By Sande Charles
With Diamondback pitchers and catchers set to report for spring training in just about four weeks, let’s take a look at three takeaways from their off-season.
First, after the 2019 season, most Diamondback fans were content with the starting rotation options. Robbie Ray, Zac Gallen, Luke Weaver, Merrill Kelly, Mike Leake made for a solid five-man rotation with Alex Young mixed in for quality depth. Pretty good, right? Well, apparently, not good enough for GM Mike Hazen and his baseball operations department because they went out and brought in postseason icon and Bay Area foe, Madison Bumgarner. If you’re serious about making a playoff push, why not bring in one of the best postseason performers of recent history? And it certainly doesn’t hurt that you no longer have to face MadBum, outside of live batting practice early camp. This is a rotation ready to make its mark in 2020 and several years after.
Second, Arizona did well for itself when it acquired Carson Kelly (along with aforementioned Luke Weaver and infielder Andy Young) from the Cardinals in the Paul Goldschmidt trade. Kelly’s a quality defensive catcher who hits lefty pitching quite well but has his share of struggles versus righties… enter new DBack, Stephen Vogt. Vogt, also from the division-rival Giants, brings the ability to platoon with Kelly from the other side of the batter’s box, brings leadership and some position flexibility at first base and outfield. All of a sudden the Diamondbacks look like a strength behind the plate.
Lastly, having lost Adam Jones to free agency, and knowing their strong outfield prospects are still another year or two away, the Diamondbacks went out and brought home Arizona native Kole Calhoun. Calhoun, coming off a career-high 33 home runs for the Angels, was brought in on a two-year deal that provides the offense lost in Jones, secures quality outfield defense and bridges the gap until prospects like Alek Thomas, Kristian Robinson and Corbin Carroll arrive in the major leagues.
Diamondback fans should feel like Mike Hazen and his staff have the organization primed to contend in the National League. Exciting times ahead at Chase Field this season.