There is no question this team is better for 2012. They traded for RHP Trevor Cahill, giving them a solid third starter behind aces Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson. Players like Juston Upton, Paul Goldschmidt and Miguel Montero are all a year further into the prime of their careers. They also added Jason Kubel to the outfield, giving them a little more power in the lineup.
SS Stephen Drew will continue to miss time due to his injury from last year. Willie Bloomquist (.266, 4, 26 in 97 games) will play SS in his absence. 3B Ryan Roberts (.249, 19, 65) emerged as an everyday player last year and will probably bat 2nd. Upton (.289, 31, 88) is the best player on the team and is expected to get even better. Montero is becoming one of the best all around catchers in the game after his .282, 18, 86 season. He is also tremendous behind the plate. Goldschmidt (.250, 8, 26 in 48 games) is expected to put up solid power numbers over the course of his first full season. Kubel (.273, 12, 58) was signed as free agent from the Twins and is looking to put up numbers similar to 2009 (.300, 28, 103) or at least 2010 (.249, 21, 92). Chris Young (.236, 20, 71) plays CF and Aaron Hill (.246, 8, 61) looks to have a better offensive season at 2B.
Gold Glove outfielder Gerardo Parra (.292, 8, 46) becomes the best forth outfielder in the game. He was the starting left fielder last season, but he can play all three outfield positions well and has a strong arm. Discussion was out there over whether Parra would be traded to a place where he can play every day, but GM Kevin Towers squashed that idea, saying the team is not looking to deal him.
Cahill joins an already decent starting pitching rotation. He was 12-14, 4.16 with Oakland in 2011 after winning 18 games a year earlier. Kennedy (21-4, 2.88, 198 K) was sensational last year and Hudson (16-12, 3.49) ended up pitching very well after a tough start. The Diamondbacks brought back LHP Joe Saunders (12-13, 3.69) after non-tendering him. Josh Collmenter (10-10, 3.38) rounds out the starting pitching staff.
The bullpen is very underrated. JJ Putz (2-2, 45 saves, 2.17, 60 games) had a resurgence of a 2011 season and is back to his Seattle Mariners form. David Hernandez (5-3, 11, 3.38, 74) is a closer in waiting and is similar to the Yankees David Robertson in his makeup and it would not be surprising if he dominates in 2012. Brad Ziegler (3-2, 2.16, 66) and Craig Breslow (0-2, 3.79, 67) came over from Oakland in two separate trades to provide depth in the pen. Ziegler pitched in 21 games for the D'Backs last season. Brian Shaw (1-0, 2.54, 33) looks like he will be a very good reliever over time and Joe Patterson (0-3, 2.91, 62) will be the lefty in the bullpen. Takashi Saito (4-2, 2.03, 30 games for Milwaukee last year) can be another weapon as long as he can stay healthy.
The Diamondbacks will have it a little different this season. Last year nobody knew they were going to be good, this year it is expected. They have a good team and it would be a surprise if they did not make the postseason again. Vegas has their O/U at 86, and I predict they will finish over, but not at the 94 wins they had in 2011. They will finish at 90-72, 2nd place in the NL West. They will make the postseason as the first Wild Card team and will have the home game in the one game playoff.