MLB: AZ Diamondbacks Off-Season Chatter
As the MLB HOT STOVE begins to heat up let’s take a look at what the Arizona Diamondbacks might/need to do to get this team beyond the average 81-81 record they have had the last two seasons.
The Diamondbacks front office has to figure out how they intend to improve the current roster of players, either by adding through their minor league system or through trades, and trying to keep as many of their “core” group of current players as possible.
Last year this team balanced out poor offense with great pitching, but when the bats came alive the pitching staff could not come up with the timely pitching to get the outs they needed to win games. The new coaches hired will be given the assignment of getting this team to play both offense and defense at the same time.
There are several good pieces already in place for this team. Paul Goldschmidt has turned into a big star at first base. Martin Prado with his strong second half will be counted on to put up big numbers for the 2014 season. A healthy Aaron Hill gives the team a solid player both offensively and defensively. Shortstop Didi Gregorius impressed everyone in his rookie season with his glove and his first half of the season hitting, but now the coaches need to figure out how to get him to do that for a full year. Gerardo Parra, who provides excellent defense and good situational hitting, will be counted on again in 2014 to do the same.
There were also a few players who had difficult seasons last year and they will need to have solid improvement for the 2014 season. Miguel Montero is the first person that comes to mind. He was in a slump all of last season. He hit .230 with 11 homers and 42 RBI in 116 games last season, his worst offensive showing since he became the Diamondbacks starting catcher. They will need Montero to bounce back as this organization does not currently have another catcher ready. Stryker Trahan is still a few years away, Wil Nieves is a free agent and Tuffy Gosewisch will always be considered a career back-up catcher. A healthy Cody Ross (recovering from hip surgery) will also need to bounce back in 2014. He will need to stay healthy and increase his homerun totals. A J Pollack and Adam Eaton will need to avoid the so called “sophomore slump”. Both of these players provide speed on the bases as well as defense in the outfield.
Pitchers David Hernandez, Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy all will need bounce back seasons if the Diamondbacks want to contend in the NL West. After being sent down to AAA Reno, Hernandez came back for the last month of the season and looked like he had found his pitching form again. He needs to show that in 2014 as he is being counted on again as the 8th inning set-up guy. Even though Cahill and McCarthy looked better in the 2nd half of the season they need to be better than an average pitcher. If both struggle Tyler Skaggs and Archie Bradley could come in and replace them as starters.
The last guy we are going to take a look is Heath Bell. Bell is signed through the 2014 season and it will be difficult to trade him and most likely the Diamondbacks will not cut him. He did pitch well at times as the closer (15 saves), but gave up a career high 12 homeruns and blew several save opportunities. We will have to wait and see what role he might play on the 2014 Diamondbacks roster.
This team will need at least 90 wins to make a run at the playoffs. That is an additional nine wins over the last two years. If a few of the 2013 season under-performers bounce back next year, this team should have no problem increasing that win total.
Stay tuned to see what rumors we hear and what actual moves the team will make during this offseason. We know that the front-office is looking to build a solid playoff team for years to come, so this figures to be one of the most important offseason for the Diamondbacks and their fans.
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