2013 is almost in the books and we are less than a day away from 2014. In this busy life time flies by fast and as we turn the page to a new year, the 2014 MLB season is right around the corner. There are only 37 days until pitchers and catchers report and before we flip the calendar to 2014, its time to review the year 2013 for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The season was pretty unforgettable as the D’backs finished with their second straight .500 campaign thanks to a poor second half. The season really was a tale of two halves: before and after the July brawl in Los Angeles. After that brawl the Dbacks were just ok and the Dodgers went on a historic streak on their way to a National League West title. Many things stand out from the D’backs’ season but here are the five biggest stories that stood out to me. Happy New Year everybody!
1. Justin Upton traded: The big news of the 2013 offseason was of course the trade of Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves for third baseman Martin Prado in a seven player deal. This trade is the very definition of the best and worst trades at the same time. The Diamondbacks traded a young outfielder who was supposed to be the player of the future for the franchise in Upton who ended up having a great season with Atlanta and Chris Johnson, who also excelled for Atlanta. Then again the Dbacks got Prado who was second on the teams in RBI’s and also received Randall Delgado who played a key role in the starting rotation. Zeke Spurill who has a future as a starter, and SS prospect Nick Ahmed who will compete for the SS spot with Chris Owings, and Didi Gregorius, were also involved in the transaction. We have so much depth now at shortstop. Only time will tell who won this deal.
2. Paul Goldschmidt: No athlete had a bigger year than Goldschmidt. Coming into 2013, Paul was expected to have a big year but no one expected what he did last season. Without Goldy, the Dbacks would have been much worse. He carried the team offensively and he developed into a Gold Glove first baseman. Just to give you the impact that Goldy had this year here are the facts from this year courtesy of Fox Sports: he led the NL in slugging percentage (.551), OPS (.952), total bases (332), home runs (36), RBI (125), extra-base hits (75), intentional walks (19). He won the Sliver Slugger, the Hank Aaron Award, and a Gold Glove and was robbed of N.L MVP. To me, MVP means most valuable player to their team and nobody was more valuable to their team than Goldy. The way he carries himself and the kind of leader he is in the clubhouse sets him apart from other players. He wants to be the best but he doesn’t go around and gloat about it either and that is what makes him in my opinion a once in a generation player.
3. Dodgers-D’backs Rivalry: The Dbacks rivalry really took to a new level this season. These teams hate each other and we already knew that but this year was out of control. The brawl in Los Angeles that saw batters hit, players ejected, suspensions handed out, and coaches fighting really changed the 2013 season for the Snakes in a bad way. Before that series in L.A the Snakes were in control of the N.L West and the Dodgers were in last place. After the brawl, the Dodgers went on their torrid streak and the D’backs fell off the map. That combined with the incident in the pool at the end of season really sparked new hatred for D’backs fans with LA. It will be interesting to see what transpires in Australia between the two clubs.
4. Patrick Corbin: The Dbacks knew this guy could be great and going into the season Corbin was working his butt off wanting to be the ace of this team. Little did we know what he would do in 2013. He carried the pitching staff the whole season and was a Cy Young candidate all season long. He was one of two D’backs who made the All Star team (along with Goldy) and he really solidified the ace role on this team. The last month of the season there were questions about whether he is ready to take the next step but the lefty clearly has a bright future with this team. Just imagine if Wade Miley can regain his form and we would have a rotation for the future of Archie Bradley, Braden Shipley, Aaron Blair, Corbin and Miley. That sounds good to me.
5. Health: If there is one thing that defined the end result of the Diamondbacks 2013 season it was health. Aaron Hill was out for most of the year, Brandon McCarthy was out for two months, Trevor Cahill had health problems, Miguel Montero struggled all year and much of that can be attributed to his injury issues. J.J. Putz went down for a long period, Matt Reynolds who was Arizona’s best reliever for the first month went down and was out for the year. Just imagine if Montero and Hill were healthy all year long and McCarthy and Cahill were healthy, this team would have been a lot better. That is why I don’t find it absolutely necessary for the D’backs to shake up this team anymore. All Arizona needs is to stay healthy and going into spring training that is the number one key for this team in my opinion.
Have a happy rest of 2013 everybody and lets hope the D’backs make the playoffs next season! That is the best New Year’s resolution in my opinion!