OK, let’s get one thing straight here — it’s March 18. The baseball season hasn’t even started. There are still 162 games left to be played. So no, likely losing Patrick Corbin for the season does not mean the season is over for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Yes, it sucks. We all get that. Corbin was slated to be the ace off the staff. He won 14 games last season and pitched over 200 innings. He won’t be easy to replace. And the rotation has some solid underachievers in it, mainly Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy.
But the MLB season is a marathon, not a sprint. The staff aces pay their biggest dividends in the postseason. And remember this: the average team uses between 9-10 starters during the season. Very rarely do we ever see a team’s five starting pitchers all open the season and never miss a start.
Unfortunately for Arizona, they have traded away some of their young depth like Tyler Skaggs and David Holmberg. Damn, it would be nice to have Holmberg, but in order to get rid of that bum Heath Bell, Arizona had to include Holmberg in a three-way deal with Cincinnati to make it worthwhile for Tampa Bay to take on Bell’s salary.
Nonetheless, there is another way Arizona can win games and stay in contention — offense. Arizona will need its offense to carry them, especially early in the season. With solid offensive weapons in Paul Goldschmidt, Aaron Hill and Mark Trumbo, the Diamondbacks should and will play for big innings. Without a true ace or even a true number-two, it won’t be necessary to bunt runners over to play for a run here and there. It will be more important to hit.
Martin Prado is off to a great start this spring. Chris Owings — if he wins the shortstop job — is a better offensive player then Didi Gregorius. But the key will the Miguel Montero, he is one of the few left-handed bats they will have in the lineup. Montero needs to hit like he did two years ago when he batted .286 with 15 home runs and 88 RBI. The D-backs can’t afford another season from Montero like 2013, when he hit .230 with 11 and 42.
If the offense can carry the team, they can win a lot of games 6-4, 7-5, 8-6. What they can’t afford is for the offense to falter. If it does, this season will be a long one.
So don’t write off the Diamondbacks just yet. Bronson Arroyo and Wade Miley are good pitchers. Archie Bradley will be here at some point. And they will likely trade the loser of the shortstop battle for a starting pitcher.
Losing Corbin hurts, it hurts bad. There’s no getting around that. But to write them off at this point is ridiculous. The season hasn’t even started.