Arizona Diamondbacks: Why Fans Should Be Excited about 2017
The Arizona Diamondbacks should enjoy the return of A.J. Pollock and newcomers like Taijuan Walker and Ketel Marte in 2017.
Not much is expected out of the Arizona Diamondbacks this season, especially after finishing last year with a 69-93 record.
It was the fifth straight year in which the club finished .500 or below and in a way, the roster pretty much mirrors last year’s. So, why should fans even be excited or have hope entering the 2017 season?
There were plenty of changes that happened this winter, and not all of them regarding the playing roster itself. To start, the Diamondbacks are under new management, both in the dugout and in the front office.
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The Dave Stewart and Chip Hale eras are over, which should excite some fans. As general manager, Stewart is most known for trading away their prized prospect in Dansby Swanson in exchange for Atlanta Braves pitcher Shelby Miller, who flopped all year with Arizona.
Hale wasn’t horrible, but nothing spectacular. In two seasons with the Diamondbacks, he finished 148-176 with third and fourth places in the NL West. They were fired on the same day, which immediately brought on a search for likely candidates to fill the roles.
Nearly a month later and the Diamondbacks already had their guy. Well, guys for that matter. First it was Mike Hazen to fill the general manager’s role after being in Boston for a majority of his career. Hazen proceeded to bring in Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo to be the next manager of the Diamondbacks.
Hazen got to work quickly, and dealt Jean Segura and prospects to the Seattle Mariners for shortstop Ketel Marte and pitcher Taijuan Walker. Both are very young and have several years of experience in the majors with a tremendous amount of potential.
Marte is likely to start up the middle for the Diamondbacks, while Walker seems to slide in as a middle-of-the-rotation guy.
The rest of the team’s success lies in the hands of Paul Goldschmidt and Zack Greinke. Another plus for the Diamondbacks comes in the form of their starting center fielder, AJ Pollock. Just days before the 2016 opener, Pollock fractured his right elbow and was able to play in only 12 games all season.
Pollock was sure to build off an impressive ’15 campaign in which he slashed .315/.367/.498 in 157 games. Barring an injury, the Diamondbacks should have a healthy, productive everyday center fielder with Pollock in 2017.
While the Diamondbacks really stressed the beginning of a new era at the start of last season, this year is one in which they could legitimately turn the page and start over.
With moves coming in all aspects of the game this off-season, this D-Backs team provides fans with more optimism and excitement as Spring Training nears.