The homestand died on the vine, and likely ended any realistic chance of the Diamondbacks retaining their title in the NL West, as they sit seven games back of the Giants, with only 34 to play. How far through the five stages of grief are Diamondbacks' fans? Who'll be coming up from the minors this week? Can we compete with the Dodgers' free-spending ways? And what is the truth about cats and dogs? These topics are discussed by our panel, including guest contributor imstillhungry95. rd33 fills that position next week, and it's open after that, so just post a comment if you want us to add you to the list.
After a 2-5 week for the Diamondbacks, including another sweep at Chase by the Padres, any hope left?
Kishi: I'm not saying this is the week that killed our season. I'm saying this is the week that set the season's corpse on fire and shoved it into a ditch.
soco: It was already gone.
ish95: I have lots of hope left... for a great 2013 season. I mean, could we still technically still do it? Yes, but will we is the question, and after getting our rears handed to us by the Padres, I don't have any hope left for this season.
Sonic: We're done like dinner.
snakecharmer: After last week, we could've gotten on a roll. After this week, there's just not enough time left to make up the games we keep losing unless they totally sweep the NL West.
Jim: Nope, until proven otherwise - and I'm increasingly pessimistic that'll ever happen. We can't beat two sub-.500 teams at home, have gone 9-13 since winning the opening game in Philadelphia, and our only series win in that time was over the Astros.
The Dodgers already have payroll commitments for next year of $188m. How can the D-backs compete?
Clefo: Be a lot smarter with less than half of that than the Dodgers have been with all of that (Lol Carl Crawford contract). Keep developing guys, and don't become reactionary to anything our various adversaries do, since that may spell long-term trouble.
Kishi: Yeah, we have to spend our money better than the Dodgers and Giants do. The prospect of young, inexpensive pitching over the next handful of years has the potential to help out with that.
soco: There's certainly some pieces that the team should be happy about, and they can certainly build upon it if they're smart. Next year could still be pretty brutal, though.
ish95: What do you mean? All I saw is a new owner all but bankrupting his team. Yeah, they spent a lot of money, and got some good players, but we have a solid offense, and I have no reason to believe that we will have anything less than a stellar pitching rotation. The biggest hole we're going to have is either shortstop or possibly third. In my mind, Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs, and Paul Goldschmidt trump Adrien Gonzalez, Josh Becket, Carl Crawford. Jason Kubel beats Matt Kemp, and I for one still believe that Justin Upton can turn into a well above average RF. We're more than set for the next five years.
Sonic: How we do really has nothing to do with the Dodgers. The Dodgers still have only one good pitcher. We have 6. I like our chances.
snakecharmer: Boston just proved money doesn't buy championships. But it does look like the owners have to add in some money. We've got a LOT of young players in the mix right now that I just don't see being long-term options. Elmore or Bloomquist at shortstop? Wheeler at third? Zagurski as long relief? There are pieces we need to invest in for next year, and I don't know how many more dumpsters KT can go digging in for cheap pieces...I'm not saying break the bank, but I am saying go visit it and ask how much they can spare. I do agree that KT tends to manage that much better than a lot of others I've seen.
Jim: Spend smarter, not harder. I strongly suspect half or more of that LA cash will effectively be wasted. For instance, Adrian Gonzalez is an obvious upgrade: Crawford and Beckett...less so. They certainly have the resources to compete now, but the new owners seem to be looking to spend, spend, spend, without a great deal of thought.
The Joe Saunders era ends. Thoughts?
Clefo: Was alright.
Kishi: It was probably better than we expected when we traded for him.
soco: He had good moments, he had bad moments, now he's moved on. The story of an average baseball player.
ish95: First off, thanks Joe. Since we acquired him, he was pretty much exactly what we wanted from him: a number #3 starter. He was good for us. At the same time, though, the end of the Saunders era marks the beginning of the Tyler Skaggs era. I like how that sounds.
Sonic: He did quite well in his time here and he should be commended for that.
snakecharmer: For a while, he exceeded expectations, and that was nice. Overall not terrible, just not enough to overcome the loss of Hudson and struggles of Kennedy,
Jim: Let this one stand as Exhibit A against jumping to conclusions about trades. We saved a load of money without much loss in current form, and picked up some kick-ass pieces for the future. Saunders was completely serviceable, and performed above almost everyone's expectations.
What changes do you expect the Diamondbacks to make between now and next Opening Day?
Clefo: I expect some trade that will take us all by shock, and yes I realize that's an oxymoron, but KT plays by his own rules, nobody else's, not even his own.
Kishi: Someone being slotted in at third base. Remember how we flailed around for a few seasons, hoping to find someone worthwhile to put in at first until Goldy finally came up last year? I really, really don't want to see that entire debacle recast on the other side of the infield for a while.
soco: I expect some kind of flashy move that we'll all pan and then will probably turn out to be okay. I think Justin Upton really does get moved.
ish95: The biggest change is going to be RF and SS. I may think that Upton can still become a well above average Right Fielder, but I don't think this organization does, and I think as soon as the World Series is over, Upton is shipped out of town. That leads into the second position, shortstop. I think he's going to bring us a shortstop in return, and it wouldn't surprise me if it is Elvis Andrus. Those are my predicted biggest changes, and part of me hopes it doesn't happen.
Sonic: I expect them to make room for Eaton in CF and find a shortstop. I hope they go out and find a shortstop that doesn't cost us Upton. We need to keep Upton. I don't expect them to blow up the team. A lineup of: Eaton, Hill, Upton, Goldie, Kubel, Monero, Johnson/Wheeler, New SS with all those young pitchers should be able to do just fine and compete for the NL West title. Trade Parra/Young/Tier B prospect for a SS. That should get it done. It doesn't have to be Andrus.
snakecharmer: See my answer above about investment. Those are some of the pieces we need worked on. I see a different outfield (again) and different left side infield.
