s a great kid, a good character guy on the field and in the clubhouse but his lack of timely hitting just continuously hurts this team. When we have guys like Gerardo Parra sitting the bench, waiting for a chance to play, we cannot afford to keep fan favorites in the lineup. We have also shown that we do have some strong arms coming up from the minor leagues that can play center field as well, so we have a logjam in the outfield.
That brings me to the left fielder Justin Upton. I really like Justin, I think he has all the tools to become a superstar in the majors but he is very undisciplined in certain aspects of his game. The most distressing is his inability to go with a pitch. This isn’t a difficult thing to do; it just takes some work and since we’re not to be in the playoffs Upton should get a head start on it. But at this point I just don’t know whether to see the Diamondbacks stick with him or trade him to fix some of the other spots in the lineup that are problems. Upton’s value is high enough that we could secure some good players for those other positions but my concern is paying Justin $7 million a year to be at .270 hitter. A friend of mine on the Fox Sports Diamondbacks page said it best, that the Diamondbacks can be a .500 club with or without Upton and I think that speaks volumes.
Lastly this brings me to the bench and the coaching staff. I think with the performance and the underachieving the Diamondbacks have done this year puts Kirk Gibson’s job in jeopardy for next year. I’m not saying they’re going to fire him next year but I certainly think that he will figure into the equation if the Diamondbacks throw up another .500 season in 2013. One thing I would do is get rid of Don Baylor as batting coach. When they signed Baylor thought that was an excellent addition to the coaching staff but it seems like Don just cannot get through to this team about how to hit.
So unfortunately for Diamondback fans, this season will be coming to a close in about a week and we will be left with more questions than answers. I don’t know what to expect next year because there are several key questions and needs that the Diamondbacks have, that should be addressed if they’re going to compete with the Giants and the Dodgers.
I don’t know if this will be my last installment for a while regarding the Diamondbacks because quite honestly I’m tired of them and I have brought up every possible angle and need for this team so until they address those needs, I don’t know whether they merit another article. We will see how that unfolds.
To all my fellow Diamondbacks fans I appreciate your support of the team and your comments about my articles throughout the season. Let’s write this one off and forget about it and move onto the Cardinals football and shortly to the Phoenix Suns.
If you have any thoughts about this article or what the Diamondbacks should do for next year please leave a comment below. As usual, I appreciate your continued support.