Ask Arizona Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall what went wrong for his team in 2013, and he has a pretty simple answer.
"Injuries and inconsistent pitching," Hall told Arizona Sports 620's Doug and Wolf Thursday.
Though every team in baseball battles injuries over the course of a 162-game season, few teams have dealt with a pitching staff that has fallen so short of meeting expectations.
Going into the season, it was thought that a starting rotation featuring Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill, Brandon McCarthy, Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin would be good, and get a boost with the return of Daniel Hudson. Add to that a bullpen that featured four players with Major League closing experience in J.J. Putz, Heath Bell, David Hernandez and Brad Ziegler, and it was felt the team would have little trouble getting people out.
However, that has hardly been the case.
The starting rotation has received inconsistent performances throughout the season, and has posted an ERA of 4.15. The bullpen, on the other hand, leads baseball with 27 blown saves.
Kennedy was traded, Hernandez was sent down to Triple-A, Cahill, McCarthy and Putz have spent time on the disabled list, and Hudson never returned.
At the same time, the emergence of Corbin and Randall Delgado has been a nice surprise, and Miley has put together a solid season, too. Plus, top prospects Archie Bradley and David Holmberg are on the cusp of getting legitimate shots at the Major League level.
So, as this season ends and thoughts turn to the next, Hall said the D-backs have plenty of options when it comes to the starting rotation.
"That's the area where I see for the most improvement necessary," he said. "And if the guys pitch like they can, and like we thought that they would and we've seen flashes of it, we'll be fine.
"But I love the fact that we do have the depth and we're going to have the competition in spring. Not to mention that this offseason, we're going to look to improve in those areas as well."
Hall added it does not matter who the team already has, if they identify a player who could help them win games, they'll look to acquire him.
"Again, I think our biggest shortfall this year has been in starting pitching," he said. "So if that's the case, let's see if we can't improve or at least be healthier going into next year."