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D-backs Wrap Trades In

Time For Christmas


Didi Gregorius gets dealt to D-Backs in three way swap.
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Free-agent signee Brandon McCarthy to be a starting pitcher for the D-Backs. Used under terms of a Creative Commons license.
GM Kevin Towers Gets Everything He Was Asking For, Firming A Roster That Might Be Good Enough To Compete For The NL West Title  

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By Bob Goodwood
Modern Times Magazine

Dec. 13, 2012 — So the Arizona Diamondbacks wrapped up their Christmas shopping early.

They got a starter, a few solid relievers which included a former saves leader, serviceable veterans for the bench, a couple of fringe guys and the most prized possession, a big athletic, ‘Jeter prototype’ shortstop. The price was a former All-Star centerfielder, a potential ace, and some relievers.

Unfortunately for the organization and fans alike, they won’t get to open these gifts up until this summer because these presents are not guaranteed, and they came at a price that could be really hefty. That cost could rise exponentially if Chris Young and Trevor Bauer put up big numbers in the American League.

Most of the ‘experts’ and ‘critics’ have called the deal a bust already. They sound a bit like the adults in the classic Christmas film A Christmas Story, who repeatedly warned Ralphie, “you’ll shoot your eye out.”

The critics are spot-on with their assessment that the D-backs took a few risks this offseason. Bauer could be the second coming of Greg Maddux and Didi Gregorius could be a bust. Free-agent signee Brandon McCarthy — a guy who depends on contact to be successful — might not seek so much contact after his skull fracture last September.

But in the age of WAR, isn’t it just as reasonable to foresee that the Gregorius, Cliff Pennington and Willie Bloomquist solution might result in decent production and solid defense? Or, that Bauer might fail in Cleveland and McCarthy might pick up right where he left off — viewed as one of the best and smartest pitchers in the game.

If not for the head injury, the D-backs might not have even been in McCarthy’s price range.

And yes, Bauer might eventually win a Cy Young award. But so might Archie Bradley, or Tyler Skaggs.

Sure, these signings and trades are a risk, but that is what baseball is all about. Towers has designed a team with few weaknesses. He manages a baseball club like NASA — as many multiple redundant back-up plans as possible.

And honestly, do those who scoff at dealing Bauer really think that the kid who wouldn’t conform in 2012 would be the guy responsible for getting the team to the playoffs and beyond in October 2013? The Diamondbacks will be competitive in 2013 as long as they stay healthy.

Although not a hall-of-fame caliber pitching staff, the starting five of McCarthy, Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill, Wade Miley and probably either Tyler Skaggs, Patrick Corbin or Josh Collmenter is a buzz saw. It will likely get better in late summer when Daniel Hudson — fingers crossed — comes back from Tommy John surgery.

The bullpen is solid as the rock of Gibraltar. JJ Putz covers the back end, with David Hernandez and Heath Bell as the setup men. Tony Sipp and Brad Ziegler will be depended upon for spot duty. Collmenter might be the long man, though Towers might have some aces up his sleeve with some of the no-names he picked up.

The position players are just as solid as the staff. They have a possible MVP candidate — yes, Justin Upton can be that good lest anyone forget — and guys like Paul Goldschmidt, Miguel Montero, Aaron Hill, Chris Johnson, Jason Kubel, Gerardo Parra and Adam Eaton all have above-average skills in the batter’s box.

The bench is much stronger with the additions of Eric Hinske and Eric Chavez.

So maybe these deals will lead Kevin Towers to shoot his eye out, but like little Ralphie, he got his Red Rider BB gun.

All that remains is to ricochet through 2013.

Happy hunting.

Bob Goodwood can be reached at bob.goodwood@yahoo.com.
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