Throughout much of this offseason and now into the early days of Spring Training, the chatter has been centered on a selected list of topics. The Miami Marlins garnered early headlines with their signings of Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle. There was the Los Angeles Angels double barrel signing of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. Who could forget the two month “Where will Prince Fielder go” saga before he finally landed with the Detroit Tigers? People are excited about the foundations (with good reason) being built by the Kansas City Royals and Washington Nationals. Absent in all of the hoopla, save for a trade, was coverage for the team that won 94 games and the National League West, the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Maybe manager Kirk Gibson and players such as Justin Upton prefer to fly under the radar. However, for a team with such a young nucleus, a proven General Manager in Kevin Towers and a rising manager in Gibson, you would think there would be some more talk about the D-Backs. They did bolster their rotation by acquiring Trevor Cahill from the Oakland Athletics but the bigger story was not about the Arizona acquiring Cahill but why Oakland traded him in the first place. Other divisional foes have received more ink than the Diamondbacks. Buster Posey’s return to the San Francisco Giants will be watched closely. Just how good are Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers? One gets the feeling that (A)-many people still question the legitimacy of Arizona and/or (B)-the Phoenix market impedes more coverage of the team. By that I mean, if this were Chicago or New York, there would be more buzz around them.
That’s OK, with the exception of the 2009 New York Yankees, the teams that make the biggest splash in the offseason usually don’t reach the World Series that year. How many people last year at this time had the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies playing in the World Series? Let’s look at the Phillies. They made the World Series in 2009 and traded for Roy Halladay. They reached the National League Championship Series in 2010 then signed Cliff Lee. Last season, they were eliminated in the Divisional round. In November, they signed Jonathan Papelbon. Perhaps they miss the playoffs? Now look at the Texas Rangers. They reached the 2010 World Series and lost Cliff Lee. Who would have thought they would be a strike away from a World Series Championship after that happened?
People will fall asleep again on the Arizona Diamondbacks because of all the news generated this Winter by other teams. However when the calendar turns to October, don’t be surprised if all of the teams that made the biggest noise from November through February are home watching the D–Backs pouring champagne after wrapping up the National League pennant.