The Arizona Diamondbacks, having recently acquired outfielder/first-baseman Mark Trumbo, are now a serious threat to contend for the NL West title in 2014. However, many are still going to doubt that adding an all-or-nothing power hitter who batted a mere .234 last season is going to give the Diamondbacks the edge over Don Mattingly‘s star-studded Los Angeles Dodgers team.
After all, the Dodgers are a team that features two of the best pitchers in MLB in Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, one of the game’s most dynamic-young players in Yasiel Puig, the ultimate five-tool player in Matt Kemp, not to mention Adrian Gonzalez who has emerged as one of the better pure hitters in baseball over the past few seasons.
The Dodgers also have a pair of rebounding former All-Stars in Hanley Ramirez and Carl Crawford.
Admittedly, the addition of Trumbo may not quite give the Diamondbacks the edge in the NL West, but it certainly does put them in a better position to hang with the Dodgers for a few different reasons.
For starters, Trumbo is game-changer. He can easily erase a three-run deficit and change the outlook of a game with one heroic swing of the bat.
Moreover, Trumbo will also have another big right-handed power bat in Paul Goldschmidt, who is coming off of a breakout season in which he finished second in the MVP race, anchoring the middle of the lineup right along with him.
The 2014 Diamondbacks are going to remind a lot people of the Oakland Athletics teams of the late 1980s and early 1990s which featured the original bash brothers in Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. Goldschmidt and Trumbo are going to make for yet another pair of mighty righties who have the potential to hit a collective 80 home runs. Goldschmidt will likely hit for a much higher average, however.
Goldschmidt will likely be the biggest beneficiary of the Trumbo addition due to the fact that Trumbo is slated to bat behind him. With a proven home run threat protecting him, Goldschmidt is liable to have another monster season and could perhaps post even bigger numbers than he did in 2013.
The Diamondbacks’ lineup will also feature Martin Prado, who has batted over .300 in four different seasons, as well as Aaron Hill, who, if he stays healthy, has the potential to have one of the better offensive seasons of any second baseman in baseball in 2014. The Diamondbacks will have Cody Ross, a potential 20-home run threat if healthy, on their squad as well.
As formidable as the Diamondbacks’ lineup may be, however, many are still going to argue that the Dodgers’ lineup is better. Furthermore, good pitching will always beat good hitting, and the Diamondbacks are going to have their work cut out for them as they will have to face the aforementioned Kershaw and Greinke on a number of occasions.
Moreover, the Diamondbacks may need to look at shoring up their own rotation. They have a very solid No. 1 in Patrick Corbin, who, in just his second year in the big leagues, won 14 games and posted a very respectable 3.41 ERA, but the Diamondbacks are going to need their other starting pitchers to step up.
The Diamondbacks need Trevor Cahill to pitch like he did for the Athletics in 2010 when he won 18 games, posted an ERA under 3.00, and finished ninth the the Cy-Young voting. They also need Wade Miley, who had a brilliant season in 2012 but took a slight step back last year, to be on top of his game.
The Diamondbacks’ bullpen, on the other hand, looks like it is going to be in excellent shape. Brad Ziegler and JJ Putz, two guys with closing experience who each posted ERAs under 2.40 last season, will be returning next season, and the Diamondbacks recently acquired another proven closer in Addison Reed from the Chicago White Sox.
One should never underestimate the intense desire of Diamondbacks’ Manager Kirk Gibson to win either. It is common knowledge that Gibson is one of the fiercest competitors the game of baseball has ever seen. After leading the Diamondbacks to an NL West title in 2011 and subsequently winning manager of the year, Gibson has had back-to-back 81-81 seasons so he will be looking to rectify that in 2014.
Watch out for the Diamondbacks next season. Even if the they fail to win the NL West, Arizona will have a great shot at nabbing one of the two NL Wild Card slots.