Arizona Diamondbacks: The Worst Team In Baseball

Jeff PencekCorrespondent IIMay 17, 2009

PHOENIX - MAY 12:  Manager A. J. Hinch of the Arizona Diamondbacks looks on during batting practice to the major league baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds at Chase Field on May 12, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Reds defeated the Diamondbacks 3-1.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Just two years ago, the Arizona Diamondbacks were in the NLCS, and were favored to make the World Series. They were a team filled with a lot of young talent, who gelled and would have played for the title had they not run against the crazy winning streak of the Colorado Rockies.

Now, the Rockies and Diamondbacks are competing to be the worst team in baseball.

Arizona is close to Colorado in the standings, and as I write this, the Cleveland Indians and Washington Nationals have worse records. Washington has the worst record in baseball, and they continue to struggle. However, their schedule so far this year has been brutal, playing Philadelphia 10 times, every other division opponent six times, and also played the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals—who are two of the top teams in the NL.

Washington’s easiest games on their schedule were three games at Arizona, and Washington won two out of three. Washington might also have the youngest rotation in baseball, but they can hit the pretty ball very well, meaning that their bad play is interesting.

Cleveland's pitching is almost as bad as Washington's, and like Arizona, Cleveland was in the LCS just two years ago. However, the Indians seem to have a very similar trait to the Diamondbacks—the team gets worse as their young guys play more.

Arizona's management saw this problem, and fired manager Doug Melvin and other coaches as well. Arizona was getting worse, and their young players appeared to be undisciplined, especially at the plate.

In 2008, Arizona had five players strike out over 100 times, including Mark Reynolds with 204. He's a good power hitter, but 28 home runs and 97 RBI fall flat with a .239 batting average, along with 35 errors and a record setting amount of K's.

This year, Arizona is the worst hitting team in baseball, with three young starters hitting under .200, and Justin Upton leading the team in RBI with 19. Upton is currently tied for 83rd in the major leagues in that category. Management saw this awful play and made a decision to put the blame for the failure of the team squarely on Melvin.

Fans who follow the Diamondbacks know where the failures actually are.

And for those who don't follow the DBacks closely, the joke of a front office was exposed with the hiring of youngster AJ Hinch. If the team felt a change was needed and that Hinch could jump start the team with his personality, then he would be perfect candidate as an interim manager as opposed to a contracted manager.

Hinch, who has never managed before, would be given some time to prove himself and learn the position. Instead, Hinch was given a 4-year contract.

Arizona has already played 24 home games, and they have zero hitting, and with Brandon Webb's situation lingering over the team like a huge cloud, AJ Hinch can only do so much to have this team play better, if they even listen to him.

The players have seen enough examples of a front office that has a lukewarm commitment to winning.

Their closer, Jose Valverde, who helped them reach the NLCS, went to Houston. Their grinding heart, Orlando Hudson, went to the Dodgers. And they couldn't even make a decent offer to Randy Johnson for him to win game 300 in Arizona and give the fans something to cheer for.

Then again, the Giants play in Arizona on June 9th, 10th and 11th. If Randy is going for win 300 that night, the cheers will be the loudest Chase Field will be all year.