Defensive About Defense


I’m confused. That’s not really all that unusual since a good many things confuse me. But as of late, I am more than confused about the direction of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Image: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

I am especially perplexed at how the D’backs view defense. I’m almost bewildered.Over the past few years, teams have started to focus more on defense and make it a priority in the type of players they sign. It’s almost been a renaissance of sorts in how teams and fans view defense.

And the beginning of this offseason, it looked like the D’backs were right in line with that view by trading for light-hitting but defensive wizards at shortstop in Cliff Pennington and Didi Gregorius. Nevermind the decision to get two shortstops of similar ilk, the point was clear, defense up the middle on the infield was a priority. With above-average defender Aaron Hill at second and vastly improving on defense Paul Goldschmidt at first, the D’backs had the makings of a staunch defensive infield.

Combined with the likes of Gerardo Parra, Adam Eaton and Justin Upton, all well above-average defenders, in the outfield, they had a top-five defensive team in the making.

However, the D’backs went out and signed Cody Ross, who used to be a pretty good defensive corner outfielder but has combined for a -13 defensive runs saved over the past two seasons in the outfield.

Now, news has come out that instead of trading power bat, but no glove Jason Kubel, the D’backs ultimately traded Justin Upton to the Mariners to only have the trade rejected by Upton because his no-trade list included Seattle.

But imagine that the D’backs had traded Upton. That would mean the Ross, a worse defender would be playing right, Kubel would most likely play left field and Eaton and Parra would split time in center.

While Parra and Eaton should be great in center field, Kubel and Ross would not be very good in the corners. So the D’backs would have a great defensive infield and a mediocre defensive outfield.

And the defense in the outfield would be exposed at times with fly ball pitchers Ian Kennedy and Wade Miley on the hill.

So what exactly is the game plan on defense? Does Kevin Towers and company look at defense? They must if they like Pennington and Gregorius. But do they only like it in the infield? Then why keep relatively light-hitting Parra in the lineup when teams were looking for a guy like him on the trade market last year?

See why I’m confused?

And the most frustrating part is that this is one of the less questionable aspects of the D’backs’ 2012-13 offseason.

I guess the best way to end this is with a big #KEEPUPTON!