Home Series 4 Preview: Cubs vs. Diamondbacks

Goldschmidt

Paul Goldschmidt hopes to carry on from a successful 2013 for the Diamondbacks. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Diamondbacks made a series of dubious decisions heading into the 2013 season, moving Justin Upton and once-highly thought of prospect Trevor Bauer in separate deals for what most felt was less than max value. In theory, both moves should have made Arizona better in the immediate future, though the D-backs enter this week’s series as the worst team in the baseball, in part due to a league-worst -51 run differential. The team disappointed in 2013 as well, finishing right at .500 for the second year in a row, after delivering 94 wins and a playoff berth in 2011. The reshuffling continued this offseason, as GM Kevin Towers moved outfielder Adam Eaton and young pitcher Tyler Skaggs in a deal that netted power-hitting outfielder Mark Trumbo from the Angels. They also consummated a separate deal with the White Sox to nab closer Addison Reed.

2014 HITTING
(13th in NL, 3.7 R/G)

Trumbo jumped out to the early home run lead in 2014 and provides the Diamondbacks with another power bat (though an awful .298 career OBP) to team with Paul Goldschmidt. The team’s offense was already solid last season, and Trumbo should help them score even more runs—especially if catcher Miguel Montero bounces back from a 2013 in which he posted a .230/.318/.344 line after delivering back-to-back .800-plus OPS years. However, it’s Goldschmidt who makes the offense tick. After a pair of very solid seasons, the slugging first baseman took his game to another level last year, posting a gaudy .302/.401/.551 line with 36 doubles and 36 home runs, and finishing second in MVP voting. If he can continue to produce at an elite level, which he’s done so far this season (.313/.330/.518), it will be a steady boost to the Diamondbacks’ offense.

2014 PITCHING
(15th in NL, 6.1 R/G)

The D-Backs are off to a terrible 5-16 start, and much of that can be traced back to the rotation. Last season, the Diamondbacks got a strong contribution from young starter Wade Miley (2-2, 4.35 ERA in 2014), but they’ll miss Patrick Corbin, who injured his elbow in Spring Training. Trevor Cahill (0-4, 7.48) missed all of July 2013 with a hip contusion, but was strong in his return, posting a 2.70 ERA in 50 innings. With Ian Kennedy and Skaggs gone, the team added Bronson Arroyo (1-1, 9.95) for veteran leadership and consistency. The 37-year-old doesn’t flash plus stuff, but has continued to deliver strong seasons, having logged at least 200 innings in eight of the last nine years. But he’s off to an abysmal start in 2014. The hope is Brandon McCarthy (0-3, 7.11) can stay healthy and allow Randall Delgado (0-1, 6.23) to work out of the bullpen. The D-backs added closer Reed to solidify the late innings, but they still need J.J. Putz to stay healthy.

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