Posted on: February 29, 2012 9:54 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers didn't rest on the team's unexpected division title, adding Trevor Cahill to an already strong rotation, anchored by Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson. Arizona also added outfielder Jason Kubel to a two-year, $16 million deal to help out the offense. The Diamondbacks surprised everyone in 2011, but it's safe to say they won't sneak up on anyone in 2012.
Major additions: OF Jason Kubel, RHP Trevor Cahill, RHP Takashi Saito, LHP Craig Breslow
Major departures: RHP Jason Marquis
1. Stephen Drew SS
2. Aaron Hill 2B
3. Justin Upton RF
4. Miguel Montero C
5. Chris Young CF
6. Jason Kubel LF
7. Paul Goldschmidt 1B
8. Ryan Roberts 3B
1. Ian Kennedy
2. Daniel Hudson
3. Trevor Cahill
4. Joe Saunders
5. Josh Collmenter
Closer: J.J. Putz
Set-up: David Hernandez, Brad Ziegler, Takashi Saito
Important bench players
OF Gerrardo Parra, UTIL Willie Bloomquist, 1B Lyle Overbay
Prospect to watch
The Diamondbacks traded right-handed starter Jarrod Parker, named the team's No. 1 prospect by Baseball America before the 2011 season, to Oakland in exchange for Cahill. While top-flight pitching prospects don't grow on trees, it may seem like it in Arizona. With two top-10 picks in last season's draft, Arizona took two right-handed power arms in Trevor Bauer and Archie Bradley. Those two, along with lefty Tyler Skaggs, give the Diamondbacks perhaps the best trio of pitching prospects in the game. Of the three, Bauer is the one expected to contribute the soonest. The right-hander was the second overall pick in the draft out of UCLA, won the Golden Spikes Award, given to the top amateur players in the country. While he can throw up to 98 mph, his curveball is his best pitch. The Diamondbacks thought about bringing him up for the stretch run last season, but he stayed in the minors, where he made seven starts. While his ERA wasn't pretty (5.96), he did strike out 43 batters in 25 2/3 innings.
Fantasy sleeper: Jason Kubel
"[The Diamondbacks] play in a hitter's park, much like the Metrodome, and recognize that a 29-year-old like Kubel is still young enough to salvage whatever he lost to expansive Target Field. Given his improvement against left-handed pitchers last year, a full season of at-bats could feasibly return Kubel to the 25-homer range. It's a reasonable enough possibility that he's worth a late-round flier in mixed leagues." -- Scott White [Full Diamondbacks fantasy preview]
Fantasy bust: Ryan Roberts
"You can't overlook the fact that his breakout season hinged on an unsustainably hot April in which he hit .313 with a 1.007 OPS. He hit .239 the rest of the way. Power and speed numbers aside, if his batting average is lagging right out of the gate, the Diamondbacks have little reason to give him the benefit of the doubt. He's already 31. It's not like he's any sort of building block. With higher-upside third basemen like Ryan Wheeler and Matt Davidson quickly rising through the minor-league system, Roberts is on a shorter leash than his ranking would have you believe." -- Scott White [Full Diamondbacks fantasy preview]
After last season, how can you look at the Diamondbacks as anything other than a World Series contender? With Kennedy and Hudson continuing their development and solidifying themselves as legitimate top-of-the-rotation starters, plus Cahill and a Saunders that appears to have figured some things out, the pitching takes the Diamondbacks to an easy division title.
