No Hall Pass: D-Backs Bracing For Improved NL West

As Billy Ocean famously chimed nearly 30 years ago:

“When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going.”

The mid-80’s pop hit could be used as a rallying cry for the Arizona Diamondbacks with pitchers and catchers set to report to Salt River Fields in less than a week.

The National League West already features the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants, the always-tough and seemingly endless payroll Los Angeles Dodgers and now the remodeled and re-loaded San Diego Padres.

The D-backs don’t seem to be shying away from what many would consider one of the toughest divisions in baseball

“I actually love that,” President and CEO Derrick Hall told in a phone interview Thursday morning. “This is a division in the past where it didn’t get a lot of respect. Now everyone is looking at the west…as the division to beat.”

Although many around baseball expect the overhauled Diamondbacks to be improved, the results may not translate to more wins in the standings of the top-heavy NL West. Arizona will feature a first-year general manager (Dave Stewart) and rookie skipper in Chip Hale who will do their best to navigate through this season and build towards the future. The organization is hoping a blend of fresh faces like pitchers Jeremy Hellickson, Rubby De La Rosa and Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas will help with the much-needed returns of starter Patrick Corbin and power-hitting Mark Trumbo.

Hall is hoping history repeats itself here in the desert.

“The years we’ve has a lot of success is when we’ve had the lowest expectations,” Hall explained. “That’s when we’ve performed best.”

Arizona is hoping to quickly erase their 2014 last-place, 98-loss season which saw Kirk Gibson’s team buried in the cellar after a 9-22 start.

Injuries and underperforming players must be avoided if the Snakes hope to find success this summer.

It’s apparent it won’t be easy.

It never is for a team with just one post-season appearance in the past seven years.