I'm sure most Diamondbacks fans went into the offseason thinking it would be the usual affair. A minor signing here or there, maybe a trade that could be hotly debated, but nothing out of the ordinary or earth-shattering. When they went into their easy chairs for the night (with pipe, newspaper, and smoking jacket, cause that describes Diamondbacks fans to a t.) expecting to hear some smooth jazz, they were rudely awakened by some loud gut-blasting rock music, cause Dave Stewart messed with the radio presets*.
*(I am convinced this is the beginning of some random hair metal band's music video from the 80s, you can't say for sure that it isn't.)
The Diamondbacks had been in a sort of steady building mode, to varying degrees and under various General Managements, kind of hoping to hit oil once in awhile. Sure, there'd be a significant move or signing (Bauer trade, Trumbo trade, other trades that make me angry, etc.), but nothing was of the magnitude of the initial signing of Zack Greinke. That wave continued to ride throughout the rest of the offseason, and the Diamondbacks are in a curious place of contention this season.
Here, we will look at the major arrivals and departures and posit what they could do to help/hurt the Diamondbacks this year. I've limited it to players likely to see some significant Major League time in 2016 (with one exception on the departures.) Sorry Gabe Speirer
Zack Greinke - SP
If nothing else, Greinke's mere presence shifted the balance of power in the NL West noticeably, as the Diamondbacks have an Ace now and the Dodgers rotation has become Clayton Kershaw and The Fragile Dudes (Saw them at Coachella 2011, they were aight.)
While there's always risk, especially with the money involved, Greinke's presence seems to have charged up the Diamondbacks and the fanbase. If Greinke is even 90% of what he was in LA, then the Diamondbacks rotation is in a better place by an order of magnitude that would take too long to type out than it was in 2015.
Shelby Miller - SP
Without going into the cost (yet) Miller also represents an upgrade for the rotation. How much of one depends on who you trust as the "real" Shelby Miller. 2015 Shelby Miller had a 3.02 ERA with a 3.45 FIP. 2014 Shelby Miller with St. Louis had 3.74 and 4.54 in those categories, respectively. If 2015 Shelby Miller (or something in between 15 and 14) shows up, the Diamondbacks have possibly the best 1-2-3 punch in the entire league (with Patrick Corbin), but if 14 Miller shows up... Well, you could make a snarky comment that 2014 Shelby Miller is better than most of the crap we threw out on a day to day basis last year. You could.
Also, it kind of warms the heart in all of the (legitimate) criticism of the trade, I didn't really see anyone say "SHELBY MILLER SUCKS BECAUSE HE WENT 6-17 LAST YEAR! I LIKE INHALING CAR FUMES!"
Jean Segura - SS/2B
If you're on the fence as to whether reclamation project players are a good way to go, or that a change of scenary can help a player, you have pretty much the most reclamationy player available in Jean Segura. Segura has played approximately three good months of baseball in 2013, since then it's been, uh, quite bad. Whether it was just some major regression, the weight of a personal tragedy, or the league figuring him out, Segura's production dropped. He has been raking during Spring Training (Not that that means anything, Martin Prado used to knock the hell out of the ball in Spring then would start seasons like 1 for 90) and he will definitely fit somewhere in the middle infield logjam.
Chris Hermann - C/1B
A depth move, which saw Daniel Palka go to the Twins. I don't have much of an idea where Hermann will fit in with the 2016 Diamondbacks. Backup Catcher? Tuffy Gosewisch seems to be healthy now. Backup First Baseman? Paul Goldschmidt is a superhuman who feels no physical pain, but definitely is empathetic, and will always be there hitting dingers cause he loves us. Hermann hasn't set the world on fire offensively, but he'll probably be a fill-in here and there from the injuries that pop up during a season. You can't stop them, the human body crumbles eventually, and an awkward slide into second base only hastens that journey towards the void. Eat at Arby's
Tyler Clippard - RP
"It looks like you're trying to add depth to your bullpen, would you like some help with that?" Said Clippard, or his agent, to the Diamondbacks. Clippard is definitely one of those relievers the casual fan has probably heard of. He pitched with the A's and Mets last year. A red flag, though, is that his September with the Mets saw him put up an ERA over 6. There is some thought that he was heavily overused and that an offseason of rest will fix right up. What I posit in the name of contrarianism is: What if it doesn't?
