It was a week of rumors, innuendo and gossip and no folks, we are not talking about the updated version of the 70′s soap ”Dallas”. I am refering to the just-concluded week of the 2012 MLB Winter Meetings and the amount of headlines generated by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
We heard that Justin Upton was going to be involved in a mega-deal involving four teams. We heard that Trevor Bauer and Jason Kubel could possibly be on the move. When the meetings concluded though, none of the aforementioned came to fruition. Arizona made four less “splash” worthy free-agent signings, as well as a Rule 5 Draft selection.
So, if the team makes no more transactions between now and Opening Day and barring any serious injuries, what kind of read do we get on the D’Backs today?
The signings of Eric Hinske, Eric Chavez, Wil Nieves and Brandon McCarthy were done to add depth to the team although Chavez will probably end up platooning with Chris Johnson. While I am not in love with the Hinkse signing and I think the organization overpaid for McCarthy, these are signings that will not hurt the team. Chavez and Hinske can play multiple positions and Nieves will not be asked to do a whole lot given that Miguel Montero is good for about 130 games behind the plate.
The big ticket item last week was getting the former Oakland A’s‘ right-handed pitcher Brandon McCarthy. For the D’Backs, this would represent a high-risk, high-reward signing considering the deal is worth almost $16 million dollars for two years. McCarthy was on the way to perhaps his best season in 2012 when he was struck in the head by a line drive on September 5th, suffering a skull fracture. At 29, he is entering the prime of his career.
If no other moves are made and this is the roster that begins the seasons, let’s look at a few questions that I have regarding this upcoming season. After reading each question, close your eyes before giving your answer out loud.
Will Upton be better? Yes
Will Ian Kennedy win between 15 and 21 games? Yes.
Are the shortstop and third base questions answered? No.
Will J.J. Putz‘s ERA be lower than 2.82? No.
Can Wade Miley be any better than last year? For 2013, the answer is no, he will take a step back but then bounce back in 2014. Sorry, that question needed a caveat.
Is the starting pitching better now than in 2012? Maybe.
Is the staff as a whole, better now, than in 2012? Yes.
Early prediction: I think the team wins somewhere between the 81 victories in 2012 and the 94 victories in 2011. I think Arizona is more likely to take a small step forward than a small step backward. It should top out at a 90-win campaign, which if the last two seasons are any indication, is good enough for a NL Wild Card spot. My official prediction will have to wait though, for another three months.
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