Is It Time To Close The Book On The Arizona Diamondbacks of 2006-2010

I posted this over in the fixing the D-Backs thread but Jim suggested I move it to a separate fanpost, so here goes (bear in mind I wrote this before the Florida game ;) )

I’ll start by qualifying my remarks as admittedly I’ve seen little baseball with my eyes this season. Due to the time difference I’m mostly confined to reading the box scores and having a look through the recaps. In this regard being 8 hours ahead of you guys is some what of an advantage as it saves my eyes from seeing this gargling vortex of suck, but I’d still rather be watching live baseball every night :(

But looking at it from afar it does beg the question of whether this ‘core’ that we’ve put our faith in for the last 4 years or so has run its course. I’m not only talking the team, but of Josh Byrnes who has overseen our slide since May of 2008 onwards.

In my eyes there is little excuse for this franchise to be lagging behind the Rockies and Padres in this division, and even the Giants shouldn’t be that far away from us either.

Since our over inflated unsustainable payroll of death delivered us 3 playoff runs in 4 seasons, we’ve made the post season just once, (and arguably that was by statistical fluke) Is that something that should be considered acceptable by fans of the team? is one playoff berth in 8 seasons something that the Arizona Diamondbacks and its fans should be content with? The likes of the Pirates, Royals, Rangers, Mariners etc have even less success then us over the last 8 years so is this middling mediocrity something that’s to be lived with and any playoff run considered a bonus?

I don’t ask those as loaded questions… I ask honestly as given my transatlantic base it’s quite difficult to judge the mood and long term expectations of a sports franchise in the States.

But assuming the Diamondbacks aspire to be a perennial contender, or even produce a winning team every 3 seasons or so, should we class this team as a failure?

The likes of Drew, CoJack, Snyder, Webb, Ojeda, Qualls, are regularly lauded as being good players, worth our time, money and patience. But has the window of opportunity for success with the Diamondbacks closed for them? Moreover should the Diamondbacks be holding onto the likes of LaRoche and Johnson for a season or two if we could get several decent prospects that can serve us well in the future? In my eyes that group of players had 2008-2010 where they were supposed to shine and they failed to do so.

We all sat here in the wake of 2007 and said ‘these guys are only going to get better’ and put our faith in them while we traded away top prospects to aquire the likes of Dan Haren. Sadly a combination of injuries (Webb, Hudson, Davis, CoJack) and financial restrictions (letting Lyon, Cruz, Valverde go) have contributed to us failing to reach the expected heights in 08,09 and seemingly 10.

Over that period, the Diamondbacks front office has made big financial commitments to the likes of Haren, Reynolds, Young and Upton whilst gradually restocking a farm system that currently has little depth above single A.

In my own opinion given the above conditions and the failure of the last 3 year plan, I have to believe that the chief man responsible for roster construction and those who have been team constants in that period should be moved on and a team now built to peak in 2012.

In terms of the team, it seems CoJack is going the same way as Chad Tracy, an infielder, moved to the outfield, back to the infield but ultimately can’t live up to potential and promise of a good start to a career. He was cruelly robbed of last season but something seems to have gone from his game and it’s reaching the stage where I think he needs a fresh start.

Similarly Drew is an above average shortstop but with the likes of Abreu in the system we can afford to gamble on trading one of our prime assets to try and get some prospects in return.

Webby and Ojeda aren’t going to get us much in return for differing reasons but at this stage I think you just take what you can get at the deadline.

Similarly Kelly Johnson and LaRoche are both good pickups but neither seem to have a long term future here, so trading one or both of them should not be ruled out in June/July.

Even Edwin Jackson needs to be considered for a trade IF we get a decent offer for the guy. It’s unlikely we’ll be seeing him much after 2011 and in my model of building towards 2012 he just doesn’t fit.

As for the man who signed these guys and kept faith with them….. Look, don’t get me wrong, I like Josh Byrnes I think he’s a decent guy and clearly has some nous about him. But ultimately the buck has to stop with him. This is now HIS team, one that he’s had 4+ years to help build and one that has delivered just one playoff run in that time. It’s obviously still very early in 2010 but with little signs of recovery this season too looks to be heading to a sub .500 lamefest once again.

That’s for me why he should step aside and let someone else build the team. I’m not baying for blood and I think he COULD perhaps have future success but if you forced me into a keep or let go decision with our GM … for the first time I’m saying go.

It pains me to write such critical things of players and management, especially when they’ve all been great servants and all shown flashes of potential and talent. But their time in the desert seems to have come to its natural end.

Overall I guess in my mind it comes down to 2 real choices. Do we stick with what we have and gamble that 2010 will pick up and lead to a charge in 2011 with some more short term deals in the summer?

Or do we admit this team has failed and make changes with trades/contract/prospect signings with a view to contending 2 years from now.

I really am torn and I realize there is a lot of grey areas in my choices above but I’m going with gut instinct here and to me I don’t see us competing in 2010/2011 with the current core but CAN see the likes of Reynolds, Upton and Young hitting their prime in 2012 to see the sort of success the Rays are now enjoying.

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