Just because national pundits are not expecting much of the 2013 Arizona Diamondbacks does not mean the team itself shares the same level of pessimism.
“I believe we’ve worked very hard to put a team together that can compete, and we start the season with every belief that we’re going to be in the playoffs, that’s what we strive for every single year,” D-backs owner Ken Kendrick told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo Wednesday. “We made a lot of moves and we’re a different team than the one that was on the field last year, and the nature of how I think we’re going to play the game is going to be different this year.”
Indeed, the D-backs are different from last year’s team that won 81 games and finished third in the NL West, and they’re even more different from the squad that won 94 games and the division the previous season.
Gone are players like Justin Upton, Chris Young and Trevor Bauer, and in their place are Martin Prado, Brandon McCarthy and Randall Delgado.
Kendrick, though, acknowledges the difficulty of the NL West but believes the D-backs have upgraded the roster, even if others don’t.
The team’s moves — especially the decision to part with Upton — were met with some skepticism. A 25-year-old who was an MVP candidate just two seasons ago, there are a lot of people interested in how the former top pick will fare in Atlanta.
Kendrick is one of them.
“I think everybody knows I’m a big Justin fan; I was there on day one when we worked him out before he was drafted,” Kendrick said, adding he has a long history with Upton and his family. “I think he’s a very talented player and I want him to perform well.
“Yet, I think we did the right thing in making the trade that we made and very proud of the players that we have to replace him, and confident they will play well for us.”