Last month I was on a podcast (pause for impressed murmurs) and the host asked me if the Diamondbacks were going to try to contend this year or tear it all down. I paused, and said I wasn’t really sure, not because I didn’t have that info, but because the way the team is constructed at the moment it could go either way.
Fast-forward to now, and even after a few moves prior to and during the Winter Meetings, the same is true. It falls on a fundamental thing that I think the new F.O. has also taken to: It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine this team being at least kind of good.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that as-constructed they’ll immediately challenge the Dodgers and Giants atop the NL West, but you can talk yourself into Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller bouncing back a little next year. And hey, maybe some better pitch-framing and defense at the Catcher’s position will help with that too! There’s no way that A.J. Pollock and David Peralta will be as injury-riddled as they were in 2016, right? And Paul Goldschmidt is still himself? Why not?
The obvious counterpoint to that is: Last year.
However, the Diamondbacks are in an interesting position in that they don’t have to blow things up immediately. The new brass *should* have enough leeway to absorb a potentially bad first season so that they can really put the dynamite to the roster if need be.
In spite of Stewart-LaRussa’s machinations, the Diamondbacks aren’t in as bad a position as they could be (of course, they could be in an even better position without those, but that’s a dead and buried topic) if they play up to whatever imagined potential we all think they have.
This season will basically define how the first years of the Hazen F.O. will develop. If the Diamondbacks play relatively well (say, a low to mid 80s win total), then you could see them shoring up deficiencies to really make a push in 2018. However, should we get 2016 2: Electric Boogaloo, then it’s not hard to see the F.O. in a back alley next offseason trying to unload a Greinke or Tomas or whatever to some unsuspecting kids.
Either way, it’ll be interesting.