That was Then...
Even a guy like Kirk Gibson only has so much magic in him.
The 2011 NL Manager of the Year was not able to shepherd the D-backs to another division title in his second full year on the job in Phoenix.
After a season-opening sweep of the eventual World Series champs, the Snakes hit the skids in late April and early May. From there, it was a tough recovery for the D-Backs.
Ian Kennedy started the year 3-0 before dropping eight of 11 decisions leading into mid-July, while Trevor Cahill spent the entire year hovering around the .500 mark.
The team’s performance would much mirror Cahill’s, never eclipsing four games above .500. An 81-81 finish was good for third in the division, but has to be seen as a disappointment just one year after winning the NL West crown.
...This is Now
Out of the Desert
The D-backs engineered an exodus that sent two-thirds of their outfield packing. Will they miss the speed and power potential of Justin Upton and Chris Young?
What a strange, strange off-season the Diamondbacks had.
First, the good: GM Kevin Towers picked up value players like Eric Chavez and Brandon McCarthy. The former is getting paid a mere $3 million after a productive 2012 saw him hit more home runs than he had in the past four seasons combined. The latter was picked up on a two-year deal after having a positive year ended prematurely by a line-drive to the head.
Then, the bad: Heath Bell – despite the Marlins eating just under 40 per cent of his remaining salary – is still making closer money despite the fact that he was not a closer for most of last season. That acquisition, along with the decision to sell extremely low on speedy and powerful outfielder Chris Young left some to question the D-backs’ offseason game-plan.
But then came the strange: The team cut bait on Trevor Bauer in a three-way deal that landed them Didi Gregorius, a shortstop with a strong glove but questionable offensive upside. Bauer was just over one year removed from being a third-overall pick and even saw a couple of starts with the D-backs last summer at just 21. Granted, the team still owns two pitchers in Baseball America’s top 25 prospects.
But that move was nothing compared to the Justin Upton saga. Arizona had a deal in place to trade the 25-year-old to Seattle, before Upton nixed the deal. So the team bent to his will and sent him to Atlanta to play with his brother, who had just signed with the Braves receiving Martin Prado and a handful of mid-level prospects.
So where does it leave the D-backs? If Kennedy and Cahill rebound and Tyler Skaggs and Wade Miley (see: YOUTH WATCH) are the real deal, they might pitch their way into a winning season, but they may be hard-pressed to replace Upton and Young, long-term.
Every year, we look for players 26-years-old or younger that could make an impact on their team in the upcoming season. The player might have already established himself with a regular role with the team, or he could make their mark later on in the season.
Past Picks: 2012 - Paul Goldschmidt, 2011 - Brandon Allen, 2010 - Gerardo Parra, 2009 - Justin Upton, 2008 - Chris Young, 2007 - Stephen Drew, 2006 - Connor Jackson, 2005 - Luis Terrero, 2004 - Jose Valverde, 2003 - Lyle Overbay
Can character be the Snakes' foundation?
1B Paul Goldschmidt is the top-ranked Diamondback, 35th overall.
The Diamondbacks offer solid fantasy performers. C Miguel Montero, 1B Paul Goldschmidt, 2B Aaron Hill and 3B Martin Prado are all viable fantasy starters. Maybe not ideal, but they're all ranked in the top dozen at their position.
There is some value to be found in the outfield, where Jason Kubel is easy enough to overlook, but a good source of power and young centre fielder Adam Eaton has upside as a table-setter who can steal bases and score runs.
None of the Diamondbacks pitchers are ace-calibre fantasy starters, but Ian Kennedy, Wade Miley, Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy are all solid, above-average hurlers. Closer J.J. Putz has 77 saves over the last two years, so as long as he's healthy, he's a decent option.