Five things to be thankful for: Arizona Diamondbacks
Nov 26, 2015, 7:00 AM
It’s Thanksgiving, which means people all over the country will be gathering around a table in order to give thanks for what they have.
Here’s what you can be thankful for if you’re an Arizona Diamondbacks fan.
5. Financial Flexibility – Sure, the lack of experience that sometimes comes along with having a young team isn’t always ideal, but being the youngest team in baseball has its perks. Thanks to its youth, Arizona quite literally has nothing to lose to free agency in 2016. Only David Hernandez, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jhoulys Chacin are free agents, each coming off of one-year contracts. Nobody to lose = no new holes to fill = more $ to spend. Bonus: Nearly the entire D-backs’ core has contracts that don’t expire until 2019 or later. Think Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, David Peralta, Ender Inciarte, Yasmany Tomas and Rubby De La Rosa…and that’s just the beginning.
4. CBO Tony La Russa – La Russa is baseball royalty. The kind that is forever enshrined in Cooperstown. The four-time manager of the year knows exactly what kind of team it takes to win a World Series — after all, he won three championships as a manager. As Chief Baseball Officer for the Diamondbacks, La Russa has his sights set on getting Arizona back to the postseason and he has the baseball acumen to help get them there.
3. Free agency – Arizona hasn’t traditionally spent much money in free agency, but this year La Russa has made it clear that they’re willing to pay a premium for the right players. With that being said, don’t expect them to go out and sign Greinke or Price. They’re going to be rational about whoever they choose to sign, but keep in mind that the Diamondbacks do have a lot of room on their payroll to work with so if they think a player is worth the price they’re asking for, they won’t be afraid to pursue them. Some names that the Diamondbacks have been linked to so far include Johnny Cueto, Yovani Gallardo and John Lackey, as well as Japanese pitcher Kenta Maeda.
2. A strong farm system – A strong farm system is the foundation for a successful franchise, and the Diamondbacks did well down on the farm in 2015. D-backs affiliates won two minor league championships and had the second-best organizational record in baseball. So what does that mean for Arizona? It’s a sign that both scouting and player development are doing well. Fans got a glimpse of top prospects like Brandon Drury, Socrates Brito and Peter O’Brien during September call-ups, but that only scratches the surface of the talent in their system. Aaron Blair, Braden Shipley and Jake Barrett are just a few of the pitching prospects that could make their way onto Arizona’s Opening Day roster in April.
How could Paul Goldschmidt not be on this list? “Goldy” didn’t finish second in NL MVP voting by chance. The three-time All-Star ranked in the top five of nearly every NL statistical category in 2015. He finished the season with an impressive .321 batting average, 38 doubles, 33 home runs, 110 RBI and 21 stolen bases. There’s no denying that Goldschmidt is the heart and soul of the Diamondbacks franchise and D-backs fans are lucky to call him their own.