In the sports world, most people look for absolutes. I received a tweet last night that said, “I’m amazed you still haven’t realized the D-backs suck.” I checked the standings and saw Houston has lost 2/3 of their games while the D-backs have won more than half. My interpretation of the quasi cuss word is slightly different than his. Admittedly, though, I am one of those people that believes in absolutes, also. No matter how you try to slice the D-backs, they’re absolutely average.
There are four basic groupings on a baseball team: offense, defense, starting pitching and bullpen. They are all inter-dependent.
Starting pitching does well = offense has a chance and bullpen rests.
Defense does well = starting pitching can be more aggressive.
Bullpen does well = offense can play for one run instead of hope for big inning.
Without a doubt, the 2013 Arizona Diamondbacks are a miserable success. In almost every game, there’s been a failure by two of the groups, and the other two groups pulled the team along. Tuesday night’s game was an exact case study in the failure of this season, yet they won.
Everything Kevin Towers put this team together to be was on full display. Grinding out another extra-inning win. Never allowing the distraction of being down in the first inning affect them. Ignoring two blown saves in one game. In certain situations, playing stellar defense.
Kevin Towers brought in Martin Prado, who put on a show at the plate and defensively. Kevin Towers brought in Didi Gregorius, whose .263 average is excellent if his defense continues to shine. Kevin Towers traded for Aaron Hill in an unbelievably lopsided deal in favor of the D-backs. He signed Paul Goldschmidt to a team-friendly extension. Kevin Towers signed one the most productive backup catchers in recent memory. Ian Kennedy has a 5+ ERA and Chris Young is batting .192, that’s why they’re former D-backs.
Kevin Towers nailed it in putting together the chemistry of a team that never allows the results of others to affect their own individual focus.
This is the same GM that traded Jarrod Parker for Trevor Cahill. Parker has stretches of winning 7-of-8 and 5-of-6 this season. In the early stages of judgment, this trade was in the D-backs’ favor but not anymore, as Cahill has been a major disappointment.
Kevin Towers, reportedly, went to Ken Kendrick to ask for money to sign Heath Bell, who makes $9 million while blowing seven saves, tying him for third in baseball. J.J. Putz was signed to a sizable contract extension and is tied for ninth in blown saves. One of the people tied with Putz, David Hernandez, is not a major leaguer now. Towers traded his “ace” for Joe Thatcher, who’s right behind Putz and Hernandez in blown saves. Although Thatcher didn’t get one of the two blown saves Tuesday night, Thatcher faced one batter. He reached and scored.
Cody Ross and Jason Kubel have bounced between unproductive and horrible for most of their time as D-backs. They were supposed to be huge keys in the transformation to a “grinder” organization. Ross didn’t get consistent playing time, but didn’t do much with the playing time he did get. Kubel grinded his way to a .201 batting average in his last 13 months with the team.
Kevin Towers is not an idiot. The D-backs are not terrible.
Kevin Towers did not have a good year. The D-backs are average.