MLB: 2014 AZ DIAMONDBACKS PREVIEW PART 3
Part 3 Diamondbacks Outlook for 2014:
The Diamondbacks’ 2014 season could go any number of ways, but it’s hard to imagine this roster being a sub-.500 team in the NL West. When healthy, they have a lineup that can rival any of the top NL teams. Their pitching staff is now in question, but no one expects the Diamondbacks to compete for the division crown. Instead, in order for them to be in the playoff race, the Diamondbacks will have to win enough games against their NL West divisional foes to climb into contention for one of the Wild Card spots. With questions that have come up lately for every team in the National League, whether it is all the starting pitchers out, or other contending teams with closer issues, there is a good chance that the Diamondbacks will be in the race late in the season.
Why I think this team will have a chance: The offense will take a confident move with the addition of power hitter Mark Trumbo to a lineup led by Goldschmidt. Aaron Hill and Miguel Montero should return to their healthier pre-2013 form. Brandon McCarthy and Trevor Cahill should be considerably better than their 2013 records showed. Even without Corbin, the starters should keep this team in games. And, the bullpen should not be as bad as last year.
Why I think this team may not contend for a wildcard spot: Corbin was the ace of the staff and the Diamondbacks will have a hard time replacing not only his 200-plus innings but also his quality starts. Or if the batting lineup starts the season in a slump and cannot get runs across and if Montero, the only left-handed power bat, does not return to his 2012 form.
Remember, ownership first declined options for 2015 for both GM Kevin Towers and Manager Kirk Gibson. Then they went out and signed both to extensions, but did not reveal the lengths of either contract. It is possible that Gibson and Towers will be on the “hot seat” if this team records another .500 or losing season.
Attendance has been stale at about 2.1 million below major-league average for five straight years and the 2014 payroll will be about $115 million, a franchise record, so the front office will keep a close watch on both Towers and Gibson during the season.
I hope to see you at Chase Field for the 2014 Diamondbacks season.
Follow me on Twitter: @Basebaldaz