The Arizona Diamondbacks Are a Snakebit Franchise

Don DiabloContributor IIIMay 18, 2009

PHOENIX - MAY 10:  Eric Byrnes #22 of the Arizona Diamondbacks walks to the plate to bat against the Washington Nationals during the major league baseball game at Chase Field on May 10, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Nationals 10-8.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

As someone that lives in Arizona and is a huge sports enthusiast, it is hard not to notice how horrible the Diamondbacks are playing.  I would definitely consider them the worst team in baseball right now especially after losing two of three to the lowly Washington Nationals.

Arizona’s overall record is 14-23 and are hitting for .234/.310/.708 and pitching at 4.43/.261/1.37.

They are at or near the bottom of the NL hit parade and even with a considered strength at pitching, the D-backs rank in the middle of NL rankings.

Put that together with already firing the manager and hiring someone with no managerial experience does not really help the major issues this club and these issues are twofold:  the front office and the fans. 

Yes, I said the fans, but I’ll get back to that later.

The front office for the Arizona Diamondbacks has the same appearance as the one in Florida. But instead of winning World Series titles and then destroying the team before the next season, this management slowly poisons the team with bad decision making. 

Two years ago, the Diamondbacks were said to be a year or two away from being a high caliber team in the National League, when they won the NL west, were the top seed, and made the NLCS before losing to the hot Colorado Rockies.

It is two years later and instead of being considered one of the elite teams in the NL, or the Majors, they are flat on their faces in the middle of the desert hoping for help to save them. 

The front office basically helped destroy that NL West championship team.  The destruction started with trading closer Jose Valverde to Houston for Chris Burke, Juan Gutierrez, and Chad Qualls.

Only time will tell if these three will truly help the Diamondbacks but trading a top notch talent has led to the downfall of the back end of the bullpen.

In the previous two years before his departure from Arizona, Valverde, got the job done in the form of 47 and 44 saves and only six blown saves in 2006 and 2007 respectively.  While last season the Diamondbacks had a total of 39 saves in 60 opportunities.

In all senses, I’d rather take Valverde at the end of games especially with a struggling offense and the inconsistency at the end of the bullpen since his departure. He is one of the best closers in the Majors and should have been kept and used to build the bullpen around.

Next up on the transgression list is the trade of Micah Owings to Cincinnati for Adam Dunn.

While Dunn did perform well for the D-backs in his short stint in the desert (.243/8/26), getting rid of a quality starting pitcher that also has the ability to hit was not the right move. While at the time Owings was struggling on the mound and demoted to AAA, he was still a one of a kind pitcher with his ability to hit.

His career hitting stats of .342/6/25 are great for a pitcher or anyone over his short career in limited at-bats. Next is the front office not re-signing Randy Johnson, a pitcher that helped put this team on the map by helping them win the 2001 World Series, is the next bad move made over the past two seasons.

Even at 45, he hasn’t lost much of his pitching ability over the years.  Worse off, he signed with the rival Giants, which has come back to bite the D-backs.

In two outings already this year, Johnson has a win and a no decision against his former team, giving up 0 runs, 1 hit, and 2 walks over 7.0 innings Apr. 19 in a winning effort, while not being so stellar in his outing on April 25 with 2 runs, 3 hits, and 7 walks over 3.2 innings.

Having him around would have given the D-backs a veteran in the rotation and another in the clubhouse.

As I said earlier, the D-back fans are also part of the problem by setting high expectations for a team that was not ready and the fact that most are fair weather fans. Arizona is an area of transplants, I’m included in that.

I like the Diamondbacks and watch most of their games, but I would rather root for the Braves or Orioles since I’m originally from back east.

It is also the same for two of the four major sports teams in Phoenix. Both the Arizona Cardinals and the Phoenix Coyotes started in other locations. Also, for a major city in the US the only world title was achieved by the Diamondbacks in 2001.

With the great season the Diamondbacks had in 2007, expectations might have been set too high for this young team and they have folded under the pressure. While the 2007 season was in most eyes an over-achievement, it was expected that the success would continue and it hasn’t.

It looked like it would with the hot start last season but once summer heated up Arizona cooled off and that continued into this season.

With the poor start, Arizona decided it was time for a change and fired 2007 manager of the year Bob Melvin. While I’m not certain that firing Melvin was the correct solution the front office thought it was. Do I see other changes coming? Yes. If this cold streak continues the Diamondbacks will definitely be sellers come July. 

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