We continue looking at the 30 MLB teams as they head into the 2021 season. And on this piece, we examine The State of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Signing Asdrubal Cabrera
The Arizona Diamondbacks made some interesting moves this offseason. One such move was signing Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera signed a one-year deal that’s guaranteed to be at least $1.75 Million but could total $2.80 Million with incentives. Asdrubal is an interesting signing because he is a versatile player capable of holding down a few infield spots. And Cabrera is a very good bench option for a team in an interesting position, especially if the postseason picture is expanded beyond ten teams. Asdrubal Cabrera can help spell the regulars and still provide good at-bats. But defensively, Asdrubal isn’t the flashy defender he used to be in his prime. But defense was never Asdrubal’s strength, so that won’t be expected in this spot either.
Signing Tyler Clippard
Tyler Clippard can be a good relief option for a team trying to battle out of the middle. The DBacks are going to need to fill out 1400+ innings, and Clippard can hold down a decent bit of them. Arizona is going to try to compete for a wildcard spot in the National League. And having a veteran arm like Clippard, who can help mentor some of the younger guys, is a valuable asset. And with Tyler’s experience, he will likely hold a significant spot in the Diamondbacks bullpen.
Signing Joakim Soria
The biggest offseason move for the Diamondbacks was the signing of Joakim Soria. The 36-year-old right-hander has been a reliable reliever over the course of his 13 year Major League career. Over the 13 year career, Soria has pitched to an ERA of 3.01. And in the shortened 2020 season, Soria pitched 22.1 innings to the tune of a 2.82 ERA and a FIP of 2.97, and an ERA+ of 148. This signing should work out to be one of the most underrated moves of the offseason.
State of the Rotation
The Arizona Diamondbacks’ rotation features one of the most recognizable pitching names of the last decade in Madison Bumgarner. However, Bumgarner isn’t the same pitcher he once was in his prime. But this is still a very good starting pitcher. And beyond MadBum, the DBacks have some underrated and talented starters in Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly, and Luke Weaver. The fifth spot in the Diamondbacks rotation will be up for grabs in Spring Training. And how the rotation shakes out will determine how the DBacks finish in a competitive National League West division.
State of the Bullpen
The Diamondbacks bullpen has two quality arms in the aforementioned Joakim Soria and Tyler Clippard. Beyond those two arms, the bullpen will be a battleground this Spring. The Spring competition will be to determine the roles of each member of the pen. And like the final rotation spot battle, the sorting of the bullpen will paint a better picture of exactly who the Diamondbacks are in 2021.
State of the Offense
The Diamondbacks are in a strange position this Spring as they have some good offensive pieces. However, there are a lot of questions about the team’s offense as well. David Peralta is one of the most underrated and overlooked players in all of Major League Baseball. And then they have very good role players in Eduardo Escobar, Nick Ahmed, and Kole Calhoun. The most popular name in the Diamondbacks lineup is Ketel Marte. Marte finds himself among the very best at the second base position and apart of (ours and) MLB Network’s Top 10 Second Basemen Right Now for 2021. But the offense will need to have career-type years if the DBacks are going to find themselves competing in the NL West.
State of the Franchise
The Arizona Diamondbacks are in a tough position in the NL West. The Dodgers and Padres are extremely strong teams, among the Majors’ best, not just the NL. For the Diamondbacks to advance to postseason play, they will need everything to go perfectly in 2021. If the DBacks can catch some lucky breaks beginning with expanded playoffs, they could compete for one of the wildcard spots. But everything would have to go flawless, which isn’t likely to happen.
Realistically, the Arizona Diamondbacks are going to try to nickel and dime their way to victories. They will try pairing good outings from their starting pitching with timely hitting. However, if that falters, the Diamondbacks can pivot course and begin selling off their valuable assets at the deadline. Thus trying to secure themselves a better position in the future. Although the near future may still be bleak as the Dodgers and Padres look like they will be good for some time down the road. So the Diamondbacks will have to reevaluate their talent and choose a direction from there.