DAN BICKLEY

Arizona Diamondbacks’ rebuild will require change from franchise

Jul 19, 2022, 7:44 AM | Updated: 8:25 am

David Peralta #6 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates with Josh Rojas #10, Alek Thomas #5, and Jo...

David Peralta #6 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates with Josh Rojas #10, Alek Thomas #5, and Jose Herrera #36 after hitting a fifth inning grand slam home run against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on July 3, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

The Diamondbacks are among the have-nots in Major League Baseball.

As in:

They have not been good since August 2018. They have not been relevant slash riveting since Archie Bradley’s audacious triple in a one-game playoff against the Rockies. They haven’t won their division in over a decade, and in the ensuing 11 years, they have finished a combined 224 and-a-half games out of first place.

They have been spectacularly uncompetitive slash uninteresting.

The Diamondbacks are also swallowing slash wallowing in one spoonful of medicine after another. They are tanking with lipstick, discretion and a manager who can make it sound so sincere and competitive. Internally, they have finally committed to an extensive rebuild, attempting to create the kind of farm system necessary for long-term sustainability in the National League West.

After 24 years of erratic baseball in a doomed, domed stadium in the middle of the inhospitable Sonoran Desert, it is the only plan that makes sense.

But over the weekend, World Series hero Luis Gonzalez threw a wrench into the fog of apathy slash patience settling over our baseball team. Gonzalez said he sees very little urgency from the youthful homegrowns who have inherited souped-up roles on the 2022 Diamondbacks, and that he is clearly not a fan of the implications.

“For me, watching from the outside, I don’t know a lot (of) what’s going on in the clubhouse,” Gonzalez said. “I just don’t see the sense of urgency from a lot of these players. The comfort factor for me … everybody feels really comfortable. There’s not, like, ‘Somebody may take my job behind me.’

“A lot of times when you’re not playing well, you may lose that opportunity, you may lose your job. I just don’t see that sense of urgency from guys.”

It’s easy for casual fans to misinterpret the body language of bad baseball teams. It’s easy to look dispassionate during a hitting slump and impossible to flex when you know you’re overmatched on a baseball field. But Gonzalez is the only Big Four slash major professional championship hero we’ve ever had in this cursed sports town. His opinion matters more than most.

His words are a reminder that total rebuilds don’t always work, even with great civic patience, even when you stockpile elite draft picks and highly rated amateurs for years and years. Look at “The Process” in Philadelphia and how poorly that worked out for the designers. Look at “The Timeline” in Phoenix, where the Suns were once younger than some college basketball teams, where giving starting jobs to the unqualified proved to be a terrible idea.

Keep your fingers crossed if you’re a diehard baseball fan. From their inception in 1998, the Diamondbacks were built on a series of false premises. They erected a cavernous stadium that misjudged the summertime market in Arizona. They learned that peak ticket demand occurs during the Cactus League, when retractable roofs and air conditioning are not required.

Meanwhile, attempts to seize the moment with splashy free-agent acquisitions only revealed the Diamondbacks’ naivete and inexperience. The failed haymakers (Zack Greinke, Madison Bumgarner) mocked the homegrown stars they refused to pay on their way up (Max Scherzer, Paul Goldschmidt).

To be fair, the Diamondbacks are profoundly better than they were in 2021. They are also miles and miles away from being good. Their only All-Star representative in Los Angeles is an anonymous middle reliever.

They are a franchise that needs a firmer slash frugal path. They need to become league leaders in player development slash homegrown stars slash alternative paths to a championship.

The Diamondbacks are putting in the time and the losses. Let’s hope they’re choosing the right people.

Reach Bickley at dbickley@arizonasports.com. Listen to Bickley & Marotta mornings from 6-10 a.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

Dan Bickley

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Bickley Blast: Something feels very different with Devin Booker and the Suns

On the latest Bickley Blast, Dan Bickley asks if a Devin Booker trade request is in the near future.

4 hours ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Bickley Blast: Can a Phoenix Suns playoff run can force this team to reconcile its issues?

Despite the bad vibes surrounding the Phoenix Suns, Dan Bickley debates if an NBA playoff run can be the determining factor in what makes or breaks this team's underlying issues.

1 day ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Bickley Blast: Is a Devin Booker trade request near after Suns fall flat vs. the Clippers?

After Phoenix's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday with a poor performance from Devin Booker and the Suns' Big 3, Dan Bickley can't help but ponder the possibilities of what could be ahead for this franchise moving forward.

2 days ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Bickley Blast: Now is the time for Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns to go full throttle

With six games left in the regular season, Dan Bickley breaks down why the guard Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns need to go full throttle to the finish line if they want to secure a playoff spot and avoid the play-in game.

3 days ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Bickley Blast: Still reason to doubt Suns ‘Super team’ is built for playoff grind

Dan Bickley says in his Bickley Blast that there is still doubt the Suns can turn it on in the playoffs. Video/Photo: Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports and Phoenix Suns/NBA Arizona Sports has the permission and the rights to shoot video from the NBA and the Phoenix Suns. Subscribe to the Arizona Sports daily newsletter: https://bit.ly/3QWcj1x Read articles from Arizona Sports: https://arizonasports.com/ Download the Arizona Sports app: https://arizonasports.com/the-arizona-sports-98-7-fm-app/ Sign up for texts from Arizona Sports: https://arizonasports.com/text-alerts/ Listen live to Arizona Sports: https://arizonasports.com/listen-live/ Follow the team: https://bit.ly/3R0PIAJ ARIZONA SPORTS SOCIAL MEDIA Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArizonaSports/ X: https://x.com/azsports TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@arizonasports987 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/arizsports/ ARIZONA SPORTS PODCASTS: https://arizonasports.com/category/podcasts/

4 days ago

Kevin Durant, Zion Williamson and Drew Eubanks...

Dan Bickley

Suns missed an opportunity to take pressure off in loss to Pelicans

The Suns came out with a loss when they had a chance to take some pressure off their final week before the postseason.

5 days ago

Arizona Diamondbacks’ rebuild will require change from franchise