The Diamondbacks season ended over the weekend and I thought it was a good time to talk about the next steps for the organization. I wrote a season review for the D-Backs, to read it click here.
We all know how bad the Diamondbacks were last season, but there is actually a bright side to things. Here are some things to look forward to and what I think should happen:
This may sound like a terrible thing at first, so hang in there with me. The D-Backs had the worst record in the league. While this is just sad, the bright side is that Arizona will have the number one draft pick in next year’s First Year Player Draft. Hopefully the D-Backs will be able to pick up a guy who will be a key part of this team’s future and will be able to make an impact for years to come.
In recent days, the Diamondbacks have fired manager Kirk Gibson and relieved Kevin Towers of his duties as general manager. It should be exciting to see what kind of manager Tony La Russa and new GM Dave Stewart decide to hire. Stewart and La Russa’s ties go back to their days in Oakland where sabermetrics was a key to success. I expect the front office to go after a manager who believes in that type of strategy. Rumblings are that the team is interested in former D-Backs fan favorite and current Cincinnati Reds bench coach Jay Bell.
The new regime in the front office has come out and said that they are looking for an anchor in their pitching rotation. While guys like Max Scherzer and Jon Lester are probably out of Arizona’s price range, I would encourage them to take a look at a guy like James Shields, who is currently playoff-bound as a member of the Kansas City Royals. Shields made 34 starts this year and finished with a record of 14-8 with a 3.21 ERA while notching 180 strikeouts. Shields is known for performing well on the big stages, and has truly earned the title of “Big Game James.” I believe the D-Backs can afford the services of this 32-year-old ace and that he would be the veteran leader this young pitching staff desperately needs.
The Diamondbacks also need to find a way to either fix Trevor Cahill or get rid of him. Cahill went 3-12 this year and was even sent down to the minors to try to work out his issues. Cahill came back up from the minor leagues but it seemed that nothing had changed as he struggled to throw strikes consistently. His WHIP this year was 1.61, which is bad and his ERA was 5.61, which is awful as a starter. Cahill is nowhere near the All-Star the D-Backs thought they were getting in a trade with Oakland back in 2012.
It should be interesting to see what Arizona does at the winter meetings this offseason. If the Diamondbacks are able to get an ace like Shields, add a couple good offensive pieces, such as a solid third baseman, and get everyone back healthy next year, look for this team to bounce back from what has been a very disappointing season in 2014.