D-backs: It's better to be lucky and good
Just about every guy they kept with an extended contract was a waste of money. Just about every guy they traded blossomed. Brandon Webb happened. A.J. Hinch happened. Manny Ramirez in Dodger Blue happened. Seasons of 90-plus losses happened.
This time a year ago, some were saying the Diamondbacks roster was the least talented in the National League. Yeah, that was just a year ago. Now, a writer like Buster Olney says the World Series is a possibility.
The D-backs' hot streak continued Tuesday with news of Prince Fielder signing with the Tigers. A major deal for Prince that serves as a minor victory for Arizona; one of the best players in the game just vacated the National League. Just like Albert Pujols bolting to the Angels.
The offseason has been nothing short of incredible for the Arizona Diamondbacks. In addition to bringing just about everybody back from last year's 94-win campaign, they added Trevor Cahill to upgrade the rotation, Jason Kubel to provide needed pop in the lineup and Takashi Saito and Craig Breslow to deepen the bullpen. With the surprising re-signing of Joe Saunders, the D-backs now possess four starters who are capable of 200-plus innings. Now, Kevin Towers has the luxury of bringing along his young starters at a pace dictated by him and not by necessity. The front office green lighted a higher than expected payroll, a sure sign of a go-for-it-now mentality.
Certainly luck has been involved as well. Pujols is now in the AL West. Prince in the AL Central. Ryan Braun might be suspended for the first 50 games of the season. Ryan Howard is hurt and the Phillies, at least offensively, look old. The Dodgers are currently ownerless, which is certainly a blessing; they might have been in on both of the first baseman if they had an owner who could spend.
At this point the only negative, and it's not as much a negative as it is an unknown, is the health of Stephen Drew. Some might argue the departure of Jarrod Parker or the demotion of Gerrardo Parra as negatives. I'm more inclined to buy the latter and not the former. Cahill is not much older than Parker and already has around 600 big league innings. He makes them better now. The Parra/Kubel debate is a good one and the pressure is on Kubel to prove he's worth it.
Either way, it's been a great offseason. And as the Prince signing proves, it pays to be lucky and good.