Offseason In Review: Arizona Diamondbacks

Next up in our Offseason In Review series, the Diamondbacks.  Here's what we wrote about the team on October 2nd.  Changes for 2009:

Additions: Jon Garland, Felipe Lopez, Tom Gordon, Scott Schoeneweis, Bobby Korecky, Tony Clark (re-signed).  Midseason: Jon Rauch

Subtractions: Adam Dunn, Orlando Hudson, Brandon Lyon, Juan Cruz, Randy Johnson, Chris Burke, Jeff Salazar, Edgar Gonzalez.  Midseason: Micah Owings, Emilio Bonifacio

Offensively, Lopez replacing Hudson is the main change.  As GM Josh Byrnes told Nick Piecoro, "On a given day we should have one through eight, all good hitters."  The D'Backs don't have any hitter who projects at less than a .333 OBP or less than a .400 SLG (according to CHONE).  Their lineup projects at 4.71 runs per game, better than last year's 4.44.  4.71 would've ranked sixth in the NL last year.  Plus, Drew and Upton certainly have the potential to crush their projections.

With last year's strong run prevention, the D'Backs would be in line for 87 wins.  But can they match the 706 runs they allowed in '08?

Last year's rotation posted a 3.95 ERA in 978.6 innings.  They've subtracted a full season of fine work from Johnson and a half season of bad work from Owings.  Garland and Max Scherzer will be the main replacements.  CHONE has the pair combining for a 4.60 ERA in 270 innings, most of which comes from Garland at a 5.01 ERA.  Still, that beats the 4.74 mark from Johnson and Owings combined last year.  In a perfect world it would've been Johnson over Garland, but unfortunately at the time of the Johnson negotiations the D'Backs couldn't afford him.  It would've been nice to see them stretch the budget and offer $4-5MM to the Big Unit.

The Chris Snyder extension was a smart move, and it left catcher Miguel Montero as a valuable trade chip.  Swapping him for an MLB-ready starter would be big.

As far as the bullpen goes, I think a decent year from Rauch can make up for the loss of Cruz.  Defensively, the D'Backs ranked 11th in the NL last year according to The Fielding Bible II.  Lopez is a downgrade on Hudson even if Hudson had an off year in '08.  But maybe Drew can make up the difference at short.

Since run prevention looks like a wash, 87 wins seems like a reasonable projection for the '09 D'Backs.  Drew, Upton, and Scherzer are all capable of beating forecasts and carrying this team to a 90 win season.

Bottom line: The D'Backs lost many free agents this winter, and replacing Johnson with Garland was unfortunate.  Arizona should still battle for a division title if their 3-4-5 starters are decent.

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!