Following a disappointing 81-81 season in 2012, the Arizona Diamondbacks front office responded by making several notable moves during the offseason.
This winter, the D-backs replaced Chris Young, Justin Upton and Trevor Bauer with guys (Brandon McCarthy, Cody Ross, Eric Chavez, Eric Hinske, Heath Bell and Martin Prado) that appear to fit seamlessly with the type of versatile ballclub manager Kirk Gibson and general manager Kevin Towers believe can compete in a talented NL West division.
Some called the string of decisions a shift towards grittiness, but closer J.J. Putz, who signed a two-year deal with the team back in January, sees it a little differently.
“You have to remember Kevin Towers inherited a team,” Putz told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns & Gambo Monday. “He’s going to do what he believes is best to put a team on the field that is going to compete and win championships.
“I don’t think that’s a knock on anybody who was here last year that isn’t here this year, I just think it’s a big credit to the guys they brought in. They believe that much in the character of the guys that they brought in.”
While the team has only officially been together for a little more than week, Putz said there’s already a noticeable difference.
“You can tell early on in the clubhouse, the culture is just different this year,” said Putz. “Everybody is holding one another accountable for things already.
“It’s just a bunch of fun-loving guys in there.”
When asked who among the newcomers has set the tone for the rest of the team, Putz said he’s been impressed by Hinske and Ross.
“I think Eric Hinske just has a presence about him in the clubhouse,” said Putz. “He’s been around the game for awhile. He’s a very well-respected guy.
“And the other one I would have to say, all the guys they’ve brought in are great, but Cody Ross just seeing him smile every day when he comes in the clubhouse. He brings light to it every single day.”