The Diamondbacks were one of MLB's most active teams this offseason, looking to cash in on some of their organizational depth to make a deep run into the playoffs in 2014 after finishing .500 in last year. News that they may lose staff ace Patrick Corbin for the season due to Tommy John surgery has cast a rain cloud of doubt over the Arizona desert to start the season. With or without Corbin, the Diamonbacks will start the season this weekend against the Dodgers in Australia.
2013 Season In Review
After finishing 81-81 in 2012, the Diamondbacks raced out of the starting gate and stood eight games above .500 at the end of May and were 50-45 in the first half of the season but limped to the finish line with a 31-36 record in the second half, finishing second in the NL West at 81-81. Arizona can build on the breakout performance of Paul Goldschmidt, who posted a .404 wOBA in 710 PA. Goldschmidt abused baseballs to the tune of a .249 ISO, ranking sixth among qualified hitters. Their team defense was quite good as well, but not good enough to make up for other deficiencies and carry them into October.
Key Offseason Moves
Acquired OF Mark Trumbo and RHP A.J. Schugel from the Angels and OF Brandon Jacobs from the White Sox in exchange for Tyler Skaggs (to Angels) and Adam Eaton (to White Sox): Trumbo should provide the D'Backs with some much needed power in the outfield (.219 ISO in 2013), at the expense of OBP. His .294 OBP ranked last among qualified 1B last season, and would have tied for last with Yoenis Cespedes among qualified outfielders.
Acquired RHP Addison Reed from the White Sox in exchange for 3B prospect Matt Davidson: The acquisition of Mark Trumbo pushed Martin Prado to 3B full time, allowing the Diamondbacks to turn Matt Davidson, a bat-first 3B prospect with a chance to be a decent everyday player, into trade bait to acquire their closer of the future, Addison Reed. Reed, 25, fanned 24.4% of the batters he faced last season and posted a 3.17 FIP in 71 ⅓ IP.
Signed RHP Bronson Arroyo to a 2 year/$23.5M deal: Arroyo is entering his age 37 season, but has started at least 32 games every season since 2004 and projects to be an important innings eater for the D'Backs in 2014. Pitching with the Reds in 2013, Arroyo notched a 3.79 ERA, but his FIP of 4.49 indicates he might be in for a rough season with the Diamondbacks if his luck catches up with him.
One To Watch
This is the space you expect to see a couple paragraphs telling you how great Paul Goldschmidt is. You already know how great Paul Goldschmidt is, though. You've seen that, you don't need me to tell you. So instead of insulting your intelligence by swooning over Mr. Goldschmidt, I'll make better use of your time by swooning over Archie Bradley instead.
With every pitcher that the Diamondbacks lose during Spring Training it becomes increasingly more likely we'll see Archie Bradley in a Diamondbacks uniform very early this season, if not right out of camp. Bradley is a big kid with a bigger fastball, routinely running it up there at 93-97 MPH and backing it up with a knuckle-curve that can buckle even the most seasoned hitter's knees. Though it's almost certainly unsustainable at the MLB level, Bradley sent 23.5% of AA batters back to the dugout shaking their heads. Electric stuff and a top of the rotation ceiling ensure Archie Bradley's MLB debut will be one of the most anticipated of the season.
Diamondbacks by the Numbers
Despite playing in a fairly neutral ball park, Chase Field, the 2013 Diamondbacks finished tied for 21st in MLB with an ISO of just .133 and finished tied for 25th in HRs with 130. The addition of Mark Trumbo (.219 ISO in 2013) should help boost the Diamondbacks' power numbers in 2014, even if it may cost them some runs on the other side of the baseball.
2014 Team Outlook
Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA system projects the Diamondbacks to finish 79-83, fourth in the NL West behind the Dodgers, Giants, and Padres. With the recent injury concerns about staff ace Patrick Corbin, that projection appears to be near the mark. There is certainly talent on the Diamondbacks roster, but on paper, they do not seem to measure up to the division powerhouse in the City of Angels.
All stats courtesy of our friends at FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.