Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE
Starter Wade Miley was a pleasant surprise, leading the Diamondbacks' staff with 16 wins.
Starting Pitching- Bright
It's a young starting corps in Arizona with the top four starters all under the age of 28. Ian Kennedy finished with a strong second half, Wade Miley is clearly a Rookie of the Year candidate, Trevor Cahill has shown to be reliable and durable, and Patrick Corbin showed flashes of excellence in his first full season.
Daniel Hudson is likely out until at least the All-Star break following Tommy John surgery, and prospect Trevor Bauer will likely get a long look this spring in auditioning for the final spot in the rotation. Tyler Skaggs will be auditioning for the role as well.
Definitely a strength for the Diamondbacks, with each pitcher under team control for several more years.
Closer J.J. Putz finished strong after a rough start with 32 saves and a 2.82 ERA. The Diamondbacks hold a $6.5 million option for next season, and GM Kevin Towers has hinted on several occasions the likelihood of Putz' option being picked up.
David Hernandez has settled in nicely to the setup role, Brad Ziegler was terrific with a 2.49 ERA in 77 appearances and Bryan Shaw was solid in middle relief. The D-Backs will have a decision to make with Matt Lindstrom's 2013 option ($4 million, $200K buyout) and Mike Zagurski struggled with a 5.54 ERA as a left-handed option.
If the Diamondbacks can find a solid southpaw for the 'pen, they should return another strong bullpen unit in 2013.
The right side of the infield is set with Paul Goldschmidt and Aaron Hill. Hill put up a terrific bounce-back season with a .302 average and 26 HR. Goldschmidt's .286 average and .850 OPS in his first full season were solid as well.
The picture isn't nearly as bright on the left side, however. Towers will definitely be looking for a shortstop over the winter, as Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald are both much better suited for utility roles.
Third baseman Chris Johnson put up nice numbers following his trade from the Houston Astros, hitting .285 with seven HR and 35 RBI in 44 games. Top third-base prospect Matt Davidson is also waiting in the wings.
Catcher Miguel Montero is locked in through the 2017 season and is a solid option behind the plate. With the exception of Hill (signed through next season), the D-Backs have a solid future in their infield. If Towers can find a capable shortstop, this will be an area of strength as well.
Left fielder Jason Kubel struggled in the second half, hitting just .201 after the All-Star break. Center fielder Chris Young struggled with injuries and production, and right fielder Justin Upton saw a dramatic decrease in production from the previous season.
The Diamondbacks could be looking to deal both Upton and Young in the right deals, and Gerardo Parra and rookie Adam Eaton could replace them. Still, the D-Backs' outfield failed to provide offensive leadership in the second half, and management certainly doesn't appear to have an optimistic outlook at this point.