The Diamondbacks have been just ok over the past two seasons. That is the definition of 81-81, a record in which they finished with in both 2012 and 2013. The last two seasons followed a great 94-68 season of 2011 which put the Diamondbacks in the playoffs after winning the NL West. The acquisition of OF Mark Trumbo (.234, 34, 100) has drawn some criticism, but in my opinion, it answered a need the team's lineup had to address. The team is lucky enough to be led by one of the best players in all the game, Paul Goldschmidt (.302, 36, 125, .952 OPS) but lacked the hitter that could get the attention of the opposition hitting in back of him. The team has a good collection of young arms, which allowed them to move a Tyler Skaggs. They added RHP Bronson Arroyo (14-12, 3.79, 32 starts) from the Reds and will need his help and more with the loss of All Star LHP Patrick Corbin (14-8, 3.41, 32 starts) who is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. They also added RHP Addison Reed (5-4, 40 saves, 3.79 in 68 games) from the White Sox as well as LH Oliver Perez (3-3, 3.74 in 63 games for the Mariners) as a free agent.
The trade of Adam Eaton to the White Sox (part of the Angels deal that brought them Trumbo) clears up the thought of who will be playing CF. AJ Pollack (.269, 8, 38) will be in CF with Trumbo getting the job in LF. Cody Ross (.278, 8, 38 in 94 games) has 20 HR power and still kills LHP. When he comes off the DL, it he is expected to platoon with 2012 Gold Glove winner Gerardo Parra (.268, 10, 48). 2B Aaron Hill (.291, 11, 41) played in just 87 games last season and his mere presence will benefit the team. 3B Martin Prado (.282, 14, 82) is as dependable as can be. It looks as if 22 year old Chris Owings has beaten out 24 year old Didi Gregorius for the SS position. Owings only hit .330, 12, 81 for AAA Reno last season. Miguel Montero (.230, 11, 42) is a little bit of a question mark offensively after putting up great numbers the past several seasons. I think he will be fine. I'd line the Diamondbacks up like this: Pollack CF, Hill 2B, Goldschmidt 1B, Trumbo LF, Prado 3B, Montero C, Owings SS, Parra/ Ross RF.
The Diamondbacks bench will be led by Gregorius (if he is not traded for a starting pitcher) as well as veteran middle infielders Eric Chavez and Cliff Pennington (if he makes the club). Tony Campana should serve as a 5th OF with Tuffy Gosewich likely to be the backup catcher.
The loss of Corbin could be painful for the D'Backs. Similar to the situation Atlanta is going through, the Diamondbacks have big shoes to fill losing Corbin to Tommy John. LHP Wade Miley (10-10, 3.55 in 33 starts) leads the staff, followed by Trevor Cahill (8-10, 3.99 in 24 starts). Both Arroyo and RHP Brandon McCarthy (5-11, 4.53 in 22 starts) are fixtures in the rotation, but they are both battling injuries that will likely keep them ready for the start of the season. Top pitching prospect Archie Bradley has a very good chance of making this club as does, to a lesser extent, RHP Daniel Hudson- a 16 game winner in the 2011 season.
Reed and Perez adds to the depth of the team's bullpen. Brad Ziegler (8-1, 2.22, 13 saves in 78 games) was the team's best reliever last season. The team is expecting bounce back seasons from RHPs David Hernandez (5-6, 4.48 in 662 games) and JJ Putz (3-1, 2.36, 40 games). Hernandez pitched a little better at the end of the season and Putz is hoping to stay healthy for all of 2014. RHPs Will Harris (4-1, 2.91, 61 games) and Josh Collmenter (5-5, 3.13, 49 games) and LHP Joe Thatcher (3-2, 3.20, 72 games) round out one of the deeper bullpens in all of MLB. Reed will have to watch his back, as the D'Backs have three setup men who have all pitched the 9th inning before.
I think the Trumbo move will be extremely beneficial for the Diamondbacks this season. I do not care what the sabermetric community has to say about him. Batting him in back of Goldschmidt will allow Paul to see more pitches because of the fear of a Trumbo HR. I still feel the Diamondbacks need another top starting pitcher, which is something GM Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson probably agree with. Unlike some other teams, I am almost certain the Diamondbacks will make that splash to add that top starter. Not a surprise to see Vegas putting the Diamondbacks at 80.5 as the O/U (winning 81 games the past two seasons), but I see this team improving. I think they can pick up some games on the lesser teams in the division and have the all around team to beat the Dodgers and Giants. I predict 88-74, 2nd place in the NL West and getting back to the postseason as a Wild Card team in the NL.