|2008 Arizona Diamondbacks||| Print |||Send|
Written by Nicholas Kramer (Contact & Archive) on March 01, 2008
Manager: Bob Melvin
Home: Chase Field
3B Augie Ojeda – Free Agency
OF Chris Burke – Traded from Houston
OF Trot Nixon - Free Agency
RHP Bill Buckner – Traded from Kansas City
RHP Dan Haren – Traded from Oakland
RHP Connor Robertson – Traded From Oakland
RHP Chad Qualls – Traded From Houston
RHP Juan Gutierrez – Traded From Houston
Out of the Snake Pit
1B Tony Clark - Free Agent
INF Chris Carter - Traded to Oakland
2B Alberto Callspo – Traded from Royals
3B Jeff Cirilo - Free Agent
OF Aaron Cunningham - Traded to Oakland
OF Carlos Gonzalez - Traded to Oakland
OF Carlos Quentin - Traded to White Sox
SP Livan Hernandez – Signed with Twins
RP Bob Wickman - Free Agent
RHP Jose Valverde - Traded to Houston
LHP Dana Eveland - Traded to Oakland
LHP Greg Smith - Traded to Oakland
The Skinny: The 2007 Arizona Diamondbacks won the most competitive divisional race in recent MLB history. Arizona expected a tough challenge from Colorado, but did not expect to be swept by the Rockies. Although they were defeated in the NLCS by the Colorado Rockies, the Diamondbacks still did win the NL West.
Arizona has gone all out to trade for pieces that seemed to be missing in the 2007 season. These pieces include consistent starting pitching, depth out of the bullpen and a strong bench. The Dan Haren acquisition is the best that anyone in Arizona could have hoped for. With Randy Johnson’s injuries, the Diamondbacks needed that pitcher who can stay consistent and help win.
Strengths: Pitching is the ultimate reason that the Diamondbacks were able to win the NL West and make it to the NLCS. Ranked seventh in MLB in ERA, the Diamondbacks were able to win most of their games on the back of their pitching. Brandon Webb (a Cy Young candidate in 07 and most likely one in 08), Dan Haren, Randy Johnson, and Doug Davis have to stay injury free and keep consistent in order for the 2008 Diamondbacks to be contenders in the even stronger NL West. The bullpen is strong with Brandon Lyon, Juan Cruz, and Chad Qualls. The closer will be decided in spring training where someone will have to shine in order to keep the Diamondback bullpen strong.
Weakness: The Diamondbacks ranked 29th in overall in batting average (.250) in ’07. They also had only 171 homeruns, 712 runs scored, and 1350 hits. These numbers must improve for the Diamondbacks to reach the next level. The improvement must come from Connor Jackson, Eric Brynes, and Justin Upton.
The position players are very young. They are above-average defensively, but still learning how to hit major league pitching. The new additions to the Diamondbacks bench -- namely Chris Burke and Trot Nixon -- should be an improvement over last year’s bench.
1. CF Chris Young
2. 3B Mark Reynolds
3. 1B Connor Jackson
4. LF Eric Brynes
5. RF Justin Upton
6. 2B Orlando Hudson
7. C Chris Snyder
8. SS Stephen Drew
Keys to Success: The Diamondbacks will need every run that they can scrap to stay competitive. The pitching will be dominant again as well. The addition of Haren is a boost that any rotation would love to have. Getting their young hitters to get more involved in anyway possible is a need, just even if it is to be slightly more productive. Starting pitching will have to remain strong and the bullpen consistent. Also health has been an issue with some of the pitching staff; they will need to stay healthy to keep the Diamondbacks in contention for the playoffs.
Prediction: Arizona knows exactly what team work is, because that’s what it took in to win last year. The NL West will once again be the most competitive and could be the most exciting division to watch in all of baseball. The Dodgers, Padres, and Colorado Rockies will all be as strong as the Diamondbacks.
The Diamondbacks should be able to out-pitch their way to at least a Wild Card spot. Given that their defense will be strong again and that their hitting came improve just a big, I’ll guess their record will be 92-70 and they’ll win the NL West again.
However, with those three other teams trying to overtake them, the Diamondbacks need to watch out. Everything is there for them to keep winning, however.