ESPN insider says protection for Goldschmidt tops Diamondbacks winter shopping list

In baseball, like life, sometimes you must take a step back before you take two forward.

Case in point the Arizona Diamondbacks who saw their mid-summer, double-digit lead in the National League West vanish as the Los Angeles Dodgers went on their best run in franchise history.

Now it’s time to pick up the pieces and decipher which fit moving forward in 2014.

“You can pitch around him,” Gomez said. “They need somebody to back him up.”

Kirk Gibson’s team didn’t get many breaks and experienced their share of bad luck but you can bet Gibby, general manager Kevin Towers, president Derrick Hall and the rest of the front office have been hard at work attempting to craft the perfect puzzle before pitchers and catchers report to Salt River Fields in Scottsdale.

“They probably have to add a big bat in the middle of the lineup,” ESPN baseball insider Pedro Gomez told Brad Cesmat in his weekly visit on Sports360AZ.com. “It’s ironic that we’re talking about that because Justin Upton was here.”

It became evident at the end of 2012 Upton’s time was up in Arizona, particularly after Towers fielded offers for J-Up in previous winters. Now the club is looking to replace his power numbers they believed they could cover before he was dealt to the Braves in late January.

“Watching the season unfold,” Gomez explained about the Dbacks light-hitting lineup. “They’re just not on the same level as other clubs. They need to do something if they’re going to try to make a push next year.”

Yes, the Dbacks have likely NL MVP-finalist and Hank Aaron Award winner Paul Goldschmidt who had a phenomenal year (.302 average, 36 home runs, 125 runs batted in) but in today’s day and age of baseball, one offensive piece simply isn’t enough.

“You can pitch around him,” Gomez said. “They need somebody to back him up. You see it in Detroit even though [Prince] Fielder had a horrible post-season. Having [Miguel] Cabrera and Fielder…having [Josh] Hamilton and [Albert] Pujols in Anaheim. It’s hard to do it with just one because teams can pitch around you.”

Gomez also said there are whispers Dave Duncan could be hired as pitching coach to replace Charlie Nagy who was fired just days after the regular season. Duncan, arguably one of the greatest pitching coaches of all-time, would be a significant upgrade to Gibson’s staff and help stabilize an up-and-down rotation which struggled the last few months of the season. Duncan, who recently lost his wife to cancer, lives in Tucson.