Despite losing key players, .500 mark is within reach for Diamondbacks

Zack Greinke

Status: Starting a rebuild

The Diamondbacks were flying in the early part of 2018 but fell off the pace to end with just 82 wins. Offseason moves suggest the start of a rebuild after losing key players to free agency, though the organisation are keen to remain competitive.

Offseason moves

The departures of A.J. Pollock and Patrick Corbin in free agency are obviously huge. Trading 2019 free agent, multiple All-Star and franchise icon Paul Goldschmidt was even bigger.

Catcher Carson Kelly, starter Luke Weaver and prospect Andy Young arrived from the Cardinals for Goldschmidt. Kelly was blocked by Yadier Molina and will get a chance for regular Major League plate appearances. Weaver’s career has been up and down thus far – we saw his upside in 2017, though, and he could be an asset in the rotation.

Infielder Young had a very strong 2018 in the minors and could appear in the Majors in 2019 if he continues along that trajectory.

Greg Holland, despite being poor for the Cardinals and Nationals last season, was handed a contract in free agency which is loaded with incentives. Holland has struggled in recent seasons, but the Diamondbacks will hope he can return to his Royals edition and be a valuable trade asset.

Merrill Kelly, a former Rays prospect, was signed as a free agent from Korea. Kelly is a starter and will slot into the backend of the rotation.

Former New York Mets infielder Wilmer Flores was picked up on a one-year deal with a team option for next season. He’ll get time at third and first.

After much furore about waiting for a deal, Arizona were the team to land Adam Jones on a one-year deal.

Shelby Miller, Chris Owings and Brad Boxberger departed in free agency. Their absences are not going to change a great deal for Arizona. Eduardo Escobar was also a free agent, but the Diamondbacks retained the versatile switch-hitter.

Reliever Robby Scott, who was very good back in 2017, was purchased from the Reds.

Kelby Tomlinson, Abraham Almonte, Yasmany Tomas and Rob Refsnyder led the names given an opportunity to impress in Spring Training.

What to watch

Arizona will hope Merrill Kelly can follow in the footsteps of Miles Mikolas this season. Kelly was good in the KBO and is going to be very interesting as the Diamondbacks try to make up for the wins lost by the departures of Corbin and Clay Buchholz.

The Diamondbacks might not want to admit they are rebuilding, but there’s a good chance they will be out of contention in July. Trade offers are inevitable. David Peralta, if healthy, could fetch a solid return if he can combine average and power as he did in 2018.

Zack Greinke’s historically large contract makes him hard to move, but he’s still performing at a level that will make him desirable to some teams. The Diamondbacks could eat some of the deal to get prospects in return. It’s still most likely he plays out the rest of his deal in Arizona, but it’s potentially an interesting storyline if the Dbacks begin to tear it all down.

Outlook

There’s plenty of pitching upside behind Greinke. The rotation should be well above average if everyone’s healthy and will be interesting at the very least thanks to Kelly, Robbie Ray and others.

Offensively the roster is less noteworthy. We have a good idea of what we’ll see from almost every hitter on the roster – the majority of the team should be around league average.

A full season with this roster would have the .500 mark well within reach, but restocking the farm has to be the priority.

About Sam Cox 209 Articles
Sam is a widely published freelance writer, covering basketball, baseball and a range of other sports. He's still trying to decide if he prefers a rundown shot block or a smooth double play.

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