• HaroldHecuba: Mike Mussina is EASTERN EUROPEAN, not Italian....

This is one of a series of posts where we crucify teams for their crappy acquisitions and praise them for their prudent pickups.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are counting on the resurgence of a couple of their veterans to bounce back from a dreadful year. Ace Brandon Webb will return to anchor the rotation after missing the entire 2009 season, getting pulled on opening day and after only tossing four innings.

One of the Dbacks’ biggest moves in the offseason was getting Edwin Jackson, and he’ll likely pitch from the number three position in the rotation. Dan Haren returns as a formidable front-line starter, but the Dbacks have to count on a return-to-form year from Webb to make their rotation as good on the field as it looks on paper. Ian Kennedy (also part of the Jackson deal) will take up the departed Max Scherzer’s place, and Billy Buckner is one candidate to round out the starters (even though the fifth slot is wide open).

Late last year, Coley wrote about the need to improve the outfield, and how the Dbacks couldn’t count on both Eric Byrnes and Chris Young. And although they didn’t directly sign or trade for a new outfielder, adding Adam Laroche means Connor Jackson can move to left field. In fact, the move also allowed them to part ways with Eric Byrnes, who signed a one-year deal with the Mariners. So, mission accomplished. This leaves the Dbacks with Chris Young in center field and Justin Upton in right field. Gerardo Parra, who mostly covered left while Jackson was out, will come off the bench.

As far as the bullpen goes, the mostly young arms posted a 4.61 ERA, prompting general manager Josh Byrnes to add veteran hurlers Bob Howry and Aaron Heilman to at the very least add experience.

Defense was the biggest problem for the Snakes in 2009, as they committed a whopping 124 errors, the second most in the NL, so it’s no surprise manager A.J. Hinch will stress defense during Spring Training. The addition of Kelly Johnson to cover second base could provide some spark to the offense (he’s shown the ability to hit for high OBP in the past), but his mediocre glovework doesn’t address their defensive gaps. While it’s great that they’ll be “emphasizing fielding” in spring training, that and $1.50 will get them a cup of coffee.

The Dbacks were considerably better on offense (although not quite stellar), partly due to a solid seasons by young third baseman Mark Reynolds and catcher Miguel Montero. With Connor Jackson back for a full season, as well as the addition of LaRoche, the lineup should put up better numbers.

It’s worth noting that 2009′s awful campaign was partly due to abnormally bad luck with injuries. Webb was shelved almost from the get-go and Jackson suffered from valley fever (!), so the Dbacks ought to improve significantly from last year’s 70-92 record, especially considering their Pythagorean record (the number of games the team “should have won” based on how many runs they scored and allowed) in 2009 was 74 wins.

Offseason grade: B-

Key Additions:

SP Edwin Jackson
1B Adam LaRoche
SP Ian Kennedy
2B Kelly Johnson

Key Losses:

OF Eric Byrnes
SP Max Scherzer
SP Doug Davis
1B/3B Chad Tracy

Projected Lineup, Rotation and Closer

C – Miguel Montero
1B –
Adam LaRoche
2B -
Kelly Johnson
SS –
Stephen Drew
3B –
Mark Reynolds
LF -
Connor Jackson
CF –
Chris Young
RF –
Justin Upton

Brandon Webb
Dan Haren
Edwin Jackson
Ian Kennedy
Billy Buckner

CL - Chad Qualls

- Hot Offseason Action Index -

3 Responses to “Hot Offseason Action: Arizona Diamondbacks”

  1. I would consider Scherzer a key loss.

  2. Scherzer is such a tough player to evaluate, considering how many people think he’s destined for the bullpen. It could be Scherzer blossoms in the AL and the Dbacks end up looking silly. But it could be he spends the bulk of the season on the DL. Or that he struggles in the tougher league. I think it’s one of the more intriguing storylines this season.

  3. I consider the D-backs offseason moves to be an A-. Their key losses really aren’t that significant, and I agree with Coley that Scherzer is the most intriguing one…I’ll be watching him closely. Edwin Jackson and Adam LaRoche are the keys here, and I think they will put them in close competition with the Dodgers and Rockies.

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