More than a few eyebrows have been raised since Arizona Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers talked about a desire to add more power to the lineup next season, perhaps even in the form of a corner outfielder.
After all, just last offseason the team traded away a power-hitting corner outfielder, so an effort to add a new one would seem to be a bit of an admission that perhaps the Justin Upton deal is one the organization regrets.
Not so, according to President and CEO Derrick Hall.
“When you look at what Martin Prado did, he certainly drove in more runs than some of the players we had here in the past, so I don’t see that,” he told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Friday. “I think the trade that we made was very good, as we said, for both teams.
“I think looking back now, the critics of that trade understand why it was made. Martin Prado brought intangibles to this club that we certainly needed, and we built great depth in the minor leagues and were able to lean on Randall Delgado as our fifth starter all year long.”
Upton hit .263 with 27 home runs and 70 RBI for the Braves, compiling an on base percentage of .354 with an OPS of .818 in the process. After a slow start, Prado finished his first season as a D-back with a .282 average, 14 home runs and 82 RBI, with an BP of .333 and an OPS of .750.
Delgado started pitched in 20 games for the D-backs — 19 starts — and compiled a 5-7 record with a 4.26 ERA.
The Diamondbacks finished the season tied for 25th in baseball with 130 home runs, but was 14th in runs scored and RBI. They also struck out less than all but seven teams, so some of what the deal was meant to accomplish appears to have been done.
Yet, as the D-backs learned in 2013 it is tough to consistently manufacture runs, which is where the home run ball can be a real weapon. Hall points to injuries and down years as much of the reason for the team’s struggles.
“Unfortunately (Jason) Kubel did not produce like he did the year before and Cody (Ross) was hurt,” he said.
The lack of power in the lineup certainly did Paul Goldcshmidt no favors. Though the first baseman posted an MVP-caliber season with a .302 average, 36 home runs and 125 RBI, there is no doubt he could use a little more protection around him.
“You do have protection for him when things are going right,” Hall said. “We anticipated Martin Prado, Miguel Montero, Aaron Hill, Cody Ross all around him in that batting order.”
As the D-backs embark on the offseason, Hall said the expectation is that much of the power that was missing in 2013 could be found simply with a little health and a return to form from players already on the roster.
“If guys are going to have the seasons like they can, if Miguel Montero can bounce back, that’s really good protection,” he said. “But…regardless if those guys are back or not, we do want to add more punch to that lineup.”