Jim: We need to find long-term solutions at short-stop and third-base, first and foremost. The starting rotation will work itself out, and KT will do his usual work with the bullpen. I imagine we'll probably see the end of Young and/or Upton to that end.
Do you exercise J.J. Putz's 2013 option for $6.5 million? Or pay the $1.5 million buyout?
Clefo: In April I would have said "TAKE THE BUYOUT!". However, it kind of depends as to what that saved money could do for us free agent wise. I would be more than happy to leave the closer's job to David Hernandez if it came to it, though.
Kishi: I'd lean towards taking the option. I think Putz is probably worth the money, but, then again, Kevin Towers probably has his eye on a half dozen other relief pitchers he could slot into the bullpen, too, if we think Hernandez is ready to be closer.
soco: I think we'll be playing with fire if we bring him back. Better to look for more options to reload below the assumed new closer of David Hernandez.
ish95: I don't know. If we spend a lot on a shortstop or some other position, than no. Let him walk and spend the money on the new acquisition. On the other hand, $6.5 million seems like a lot for a reliever that is currently 35 and not getting any younger. I'm leaning towards no, but I really won't storm Chase Field if they pick it up.
Sonic: That's not a very expensive price for a closer. I think we need him to keep the bullpen strong.
snakecharmer: Our bullpen was crap in 2010. Having JJ in the anchor position starting in 2011 has helped immensely. $6.5M for a 25-35 save closer? Take it! And then we have plenty of pieces to use in trades, even JJ if necessary, in case an injury occurs or if we're totally out by July.
Jim: It's a tricky decision. It's a steal, compared to what he'd get on the open market. But we have a cheaper, possibly better alternative closer in Hernandez. Here's a thought: exercise the option, then trade him?
Rosters will expand this week: who are you looking forward to seeing get called up?
Clefo: Adam Eaton for sure. I wouldn't mind giving Trevor Bauer another look if we're totally out of the hunt, since it would be an opportune time to see if he's worked on what he's needed to since his first call-up. And, of course, Scott Podsed- DAMMIT.
soco: I guess it would be nice to see what Eaton can do, but it doesn't much matter given the small time frame.
Kishi: Yeah, Eaton's my main interest, other than that... A couple more starts for Bauer?
ish95: This is a boring answer, but I'm going with Bauer. Recently, his wildness has gone away, thus cutting down on his walks, and I want to see if that can translate into the Big Leagues
Sonic: Eaton, Eaton, Eaton
snakecharmer: Wait, there are players we haven't called up yet? #rimshot
Jim: All of ‘em. With Arizona out of the pennant race, this is the time to give the possible members of the 2013 roster a chance to show what they can do, and get their feet wet in low-pressure situations.
Last week's off-topic question went so well, let's go with another. In the wake of today's Bark in the Park... Dogs or Cats?
Kishi: I'm pretty allergic to cats, it seems, and when you add in the fact that cats are usually jerks, I vote dogs.
soco: Kishi is correctly predicting my preference for cats. Both as pets, and roasted with a mustard glaze.
ish95: As far as having one as a pet, I vote dogs all the way. The main reason being, I'm very allergic to cats. However, if that were not the case,... I would still probably go with dogs. My personal experience with cats is that they don't tend to be very friendly, and I kind of like the fact that my dog likes to play with me, doesn't despise me, and isn't actively plotting to take over the world. I'm convinced cats are.
Sonic: Dogs. As if cats would care.
snakecharmer: EVERYBODY KNOWS I'M A CAT PERSON AND HAVE THE MOST ADORABLE KITTIES except for my sister's cat who is kind of a pain. Also, Daron hates Bark in the Park days, so I think he might be a liiiiitle glad to have missed this one.. ;)
Jim: What it is with the ‘Pit and cat allergies? Kishi, ish95 and Mrs. SnakePit all puffing up at the sight of a kitty? Me, I'm a cat person, but am now longer allowed even to pet them in passing. Dawgz R Stoopid.
A tough week, with the Reds coming here, then a trip to the land of plenty in Los Angeles. Can we stand up to the big bullies?
Clefo: I have this sneaking suspicion that we win or do well in both series. Why? Because this team has committed to totally screwing with the minds and psyches of their fans this year.
Kishi: I think we make a decent showing against the Reds, but then collapse in Los Angeles.
soco: Only heartache from here on out.
ish95: To be honest, at this point I only care about the Dodgers series. This season is over as far as I am concerned, and I just want to see how they play head to head against their division. Wins against the Red will just be icing on the cake. I do want to make one thing clear though, before I sign off here. I think it is completely possible that this team could still pull off an upset and somehow come back and win this thing. We have a ton of games left against the Dodgers and the Giants, and could use those to vault past the two of them. I just don't think they will. PROVE ME WRONG NOW, DBACKS!
Sonic: It doesn't really matter any more. The only thing that does matter is beating the Dodgers to keep them out of the playoffs. That's all I'm rooting for now.
snakecharmer: I think the Dbacks need to be worried more about their own performances than about whatever foes will come before them...
Jim: I still want us to win games, but am concerned about whether the team will just roll over down the stretch - they pretty much did so with the season on the line, so I can hardly see them picking their game up. Still, maybe an absence of pressure? If we win more than a couple of games this week, I'll be pleasantly surprised.