Arizona Diamondbacks’ Tony La Russa: Experts don’t understand how talented team is

Apr 1, 2015, 7:53 PM | Updated: Apr 2, 2015, 3:29 am
Follow @theAdamGreen...
LISTEN: Tony La Russa, D-backs Chief Baseball Officer

Last season, the Arizona Diamondbacks finished with an MLB-worst 64-98 record.

They fired their manager and general manager, then went about remaking the roster.

In less than a week, the team will officially open its 2015 campaign. Asked what he thinks will surprise people most about the team this season, chief baseball officer Tony La Russa said just how good this team will be.

No, this is not an April Fool’s Day joke.

“I think that you compare us to any team that you’re going to see, whether you see American League on TV or watch them come play us,” he told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday. “The combination of skills, the comprehensive skills of our everyday players, I think we match up with anybody as far as having complete players who can play defense, and have good athleticism, which means you’ll see them running balls down. On the bases, we’re an exciting base running team.”

La Russa, who is entering his first full season on the job, also said the D-backs have some live bats, which will lead to line drives and extra base hits.

“I really believe that the experts don’t understand how solid our position player squad can be,” he said. “And we have some depth, too.”

La Russa is confident the team has enough talent to be able to withstand some injuries or slumps.

But while Arizona may have a nice collection of position players, there are valid questions about the pitching staff. The starting rotation, which was named earlier in the week, has little in the way of proven aces.

“I think the biggest thing is the developing pitching staff,” La Russa said. “I give our front office a lot of credit. We’ve refreshed the power and the athleticism in our rotation, and you see it not just in the big leagues, but you see it if you look at the Double-A and Triple-A pitching staffs.

“The pitching is a work in progress only in the extent that it’s going to get better and better. I think that’s very exciting for the future, but I think it’s underestimated by many.”

Penguin Air

Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona Diamondbacks' Josh Rojas, left, greets Alek Thomas, right, after they scored against the Sa...
Jordan Leandre

Arizona Diamondbacks option OF Alek Thomas to Triple-A Reno

The Arizona Diamondbacks announced Monday that the team is optioning outfielder Alek Thomas to Triple-A Reno.
1 day ago
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Robbie Ray walks off off the field during the seventh inning of t...
Haboob Blog

Ex-D-backs Robbie Ray, Luke Weaver ejected after marathon anthem standoff

Robbie Ray's Mariners were facing Luke Weaver's Royals, and the two former D-backs put on a show with a national anthem standoff. 
1 day ago
Corbin Carroll #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks at bat during the game against the Los Angeles Dodger...
Alex Weiner

Corbin Carroll, Brandon Pfaadt earn D-backs minor league awards

The D-backs named OF Corbin Carroll the organization’s 2022 Minor League Player of the Year and RHP Brandon Pfaadt the Pitcher of the Year.
2 days ago
Alek Thomas #5 of the Arizona Diamondbacks attempts to catch a solo home run hit by J.D. Davis #7 o...
Associated Press

D-backs fall late to Giants, drop final home game of 2022 season

D-backs RHP Drey Jameson had his third strong start since he was called up, but the Giants beat Arizona 3-2 on Sunday.
2 days ago
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner throws to the plate during the sixth inning...
Arizona Sports

Report: D-backs LHP Madison Bumgarner will not pitch again in 2022

The Diamondbacks are reportedly sitting down lefty Madison Bumgarner for the remainder of the season, according to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert.
2 days ago
Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo gives a fist bump to Daulton Varsho after their 5-2 win ...
Associated Press

Offense pops in 5th inning and Kelly stops Giants again in D-backs win

Arizona right-hander Merrill Kelly kept up his mastery of the San Francisco Giants this season, pitching the D-backs to a win Saturday night.
3 days ago
Arizona Diamondbacks’ Tony La Russa: Experts don’t understand how talented team is