Rickie Weeks - 2B
BOO WE WANT UPTON BO- Oh, sorry. I'm writing this a few days in advance, so it may well be likely that by the time this is published, Weeks has been released or sent to minor league camp or whatever. However, as far as cheap infield bench options go, you could do worse. Also, if Weeks does well enough that adds another chapter in the "Welington Castillo Book of Guys Jack Zduriencik Really Whiffed On To The Diamondbacks Gain." It's a catchy title.
Jeremy Hellickson - SP
Hellickson was the most tenured starter of the 2015 Diamondbacks (By sheer volume of minutes spent on the mound), but with Greinke coming in and a decent pool of young pitching coming up and his arbitration figures not lining up with his actual performance, he was expendable. He went to the Phillies in a trade that brought back two prospects. It really works out for everyone. The Diamondbacks cash in a little on Hellickson and if any of the pieces returned become any good, hooray! The Phillies get a rotation guy to fill in during a rebuilding year. So long, Jeremy! It's been swellickson!
Ender Inciarte - OF
A casualty of getting Shelby Miller. Inciarte was a speedy, good defensive, and pretty good offensive outfielder for the Diamondbacks the past two seasons. His departure puts a lot of pressure on Yasmany Tomas to produce and not be totally useless on defense. Socrates Brito seems like Inciarte's defacto replacement, both on the roster and in a vague "style of play" way.
Aaron Blair - SP
A prospect that Diamondbacks fans really liked to hug, also a piece of the Miller trade. Blair probably has a better chance of seeing more majors time in Atlanta than in Arizona this year, but his loss does deplete the probably depth for 2016. There is no such thing as a pitching prospect, until one is traded away and you bemoan the loss of the next Tom Seaver/Steve Carlton (depending on handedness)
Dansby Swanson - SS
Very unlikely to see playing time in the Majors in 2016 (But you never know, the Braves are that thin.) Swanson's departure is more of a sign of a philosophical paradigm for the Diamondbacks. It's not often that a 1-1 pick is traded less than a year after they're drafted. If the Diamondbacks win a World Series within whatever their window is, then losing Swanson (as well as the others) in the Shelby Miller trade will be easier to swallow. Flags fly forever and all. If they don't, and Swanson becomes the next Derek Jeter (but better defensively and less re2pected), then there's gonna be a lot of waking up screaming in the middle of the night. Well, more than usual.
Aaron Hill - IF
Aaron Hill's career has basically been a sine graph. He'd have years where he'd be one of the best offensive Second Basemen in Baseball, and others where he couldn't hit out of a paper bag, and not like a large one you get at the Grocery Store, but like one you get at a burrito stand. (For a little more on this, I recommend reading this articlefrom Baseball Essential by Ben Diamond on how Aaron Hill's career is just fascinating.) With the Diamondbacks, fans will fondly recall 2012 when he hit two cycles in the span of a month and was the most productive position player for the team. He has fallen off since then, and was making a lot of money for that little production, so him being traded away made sense. Knowing Hill's career trajectory, he's probably gonna win Comeback Player of the Year in Milwaukee.
Chase Anderson - SP
Chase was probably going to be squeezed out of the rotation in 2016. The Greinke and Miller acquisitions, along with the team's infatuation with Rubby De La Rosa and Robby Ray's emergence would have made it very hard. You could argue that he could have been used in the bullpen, but being used as a trade chip makes sense too. Anderson's career in Arizona could probably be best described as "Middling with occasional flashes of brilliance." He's been getting lit up this Spring Training, and with Segura hitting well we totally won the Spring Training version of the trade.
Also, remember when Dave Stewart said that Touki Touissant was expendable because of guys they already had and he specifically mentioned Chase Anderson? Just throwing that out there.
The Diamondbacks shook up their roster in ways that Kevin Towers could only dream of. The changes, in the near future anyway, seem to be more positive than not, but the window seems to be very narrow. However, the window is actually open, where it wasn't the past two seasons. To me, personally, this is the most hyped I've been for a Diamondbacks season for a long time, and the front office's aggressiveness has 95% to do with it. (The other 5% are those sweet-ass new uniforms, don't hate.) It should be a fun team to watch. Unless it isn't.