Last year proves to be an aberration, with all the pitchers taking a step back. Meanwhile, Drew never seems to recover from his injury, meaning a full season of Bloomquist and John McDonald at shortstop. It worked for a while last season, but it's unlikely to work again. Hill plays like he did in Toronto, as opposed to the way he played in the desert. With the offense and pitching struggling, the Diamondbacks could fall behind not just the Giants and Rockies, but also the Dodgers.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Tags: 2012 spring training, Aaron Hill, Archie Bradley, BRad Ziegler, C. Trent Rosecrans, Chris Young, Craig Breslow, Daniel Hudson, David Hernandez, Diamondbacks, Gerrardo Parra, Ian Kennedy, J.J. Putz, Jarrod Parker, Jason Kubel, Jason Marquis, Joe Saunders, John McDonald, Josh Collmenter, Justin Upton, Kevin Towers, Lyle Overbay, Miguel Montero, NL West, Paul Goldschmidt, Ryan Roberts, spring training, Stephen Drew, Takashi Saito, Takashi Saito, Trevor Bauer, Trevor Cahill, Tyler Skaggs, Willie Bloomquist
Posted on: January 17, 2012 6:00 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 6:02 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Left-hander Joe Saunders is returning to the Diamondbacks, signing a one-year deal worth $6 million, according to CBSSports.com Insider Jon Heyman.
FREE AGENT TRACKER
The Diamondbacks non-tendered Saunders last month, but the 30-year-old decided to return to the team. The Orioles, Tigers and Marlins had been rumored to have interest in Saunders before he re-signed with Arizona.
Saunders was 12-13 with a 3.69 in 33 starts last season. He struck out 108 batters in 212 innings, walking 67. He lasted just three innings in his Game 4 start against the Brewers in the NLDS, but Arizona put up a big lead and went on to win the game, although reliever Micah Owings picked up the win.
In seven seasons, Saunders is 69-52 with a 4.16 ERA in 161 starts with the Diamondbacks and Angels.
The Diamondbacks added right-hander Trevor Cahill in a trade with Oakland that made Saunders appear expendable, but instead he's coming back, adding depth to the team's starting rotation.
Now with Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Cahill, Saunders and Josh Collmenter, Arizona has one of the deepest rotations in the National League. If Collmenter suffers from a sophomore slump, the team could even call up right-hander Trevor Bauer, the third pick in the 2011 draft.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: 2012 free agency, 2012 MLB Free Agency, 2012 MLB Free Agents, 2012 MLB Hot Stove, C. Trent Rosecrans, Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks, free agency, free agent tracker, Ian Kennedy, Joe Saunders, Josh Collmenter, MLB Free Agency, MLB Free Agents, MLB Hot Stove, MLB Rumors, NL West, Trevor Bauer, Trevor Cahill
Posted on: December 6, 2011 1:27 pm
By Matt Snyder
What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the entire schedule and past posts, click here.
While we slog through all the rumors and real-life moves provided by the Winter Meetings, we're here with your daily break from reality. This time around, it's the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
1. Erick Aybar, SS
2. Casey Kotchman, 1B
3. Howie Kendrick, LF
4. Mike Napoli, C
5. Mark Trumbo, DH
6. Mike Trout, RF
7. Sean Rodriguez, 2B
8. Alberto Callaspo, 3B
9. Peter Bourjos, CF
Note: Kendrys Morales is here, too, though he's been down with a broken leg for almost two seasons. If healthy, he figures in the DH/1B mix prominently, likely pushing Trumbo to the bench -- but I'd hear arguments for Kotchman to sit instead.
1. Jered Weaver
2. Ervin Santana
3. John Lackey
4. Tyler Chatwood
5. Joe Saunders
Closer - Francisco Rodriguez
Set up - Jordan Walden, Bobby Jenks, Darren O'Day, Sean O'Sullivan, Trevor Bell, Kevin Jepsen, Jose Arredondo
Long - Ramon Ortiz
Notable Bench Players
Hank Conger, Jeff Mathis, Alexi Casilla and that's about it.
The front of the starting rotation with Weaver and Santana is very good. The bottom of the lineup is pretty strong, relatively speaking, as those guys could be two-hole hitters on many teams.
There just isn't much exciting about this group. The middle of the lineup is thin, until Trout becomes a star. There is no depth and the rotation is a bit lackluster with Lackey and Saunders, at this point.
