The Arizona Diamondbacks are worse off without All-Star outfielder Justin Upton, at least according to SI.com’s MLB Power Rankings by Joe Lemire.
The 2011 National League West champions fell short last season, finishing 81-81 and third in the division behind the World Champion San Francisco Giants and revamped Los Angeles Dodgers, and SI’s offseason list still has the D-backs looking up at those teams. Arizona ranks 19th on the list, while the Giants come in third and the Dodgers ninth.
The Diamondbacks were as active as anyone in the Senior Circuit this offseason, but it’s not clear if it’ll be enough to keep pace with the Giants and Dodgers in the fierce NL West. McCarthy will help the rotation, and Gregorious is a light-hitting defensive whiz at shortstop. But most of the other moves were for role players or, in the case of Ross, a curiosity. Despite Upton’s inconsistencies, it’s hard to imagine that Arizona is better without him.
The trade that sent Upton and 3B Chris Johnson to Atlanta, while criticized and questioned by many, brought the D-backs veteran third baseman and former All-Star Martin Prado, 22-year-old pitcher Randall Delgado and shortstop prospect Nick Ahmed.
In separate offseason deals, Towers shipped pitching prospect Trevor Bauer to Cleveland — a deal which returned shortstop Didi Gregorius; and sent outfielder Chris Young to Oakland in a three-way trade that landed shortstop Cliff Pennington and former Miami reliever Heath Bell.
The Diamondbacks also dipped into the free agency pool, signing veteran outfielder Cody Ross, starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy, infielder Eric Chavez and infielder/outfielder Eric Hinske.
Ross adds to the depth in the outfield and brings leadership alongside Jason Kubel for youngsters like Adam Eaton and A.J. Pollock, while Hinske will provide depth at the first base position behind starter Paul Goldschmidt.
The Diamondbacks didn’t make the splashiest acquisitions in the offseason, which coupled with their .500 finish a year ago, has the folks over at SI unimpressed heading into spring training.