Pitchers and catchers report to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Feb. 17, and there will definitely be a different aura around the team.
The Diamondbacks were one of the most active teams from the Winter Meetings, as the team signed pitcher Zack Greinke to a franchise record $206.5 million contract, traded away their No.1 overall pick Dansby Swanson to acquire pitcher Atlanta Braves pitcher Shelby Miller, traded Aaron Hill for Milwaukee Brewers infielder Jean Segura and signed relief pitcher Tyler Clippard.
Obviously, GM Dave Stewart has shifted into win-now mode, but ESPN’s David Schoenfield is not fully sold on the team’s offseason haul.
Schoenfield ranks the Diamondbacks 13th in MLB and projects the team will go 84-78. The senior writer points out where things could go wrong for Arizona.
The Diamondbacks are going to be a popular pick, but they still have several holes for a team with its eye on a division title. Segura and Nick Ahmed will battle it out for shortstop, and while Ahmed is a gifted defender, neither hit at all in 2015.
Stewart previously stated that Segura will receive the majority of his playing time at shortstop during spring training, but will also compete for second base.
Moving outfielder Ender Inciarte in the Miller deal and banking heavily on the rise in production from Yasmany Tomas also does not sit well with Schoenfield.
Yasmany Tomas will move to the outfield to replace Inciarte; Tomas had a .305 OBP and projects as a defense liability.
Schoenfield does make note that even with all the offensive deficiencies last season — minus Segura — Arizona was still able to finish second in the National League in runs, thanks to Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock and David Peralta.
The Diamondbacks can surely ride the production of those three far into the season, but Schoenfield thinks the team is simply betting on too many things to go right.
Look, there’s a definite upside here if the rotation stays healthy, but I always worry about the stars-and-scrubs approach. I don’t think the D-backs go all Padres on us, but they fall short in a tough division.
Arizona is looking to break a four-year postseason drought.