Comparison to real 2011
The real-life Angels finished 86-76 and 10 games behind the Rangers in the AL West. They hung around in the wild-card race until the last week of the season, too. While this team certainly isn't terrible, I feel like it's worse than 86 wins. Maybe they could approach .500, but there's just not enough here to be a playoff contender in this fictitious exercise.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: AL West, Alberto Callaspo, Alexi Casilla, Angels, Bobby Jenks, Casey Kotchman, Darren O'Day, Erick Aybar, Ervin Santana, Francisco Rodriguez, Hank Conger, Homegrown, Howie Kendrick, Jeff Mathis, Jered Weaver, Joe Saunders, John Lackey, Jordan Walden, Kendrys Morales, Mark Trumbo, Matt Snyder, Mike Napoli, Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos, Sean O'Sullivan, Sean Rodriguez, Tyler Chatwood
Posted on: October 7, 2011 10:05 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 5:22 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...Team name: Arizona Diamondbacks
Record: 94-68, 1st place NL West. Lost to Brewers 3 games to 2 in NLDS
Manager: Kirk Gibson
Best hitter: Justin Upton -- ..289/.369/.529 with 31 HR, 88 RBI, 21 SB
Best pitcher: Ian Kennedy -- 21-4, 222 IP, 33 GS, 2.88 ERA, 1.086 WHIP, 198 SO, 55 BB
2011 SEASON RECAP
Nobody expected much from the Diamondbacks and even when they did surprise by leading the National League West, nobody thought they could hold off the Giants. Not only did they hold off the defending champs, they left them in the dust. The Diamondbacks were ruthless in making decisions early in the season, demoting or just flat-out getting rid of players that didn't produce, like Armando Galarraga, Barry Enright, Wade Miley and Russell Branyan. The Diamondbacks won 16 of 18 in late August and early September, while Ian Kennedy became a legitimate Cy Young candidate. The team also discovered it has the makings of a stout rotation with Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Joe Saunders and Josh Collmenter. They even survived the season-ending injury to Stephen Drew, winning despite his absence.
The Diamondbacks are in a pretty good situation. So it seems they have some good, young talent that's not going to cost too much -- something that's very important to the Diamondbacks' front office. The team that they have should only get better and develop. There are small spots to fill, but nothing huge. And with Stephen Drew coming back, the team should be even better than they were in the playoffs.
FREE AGENTSRHP Jason Marquis
1B Lyle Overbay
2B Aaron Hill ($8 team option)
LHP Zach Duke ($5.5 team option)
OF Xavier Nady
SS John McDonald
C Henry Blanco ($1.5 mutual option)UTIL Willie Boomquist ($1.1 mutual option)
Tags: 2011 playoffs, Aaron Heilman, Aaron Hill, Armando Galarraga, Barry Enright, C. Trent Rosecrans, Carlos Quentin, Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks, Gerardo Parra, Henry Blanco, Ian Kennedy, Jason Marquis, Joe Saunders, John McDonald, Josh Collmenter, Josh Willingham, Justin Upton, Kelly Johnson, Kirk Gibson, Lyle Overbay, NL West, NLDS, R.I.P., Russell Branyan, Stephen Drew, Wade Miley, Xavier Nady, Zach Duke
Posted on: October 5, 2011 4:39 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 5:37 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
You'd think Tuesday's thrilling victory over the Brewers in Game 3 of the National League division series would be all the advertising the Diamondbacks would need to sell tickets to Wednesday's Game 4. You'd be wrong.
As late as Wednesday afternoon, the Diamondbacks official Twitter feed said there were "good seats still available" for Game 4.
Despite the team's surprising run to the National League West title, Arizona was still 18th in overall attendance on the season, averaging 25,992 per game -- up from 25,394 in 2010. Among playoff teams, only the Rays had a lower attendance. The Rays drew 18,878 per game, more than only the A's.
The Diamondbacks played before an average capacity of 53.4 percent, the seventh lowest in baseball. No playoff team had a worse percentage. Tampa Bay played in front of an average of 55.4 percent full crowds at Tropicana Field.
