Since the season is all but over....I thought I would jot down a few thoughts on the state of the team entering the hot-stove league. I am not tied to any thing I say. I could be right or wrong - just thoughts off the top of my head. I look forward to seeing how the Arizona front office handles things this off-season.
CATCHER - OK, Miguel Montero is our catcher now. He rapidly improved his offense. His defense - though not a Chris Snyder - is decent. Snyder will be traded if they can find a team that will take his contract. AZ, might have to pay part of it to move him. The team will sign a defensive catcher that has major league experience - like a Ramon Castro. A lot of fans will be expecting Montero to continue hitting like he did this year. My worry is that his blossoming as a hitter was due, in large part, to his competition to win the starting job over Snyder. Without that - will he return to being mediocre?
FIRST BASE - The team better have a backup plan if they figure Brandon Allen is their starter. I was not impressed with him offensively or defensively. Conor Jackson and Chad Tracy will, no doubt, be history, so they need to find a CAPABLE backup if Allen bombs (not Josh Whitesell ). I hope they at least talk to Adam LaRoche (FA) this off season...hed' be an upgrade. Even Nick Johnson would be okay on a one year contract (injury issues). Mark Kotsay as a backup... If they are determined to stick with Allen????
SECOND BASE - Well....Ryan Roberts does have a lot of grit and gets the most out of what talent he has. They could do worse. I predict that if Roberts is made full time 2B, he hits around .250 - .260 with a few HRs and a few SB. Not a star, but he will do unless the Diamondbacks do a "180" and start spending big bucks on an Orlando Hudson or Freddy Sanchez . I hope Augie Ojeda gets to stay - but utility infielders are a dime a dozen. Dan Uggla is available from the Marlins - but we don't need another 150 strikeout guy.
SHORTSTOP - Yeah Stephen Drew has it locked up. (I hope Montero doesn't do what Drew did this year and drop off offensively after a real good season). Who is the real Stephen Drew? The one in the second half of 2008? The 2009 model? Or somewhere in between? I'll go with door #3. A respectable fielder, average bat, hopefully his power (doubles) shows up again. Not a star - but better than many SS.
THIRD BASE - Everyone knows how I feel about Mark Reynolds and his strikeout totals. But he is what he is. Sadly they over-hyped the guy this season - for a lack of anything else to push. It appears that he has cornered himself into a situation where he MUST hit 40+ homers and get 100+ RBI, to make up for the strikeout blackeye. In his favor, he hustles, improved his defense and stole bases. On a team like the Angels , Yankees , or Red Sox , he would be awesome. They could bat him 6th or 7th and hide his Ks somewhat. However, I am afraid an offense made up of Reynolds, Upton, Young, and maybe Allen - will not produce a playoff contending offense. Too many blanks fired.
OUTFIELD - They are talking Justin Upton , Chris B. Young and Gerardo Parra - right to left. I would be worried about that trio. Parra will be a respectable OF, but lacks power. Hopefully he will keep the knack of driving in runs however. Young could be decent if (big if) he could just hit .250 and keep his power and speed. His defense fell off this season - but that might be due to his hitting problems/or injuries. Upton??? IMO, the biggest worry on this team. He could be awesome...but that is the problem - he knows he can be. Will his talent keep up with his ego?
What if Young is fighting the Mendoza line in the first quarter of the season? What do we do? Trust in Romero or Oeltjen? I sure hope not Eric Byrnes . How about signing a veteran like Randy Winn or Xavier Nady who can take over full time if Young flops? (moving Parra to center). And no - don't expect AZ to be in the bidding for Holliday or Jason Bay .