5 Arizona Diamondbacks Storylines to Follow During Spring Training
5 Arizona Diamondbacks Storylines to Watch
The 2013 Arizona Diamondbacks finished with 81 wins and 81 losses, with their .500 record indicative of their inconsistency all season. While Paul Goldschmidt played like an MVP candidate, injuries, the lack of production from hitters in front of him, the lack of power behind him, and a bad bullpen brought the team down from being division title contenders to out of the playoff picture. With expectations set high, GM Kevin Towers needed to make some moves this offseason in order to avoid another year of mediocrity.
The key changes that Towers made this winter came mostly through the trading block. As parts of a big-time, underrated three-team deal, power hitter Mark Trumbo from the Los Angeles Angels and closer Addison Reed from the Chicago White Sox will come in to fill immediate needs for the team. With a competent closer on board, Towers continued to rework the bullpen by re-signing Brad Ziegler and releasing a declining and ineffective Heath Bell. Going into the season, Towers should remain busy to try to continue to restock the pitching staff that simply must improve upon its results from last season. If the Diamondbacks can find another starter to fill out the back of its rotation, the team could find itself challenging the Los Angeles Dodgers for a division crown down the stretch of the season.
This Spring Training, the team will focus on improving upon the pieces that already exist. Here are five Arizona Diamondbacks storylines to follow heading into camp.
5. Mark Trumbo
The Diamondbacks will hope that Trumbo can improve upon his 34 home runs from last season with the Angels. Trumbo should benefit from playing in more hitter-friendly parks, but he must show that he can have success not only against lefties.
4. Addison Reed
Manager Kirk Gibson will have to hope that Reed will be the reliable option he needs during the ninth inning this season. Reed was relatively mediocre in 2013, blowing eight save opportunities in 48 chances while posting a fairly high 3.79 ERA. While he certainly has proved to be a capable stopper in past seasons, Gibson will not hesitate to turn to players with closer experience like Ziegler of J.J. Putz, although he has probably seen enough blown saves from those two already. If Reed can nail down the ninth for the Diamondbacks, it could be a great season in the makings.
3. Paul Goldschmidt
Goldschmidt was the breakout star in the NL last year, putting up a .303 average with 36 homers. Although it might seem difficult to replicate such success, Goldschmidt is such a talented player that there should be no doubt that he is the big bat of the team. Goldschmidt can hit anything and everything, and if the table-setters in front of him can get on base, then he should have an easy time staying on MVP ballots again this season.
2. Archie Bradley
The Diamondbacks' top prospect, pitcher Archie Bradley was the one player this offseason that Towers rejected all trade offers for. Clearly, the team values the 1.84 ERA he posted playing at the double-A level in 2013. Many scouts have made similar comparisons to Justin Verlander, so if Bradley can continue his expected progress, he could be a valuable midseason call-up that boosts the team.
1. Miguel Montero
Playing catcher, Miguel Montero was one the most productive players at his position before struggling last season, hitting just .230 with 11 homers. Although Montero struggled with lingering back problems throughout the season, it remains to be seen whether or not Montero can produce again like before or if age has caught up to him like many other catchers.