Game 4: Diamondbacks at Brewers, 9:37 p.m. ET, Chase Field, TBS
Wolf vs. Diamondbacks: The left-hander has had trouble against Arizona this season, losing both his starts and putting up a 6.08 ERA in 13 1/3 innings pitched. On July 5 he gave up seven runs on 10 hits in six innings of a Brewers loss at Miller Park, while he was better on July 18, allowing just two earned runs (three total) on eight hits in 7 1/3 innings at Chase Field. Justin Upton is just 5 for 20 (.250) against Wolf, but two of those five hits are homers. Lyle Overbay, Parra, Roberts and Young also have homers against Wolf.
Saunders vs. Brewers: Saunders earned a no-decision in the Diamondbacks' loss to the Brewers on July 20, allowing two runs on five hits in seven innings. He's 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA in two career starts against Milwaukee. Braun is 2 for 6 in his career against Saunders with two homers. Prince Fielder is hitless in six plate appearances against Saunders, striking out three times and walking once.
Tags: 2011 playoffs, Aaron Hill, Brewers, Brewers-Diamondbacks, C. Trent Rosecrans, Carlos GOmez, Chris Young, Corey Hart, Diamondbacks, George Kottaras, Gerardo Parra, Jerry Hairston Jr., Joe Saunders, Justin Upton, Lyle Overbay, Miguel Montero, NL Central, NL West, NLDS, Paul Goldschmidt, Prince Fielder, Randy Wolf, Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun, Ryan Roberts, Willie Bloomquist, Yniesky BEtancourt
Posted on: October 5, 2011 12:38 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
WP: Josh Collmenter
LP: Shaun Marcum
Series: Brewers lead 2 games to 1
Hero: Who else but Goldschmidt? The rookie first baseman went 2 for 4 and knocked in five runs, including his grand slam. Goldschmidt homered in Game 1, as well.
Goat: Marcum will have trouble sleeping not only because of the pitches he made, but also the play he didn't. Marcum's final line was 4 2/3 innings pitched, seven hits, seven runs, three walks and three stikeouts. Oh, and one pretty big home run.@eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 4, 2011 6:21 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2011 6:27 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Marcum vs. Diamondbacks: Marcum earned a no decision in his only start against the Diamondbacks this season, allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings. Every Brewer that has faced Marcum has managed a hit against him, but only Upton has more than one (2 for 6). Montero's lone hit in three at-bats against Marcum was for a homer.
Collmenter vs. Brewers: Collmenter was moved up in the rotation in part because of his success against the Brewers. In two starts against Milwaukee this season, the Brewers haven't scored on him in 14 innings. Collmenter started in back-to-back starts around the All-Star break, getting a no-decision after six innings of three-hit ball on July 6 in Milwaukee and picking up the win after allowing just three hits in eight innings at Chase Field on July 18. On the Brewers, only Fielder (2 for 5), Morgan (2 for 6) and Betancourt (1 for 3) have hits off Collmenter. All the Brewers hits off Collmenter have been singles.
Tags: 2011 playoffs, Aaron Hill, Brewers, Brewers-Diamondbacks, C. Trent Rosecrans, Chris Young, Corey Hart, Diamondbacks, Georardo Parra, Jerry Hairston Jr., Joe Saunders, Jonathan Lucroy, Josh Collmenter, Justin Upton, Miguel Montero, NL Central, NL West, NLDS, Nyjer Morgan, Paul Goldschmidt, Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun, Ryan Roberts, Shaun Marcum, Willie Bloomquist, Yuniesky BEtancourt
Posted on: September 30, 2011 4:29 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 3:22 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Milwaukee made a splash in the winter acquiring Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum -- it was a signal to the baseball world that the Brewers were going for it in 2011 and anything short of the postseason would be a disappointment in what figures to be Prince Fielder's last season in Milwaukee. Well, the Brewers responded by winning their first division title since 1982, when Harvey's Wallbangers went to the World Series as the American League representatives. While the Brewers were picked by many to be in the playoffs, the Diamondbacks were a complete surprise. Both teams have used pitching to get here, so expect some strong pitching performances.
