Friday, March 18, 2005


2005 Season Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks

Ugh...I've been waiting to do this one the entire time I've done team previews. Honestly I can see it happening that they don't even pull themselves out of the cellar, but with the youth movement in Colorado and the few positive signings in Arizona I can't see myself getting away with saying it. Just know that I am not picking them for fourth place, but rather saying we have two teams capable of last place in the division, but they can't both finish there...or can they? *cue spooky music*

Tony Clark, 1B: I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t. Stop asking me.

Royce Clayton, SS: Well Clayton’s home numbers are decent enough I guess. His road numbers are not. I think that Colorado place does something to skew less talented players numbers, but that’s just a
crazy idea. The Diamondbacks have done worse than sign Clayton for less than $1.5 million though. Kudos on not overspending on him (not that I approve of signing him in the first place.)

Craig Counsell, SS/3B: And now Clayton makes less sense. Even if Counsell hits like he did last year, if he defends as well he’ll have his uses and value.

Shawn Estes, SP: Finally! A player who might do better in Arizona than on his last team! Too bad his last team was Colorado. A #5 starter on a bad team is his best role.

Troy Glaus, 1b (If the Diamondbacks braintrust has any cells left): Glaus had a bad shoulder injury, he came back and hit playing first base. Diamondbacks gave a very large contract to him, and better play him at first. If not, all the Diamondbacks fans should hold a ceremonious suicide. You know, as a statement. Speaking of statements…

Russ Ortiz, SP: All I heard about Ortiz the past few seasons is how he is nowhere near as good as his record suggests, how his peripherals don’t support his ERA, and anyone silly enough to sign him long term deserves a kick in the goods. Well shine your kicking boots D-Backs fans, you’re the lucky new owner of Russ Ortiz and his lack-of-talent baggage (very expensive baggage by the way). I’m not sure Paris Hilton could afford this kind of baggage. Did I just make a Simple Life reference? I think I need counseling. I blame the D’Backs for this.

Jose Jimenez, RP: Jimenez was signed to a minor league deal, and might not even make Arizona’s roster unless an injury bug hits. Not the guy I really want on my team considering his past, but the good news is he has a pulse.

Quinton McCracken, LF: McCracken has his value when you don’t think of him as what he is not. He’s not the second coming of anything besides a helpful bench role player.

Shance Nance, RP: More walks than K’s and a .351 BAA…nifty. Sickels liked him as a future LOOGY candidate in 2002.

Kelly Stinnett, C: meh, no complain.

Shawn Green, OF: Trade and sign with a 3-year extension through 2007 for $32 million. I like Shawn Green, but not for over $10 million a season. I just saw an article that said the D’backs have been careful spending money this offseason and I almost threw up.

Acquired via trade: Javier Vazquez, Brad Halsey, Dioner Navarro for Randy Johnson. Shawn Green for Navarro and Danny Muegge, Beltran Perez and William Juarez.
Adam Peterson for Shea Hillenbrand.

Javier Vazquez is a great pickup. He is younger than Randy Johnson and should overcome his struggles in the second half of 2004 as long as it is not because of an injury from overuse in Montreal. I like this move better than all of their other ones. He is their true #1, no matter how many writers say its Ortiz *shudder*.

Adam Peterson has done very well in the minors, but struggled in his callup to the majors. Hillenbrand won’t be missed too much if Glaus does what he is supposed to, as well as Chad Tracy (.285/.343/.407 as a rookie, hopefully that improves.)

1) Chad Tracy
2) Craig Counsell
3) Luis Gonzalez
4) Troy Glaus
5) Shawn Green
6) Jose Cruz Jr.
7) Royce Clayton
8) Koyie Hill

I like Chad Tracy at the top of the lineup until his development is complete. Counsell's glove will at least offset his lack of production at the plate. Luis Gonzalez-Troy Glaus-and Shawn Green makeup the only 3-4-5 Shoulder Injury All-Star Team I can think of off the top of my head. Jose Cruz Jr. should improve his hitting some with a move back to the National League, as well as playing in Bank One Ballpark, hallowed home of home run hitters everywhere. Royce Clayton = not good. That is basically it for him. Koyie Hill struggled for the Dodgers at catcher last year, but who didn't? Oh wait, THE HEART AND SOUL OF THEIR FRANCHISE, PAUL LO-FRICCIN' DUCA DIDN'T! I'm not bitter towards LA Sportswriters, I swear on your mother.

1) Javier Vazquez
2) Russ Ortiz
3) Brandon Webb
4) Shawn Estes
5) Mike Gosling

A funny thing happened as I wrote down this rotation; I pegged this team for a definite 5th place in the NL West. Its going to happen now.

Javier Vazquez should be fine since his arm got some time off. He went through a lot of abuse in Montreal over the years, and it finally caught up to him in the second half of last season. Hopefully he comes back to his original form. Russ know my feelings on his imminent explosion. I wonder if the D'Backs will try to move him by year two of the deal or just suck it up knowing there is no one who would want him for that money? Brandon Webb has something to look forward to: Derek Lowe's 2004. Webb's peripherals got shot to shit, to put it bluntly, in 2004, and I expect it to affect his ERA very soon. Shawn Estes is a 5th starter for a bad team. He is the 4th starter here...does that tell you anything? Mike Gosling has a 14/13 K:BB ratio, and a 4.97 K/9...if he does not improve, this will get ugly fast as well. Granted its a small sample size (4 starts) but the pressure is on in Arizona after management basically told the fans they are a team with a chance to compete...good grief.

Greg Aquino is the closer, Jose Valverde is the next best reliever. Brandon Lyon, Randy Choate, Mike Koplove, and Brian Bruney make up the rest of the bullpen. I'm sure I'm gaining the hate of any Diamondbacks fans who see this, but I think its going to be a long year in the desert. Luckily, the desert will fight with the mountains for 4th place, so there is some hope.

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