Now officially eliminated from playoff contention, the 2012 Arizona Diamondbacks’ season will go down as a major disappointment.
At this time last year, the Diamondbacks had just claimed their first division title since 2007, and their playoff hopes looked bright.
The Diamondbacks stood atop the NL West with an eight game lead heading into the playoffs and found themselves facing the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Division Series. Once down 2-0 in the series, Arizona surged back to tie it up before losing game five 3-2 at Miller Park in Milwaukee.
With just three games left this season, the only fight the Diamondbacks remain in is to stay above .500.
In 2012, the Arizona Diamondbacks hoped to continue their success and reach the playoffs once again. However, pitching problems and an underperforming lineup prevented Arizona from reaching its goals this season.
Regardless of these problems, I don’t see too many changes happening in the offseason. Arizona has a good young core, most of which is still under team control, and I expect only one of these guys to be on the move.
However, the Diamondbacks are in heavy need of an everyday shortstop as well as some relief pitching, which could mean the end to a few careers in Arizona.
Here are some of the guys I think won’t be on the roster to begin the 2013 season
The main subject of Arizona’s trade rumors for the past two seasons, Justin Upton, looks to finally be on the move.
Over the past four seasons in which Upton has been an everyday starter, his yearly batting has been extremely inconsistent. He has clearly not been living up to his superstar potential.
Let’s compare his batting average/ on-base percentage/ slugging percentage stats from the last four years:
His sporadic hitting, especially his power production, has more than likely sealed his fate in Phoenix.
In spite of this, teams will be more than willing to take a chance on Justin Upton. At 25 years old, the former 1st overall pick is still a highly touted young outfielder who could have a ton of value to a lot of teams.
One team I see Upton fitting in with is the Texas Rangers. They are the most viable team for a trade as they will likely be in need of an outfielder and have the prospects necessary to match Justin Upton’s value.
According to ESPN’s Jean-Jacques Taylor, it appears as though Josh Hamilton’s time in Texas is limited. As Hamilton’s contract expires this year, Taylor believes, “some team will pay him at least $20 million a year in the offseason, when he becomes a free agent,” and I don’t see the Rangers making that kind of commitment to an aging player with severe injury concerns.
You can find the rest of the article on the ESPN Dallas website.
With Hamilton most likely gone from the Rangers’ outfield, Texas will be looking for a young prolific player to take his place.
One of the positions Arizona will be addressing in the offseason is shortstop. With minor-league sensation Jurickson Profar on his heels, Elvis Andrus might be expendable and the key piece to this deal. Andrus is a two-time All-Star shortstop who would fit in nicely in the Diamondbacks infield.
Over the past month, the Arizona front office could not be happier with Upton’s hitting. In the last 15 games, Upton has hit .352 with four homers, 17 runs and nine RBI. Every run Upton accounts for in September rings in a higher and higher trade value.
Throughout the offseason, the D-backs will hear countless offers for the former 1st overall pick, and I strongly believe a deal will get done this time.
Much like Justin Upton, Chris Young has not produced like the Diamondbacks thought he would.
Currently, Young is hitting an abysmal .230 with only 14 home runs and 41 RBI.
According to ESPN.com, Young has never hit above .257 and has only eclipsed a WAR of two in two of his six full seasons.
However, Chris Young still has the ability to hit 30 home runs in a season and does have some playoff experience.
As the Diamondbacks look ahead to their future, they see an outfield that features the promising Adam Eaton joining Jason Kubel and either Upton or Young. The Pacific Coast League MVP has scored 19 times in 22 games and is expected to start in 2013.
With Adam Eaton starting, either Upton or Young will be out. While I obviously do not foresee both players being traded, the Diamondbacks can get a lot in return for one of these potential breakout players this offseason.
In trading either Chris Young or Justin Upton, the Diamondbacks will likely acquire a reliable shortstop.
With Chris Johnson and Ryan Wheeler continuing to fight for third base, and Aaron Hill, Paul Goldschmidt and the new shortstop filling out the rest of the infield, there won’t be any starting positions available.
With a new shortstop, the infield all of a sudden becomes extremely cluttered. Current utility men Willie Bloomquist, John McDonald and Cody Ransom will have to battle it out for the final two roster spots.
Since Bloomquist and McDonald remain under contract through the 2013 season, the odd man out will be the less-established Cody Ransom.
Mike Zagurski is most likely the first relief pitcher to be booted from the pen in the offseason.
In 36.1 innings pitched in 2012, the left-handed Zagurski has allowed 23 runs and 19 walks. His career ERA currently stands at 6.22, and he struggles mightily with his control.
As a lefty reliever, you have to be able to get left-handed hitters out, and he has proven that he is incapable of doing that consistently. Allowing a .291 average to lefty batters just won’t cut it.
The Diamondbacks will surely look to snag a more qualified and productive left-handed reliever to get out the powerful lefty hitters of the NL West, such as Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier and Carlos Gonzalez.
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