MLB MLB Team News NL West — 03 March 2011
The Arizona Diamondbacks had a busy offseason that saw them make a number of intriguing changes to their roster. They traded away their main slugger, Mark Reynolds and added Melvin Mora to take his place. They acquired several interesting pieces in J.J. Putz, Zach Duke, Xavier Nady, and Armando Galarraga. But perhaps the biggest move was deciding to hang on to their franchise player, Justin Upton, amid reports that their asking price was through the roof.

The offense should be pretty decent with Upton, Chris Young, Kelly Johnson, and Stephen Drew contributing in the heart of the order. While the rest of the lineup is nothing special, they also aren’t the kind of players who are going to hurt them. The rotation should be average, Daniel Hudson is an exciting prospect and the move to the NL looks to have benefitted Ian Kennedy, but outside of these two there are some question marks. We’ve all seen what Armando Galarraga is capable of when he is on, but it is easy to forget how terrible he was other than his near no-hitter. In the pen, J.J. Putz will get a shot at redemption in the closer slot after being relegated to setup duties with the White Sox. All in all, this team does have some potential, but the rotation may prove too weak for them to have any real success this year.

Key Additions: Melvin Mora, Geoff Blum, Zach Duke, Armando Galarraga, J.J. Putz, Willie Bloomquist, Xavier Nady

Key Losses: Mark Reynolds, Chris Snyder, Adam LaRoche

Lineup:

C: Miguel Montero
1B: Juan Miranda
2B: Kelly Johnson
3B: Melvin Mora
SS: Stephen Drew
LF: Xavier Nady
CF: Chris Young
RF: Justin Upton

Rotation:

1: Joe Saunders
2: Daniel Hudson
3: Ian Kennedy
4: Barry Enright
5: Zach Duke
CL: J.J. Putz

Players Critical To Success:

Joe Saunders: Saunders was a productive pitcher in Anaheim before being traded to the D-backs. Since coming over to Arizona, however, he hasn’t quite lived up to that billing. If the D-backs want to have any chance of competing in the west this season, Saunders has to improve on his play from last year and regain his form as a solid starting pitcher.

Miguel Montero: 2010 was supposed to be Montero’s breakout year, however injuries managed to derail that. After coming back from injury, Montero did however manage to show signs of what he is capable of when healthy, blasting seven homeruns after the all-star break. If he can play like he did during that stretch for the entirety of 2011, the Diamondbacks will have added another reliable bat to their lineup.

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