Milwaukee Brewers (host games 1, 2, 5)
Arizona Diamondbacks (host games 3, 4)
SCHEDULE (Click here to view the entire postseason schedule)
TEAM BREAKDOWN (Click player name for statistics)
Hands-down Montero is the better offensive threat, hitting .282/.351/.469 with 18 homers and 86 batted in. The 27-year-old made his first All-Star team this year and while he was once thought of as an all-offense catcher, his defense has improved.
The rookie Goldschmidt has come up big in some important games, but he still has 222 fewer career homers than Fielder.
The Diamondbacks and Blue Jays pulled off an August deal for struggling second basemen, sending Kelly Johnson north of the border and Hill going to Arizona. The change of scenery worked for Hill, who is hitting .315/.386/.492 in 33 games with the Diamondbacks. Weeks' numbers are down and he's coming off an ankle injury that limited him to 14 games since the end of July.
McDonald was an emergency stopgap acquired from the Blue Jays along with Hill in August, for the injured Stephen Drew. And Yuniesky Betancourt is Yuniesky Bentancourt, one of the worst all-around players in all of baseball.
Roberts is better known for his tattoos, but he's also had a decent season for the Diamondbacks, while McGehee has had a disastrous 2011. With a .223/.280/.346 line, McGehee's OPS+ is just 69. There's pop in that bat, but it's been hard to find.
Braun is going to be one of the favorites to win the MVP, Parra is not.
Young is one of the best defensive center fielders in the game, but has struggled a bit at the plate. Morgan is the Brewres' spark plug and resurrected his career in Milwaukee. Morgan's intangibles are huge -- and in the Brewers' favor.
Hart sometimes get lost in the shadow of Fielder and Braun, but he's had a pretty good season, as well, hitting .285/.356/.510 with 26 homers in 130 games. That said, Upton is one of the best young players in the game and will be in the top 10 of the MVP results.
Both teams are strong at the top, but the Brewers have more depth, with Marcum starting Game 3 and Randy Wolf possibly starting Game 4. Of course, the three-man rotation could really help the Diamondbacks, allowing Kennedy and Hudson to pitch twice if needed. Greinke wanted out of Kansas City so he could pitch in the playoffs, and now he gets his shot.
Last season the Diamondbacks had a historically bad bullpen. This year it's one of the reasons they're in the playoffs. While Axford is the best of the three closers in this series (counting the Brewers' Francisco Rodriguez), the Diamondbacks have the deeper bullpen, which only improved when Kirk Gibson decided to go with a three-man rotation and put right-hander Josh Collmenter in the bullpen, where he started the season.
Total advantage: Tie: Diamondbacks (5), Brewers (5)
PREDICTION (click here to see full postseason predictions)
Trent's take: I'm still not exactly sure how the Diamondbacks wound up in the playoffs. The team has been doubted from spring training to the All-Star break and even at the start of the regular season's final month. Nobody has believed in the Diamondbacks at any point of this season. So I'm pretty sure they won't be too upset to be picked against here. Milwaukee has famously "gone for it" since last season, pulling off moves big (Greinke, Rodriguez) and small (Morgan). No pitcher likes to see Braun and Fielder back-to-back in that Brewers lineup, not even a 21-winner like Kennedy. The Brewers also have the arms in the rotation to be dangerous. I like the Brewers, but it wouldn't be the first time I was wrong about Arizona.
Tags: 2011 playoffs, Aaron Hill, Brewers-Diamondbacks, C. Trent Rosecrans, Casey McGehee, Chris Young, Corey Hart, Daniel Hudson, Francisco Rodriguez, Gerardo Parra, Ian Kennedy, J.J. Putz, Joe Saunders, John Axford, John McDonald, Jonathan Lucroy, Josh Collmenter, Justin Upton, Miguel Montero, NL Central, NL West, NLDS, Nyjer Morgan, Paul Goldschmidt, Prince Fielder, Randy Wof, Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun, Ryan Roberts, Shaun Marcum, Stephen Drew, Yovani Gallardo, Yuniesky Betancourt, Zack Greinke