Diamondbacks suffer miserable disappointmentBy Matt Verderame
The Arizona Diamondbacks were supposed to be one the best teams in Major League Baseball in 2016.
Arizona, which has not reached a World Series since 2001, was going to be a serious contender for the first time in over a decade after general manager Dave Stewart went out and landed pitchers Shelby Miller and Zack Greinke, the first in trade with the Atlanta Braves and the second via free agency.
For all the world, it looked like the Diamondbacks were going to be challenging the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West, to say nothing of the Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals, St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates for the NL champion banner.
Then outfielder A.J. Pollock blew out his elbow in spring training, and Miller pitched as though he had as well, and while Greinke has been good, he is now on the disabled list. Outside of a great, breakout campaign by 25-year-old third baseman Jake Lamb, the season has been an absolute trainwreck.
Going into July 25, Arizona sits in last place of the West at 41-57. After allowing 510 runs to this point, only the Colorado Rockies and Cincinnati Reds have allowed more in the senior circuit. Only the Reds and Atlanta Braves have a worse record, something that would have been impossible to believe this spring.
For Stewart, the toughest part of the season might be the next week and change before the Aug. 1 trade deadline. He knows his team is terrible but looking at the roster, it should not be. There are also not a ton of moveable parts unless Stewart wants to absolutely blew the roster sky high and start over again. Despite finishing in last place being a real possibility, it might be in his best interest to simply hold the fort and hope for better fortune in 2017.
In this day and age, most people believe that results must come right away or everyone involved from the top down has to be fired. In this case, Stewart deserves another year to let his mission come to fruition. If it doesn’t, then he could justifiably join the unemployment line alongside manager A.J. Hinch. For now, the best idea in the desert is to exercise patience.
Arizona had a combination of bad luck and injuries, coupled with Miller having the worst possible season. It’s not ideal, but the Diamondbacks are a young team with some time on their side, albeit time always being a fickle dance partner.
The Diamondbacks are a mess this year, but things can change in a hurry.