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Nine D-backs questions that need answers

These days you’ll have a hard time finding anyone who has
bad things to say about the Arizona Diamondbacks. From
winning the NL West, to getting to the World Series, to
Justin Upton winning the MVP, the Diamondbacks are that
movie that all the critics are raving about.

And that’s what scares me.

Half the time you walk out of a movie like that trying to
figure out exactly what movie they were watching when they
gave it two thumbs up.

Like many, I’m picking the Diamondbacks to win the West.
But that fact doesn’t mean I don’t have legit questions
about this team; the answers to which may well determine
if they will win the West. Here are nine of them:

Tell me who are you (are you, ooh ooh, ooh ooh)?

Who is Ryan Roberts? Is he a 19 HR/.768 OPS guy again this
season? Or was that the very definition of a career year?
Who is Aaron Hill? In 33 games with the Diamondbacks he
hit .315/.386/.878 and was a huge part of the push for the
playoffs late in the season. Asking them both to do it
again feels like asking for too much.

Rubik’s Kubel

I’ll be curious to see how Kirk Gibson solves the nightly
puzzle of his one-man-too-many outfield. Pressure is on
Jason Kubel to produce; to prove that his acquisition at
the expense of Gold Glover Gerardo Parra was worth it.
He’ll hear about it if he doesn’t.

First Base from A (Allen) to Z (Zinter)

With apologies to anyone I may have forgotten…..since Mark
Grace retired Allen, Baerga, Branyan, Clark, Colbrunn,
Easley, Green, Hammock, Jackson, LaRoche, Mayne, Miranda,
Mora, Nady, Overbay, Reynolds, Ryal, Sexson, Snyder,
Tracy, Whitesell and Zinter all have given it a go over at
1B. Here’s hoping the wheel of misfortune stops with Paul

Here’s to your health

For lack of a better word, the D-backs were lucky last
year. Other than Stephen Drew’s gruesome ankle injury and
J.J. Putz spending a few weeks on the DL, the Snakes
enjoyed a relatively healthy season. It seems almost
impossible that they’ll repeat that good fortune. The
question then becomes do they possess the depth to
withstand a significant loss.

Catcher in the bye

If reports are true that Miguel Montero is in search of a
contract similar to the $50 million Victor Martinez
received from the Tigers, then this could very well be his
final season here. Can’t see the D-backs giving him that
much coin. Trouble is there aren’t a ton of other options
in the minors. Acquiring a catcher, perhaps in exchange
for the surplus of starting pitching prospects, should be
a top priority.

Getting out your regression

Based on his age and the fact he threw significantly more
innings than the previous year,’s Tom Verducci has
pegged Daniel Hudson as a candidate for injury or
regression. D-backs fans better hope that Verducci’s
formula is flawed when it comes to the “2” in the D-backs
1-2 pitching punch.

The man-child is now The Man

Justin Upton, seemingly, has arrived as a perennial MVP
candidate. I’m actually picking him to win the award this
year. He needs to have a spectacular year in order for the
D-backs to repeat.

A sinking feeling

In reading the USA Today’s MLB preview, an anonymous scout
mentioned there was no sink to Trevor Cahill’s sinker and
it appeared he was throwing a BP fastball. Earlier in the
spring, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported some around
baseball were curious why Billy Beane would be so willing
to trade a young, cost-controlled starter like Cahill. In
other words, what did he see wrong that others didn’t? I
liked the deal then and I still like it now. The D-backs
gave up a young promising starter in Jarrod Parker to win
now with Cahill. That’s exactly what he needs to do.

People will come Ray

Will they? This team overachieved last year and then went
over budget to try and do it again. During a year of such
hype and such promise here’s hoping the D-backs and their
fans, deliver.