After finishing in second place behind the hands-down favorite Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013, the Arizona Diamondbacks seemed like clear-cut challengers for a playoff spot this season. General manager Kevin Towers spent the offseason bolstering weak spots on the D’Backs’ 25-man roster. He added a legitimate middle of the order power threat in Mark Trumbo and seemingly solidified the starting rotation with Bronson Arroyo, although those acquisitions, among others, have proven insufficient for Arizona in the 2014 MLB season.
The D’Backs’ struggles aren’t temporary. They own a pitiful minus-66 run differential to rank as the least competitive team in baseball. They’ve also posted an inconceivably poor 4-17 home record, fueling their overall mark of 16-27. Arizona’s lack of pitching prowess within the confines of a hitter-friendly ballpark has been devastating. They own the worst collective ERA in the big leagues, surrendering 4.76 earned runs per contest.
Arizona doesn’t boast enough firepower on offense to mitigate the effects of consistently awful pitching performances. As a team, Arizona has registered an inefficient .304 on-base percentage to rank 25th in the league. While slugging first baseman Paul Goldschmidt remains a bright spot, Trumbo has been on the shelf with a stress fracture in his foot since late-April. At the time of his injury, he was leading the National League with seven home runs.
Arroyo, a proven veteran, is the “best” pitcher Arizona flaunts on its roster, but his numbers don’t exactly jump off the stat sheet. The 37-year-old hurler owns a 4-2 record with a 4.15 ERA in eight starts this season. He signed a two-year contract worth $23.5 million over the offseason, a deal that Towers severely overpaid to complete.
Arizona had serious hopes of being the team to upend the Dodgers in 2014 after finishing 81-81 last season. They seemingly closed the gap on paper by making a pair of solid acquisitions, but Towers has built a team that cannot succeed within the air-conditioned climate of Chase Field.
The D’Backs are buried in the basement early on in the 2014 season, and things don’t appear destined to improve. They’re a poorly constructed ball club put together by a GM who continues to fail no matter where he calls the shots from. The D’Backs are now a clear-cut last place team with zero chance of contending.