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Arizona Diamondbacks All Decade Team Voting: First Base

And now an exercise in futility.

St Louis Cardinals v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Three films in history are tied for a record eleven Academy Award victories in one year, Ben-Hur (1959), Titanic (1997), and The Lord Of The Rings: The Return of the King (2003). In 1990, the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Denver Broncos by a score of 55-to-10, the largest margin of victory in a Super Bowl. The 1966 Baltimore Orioles swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series throwing complete game shutouts in the final three games of the series outscoring them 13-2 over four games. John Heisman once led the Georgia Tech football team to a 222-to-0 revenge victory over Cumberland college all because Cumberland ran up a 22-to-0 score with semi-pros in baseball against Georgia Tech the year prior.

Lopsided victories are fun to reflect on, and that’s what we’re facing with the Arizona Diamondbacks All Decade Team voting for first base. I was half tempted to just make you decide which Paul Goldschmidt season was the best of the decade, but we live in a democracy where rules and processes are in place, so you’ll get to decide among a selection of candidates. This is more of a formality than anything, as I already have Goldy’s victory speech primed and ready to publish.

Candidates

Adam LaRoche

  • Seasons with team- 2010
  • .261/.320/.468, 615 PA, 151 Games, 35 HR, 100 RBI, 106 OPS+, 104 wRC+, 1.1 bWAR, 0.7 fWAR
  • $4.5 million in salary paid by Arizona Diamondbacks

Adam LaRoche signed as a free agent with the Arizona Diamondbacks in January of 2010 signaling a departure from Chad Tracy, Tony Clark, and Conor Jackson in a revolving door at the position in the prior decade. He played in 151 games for the team and logged over 1200 innings at the position, the most for any D’backs first baseman since Shea Hillenbrand in 2004. His 100 RBI’s led the D’backs for the 2010 season, but he was second on the team in strikeouts to Mark Reynolds with 172. LaRoche was responsible for the only run in Edwin Jackson’s no hitter against the Tampa Bay Rays in 2010 courtesy of a solo homer in the second inning. However, Arizona decided not to bring him back following the 2010 season with the chosen one steamrolling his way through the minors...

Lyle Overbay

  • Seasons with team- 2001 - 2003, 2011 - 2012
  • .277/.363/.411, 464 PA, 161 Games, 7 HR, 49 RBI, 100 OPS+, 1.2 bWAR, 0.9 fWAR
  • Drafted by Arizona in the 18th round of 1999 draft

The stats shown above for Lyle Overbay are for all of his seasons with Arizona and not just those which came during the decade of discussion. This only adds to the comedic effect to follow when discussing Goldy. When Overbay was originally drafted by the D’backs, Goldy wasn’t even in high school. Overybay was part of the infamous eight player trade with the Milwaukee Brewers for Richie Sexson before the 2004 season. He bounced around the league playing for the Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays, and the Pittsburgh Pirates before returning to the desert during the 2011 playoff run. The Pirates had released him in August of that season, and Kevin Towers scooped him up a week later having received no production from Xavier Nady and Juan Miranda up to that point in the season. Overbay was viewed as the mentor to a young Goldschmidt who had been called up that same month, and was signed to a one year extension following the 2011 season. The mentorship and reunion would be short lived for obvious reasons, and Overbay was released in August of 2012 with Goldy fully entrenched at the position.

Paul Goldschmidt

  • Seasons with team- 2011 - 2018
  • .297/.398/.532, 4708 PA, 1092 Games, 209 HR, 710 RBI, 124 SB, 145 OPS+, 40.3 bWAR, 36.3 fWAR
  • Six All Star Appearances, Three Gold Gloves, Four Silver Sluggers, Three Top 3 MVP finishes

I’ll need to pace myself and reserve some of Paul Goldschmidt’s praise for Friday’s follow up. There isn’t much left to say about the greatest position player to ever put on a D’backs uniform that hasn’t already been covered ad nauseam here at the Snake Pit. In fact, when he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals last offseason we dedicated an entire week’s worth of posts to him discussing various honorable aspects of his person and play. Paul leads all D’backs position players in bWAR (40.3), well above the second place Luis Gonzalez (30.1), and is the franchise leader in OPS (.930). Goldy is second to Gonzo in franchise history for a majority of counting stats, but had he played the 2019 season in a D’backs uniform he surely would have passed him in most categories. More on that to come later...

Mark Trumbo

  • Seasons with team- 2014 - 2015
  • .243/.295/.446, 546 PA, 134 Games, 23 HR, 84 RBI, 101 OPS+, -0.2 bWAR, 0.1 fWAR
  • Acquired in three team six player trade between D’backs, Los Angeles Angels, and Chicago White Sox in 2013

Kevin Towers and Dave Stewart each contributed to turning the D’backs outfield from a position of strength to a barren wasteland. At one point in the early part of this decade, the team had Justin Upton, A.J. Pollock, Adam Eaton, Ender Inciarte, and David Peralta. They apparently took issue with those quality outfielders and instead preferred lesser players like Jason Kubel, Cody Ross, and Trumbo. Yes, Trumbo was acquired via trade for Adam Eaton and the recently departed Tyler Skaggs in 2013 to play outfield with Goldy well established at first base. However, an unfortunately placed fastball high and inside from Ernesto Freiri of the Pittsburgh Pirates fractured Paul’s left hand leaving the team without a first baseman. The D’backs moved Trumbo to first base as an emergency replacement which wasn’t the worst decision considering his less than stellar defense in the outfield. Trumbo logged 43 games at first base and 41 games in left field for the 2014 season. He was ultimately traded in 2015 to the Seattle Mariners for Welington Castillo after an immensely disappointing season and a half in Arizona.

Christian Walker

  • Seasons with team- 2017 - 2019
  • .251/.340/.476, 671 PA, 200 Games, 34 HR, 81 RBI, 109 OPS+, 2.7 bWAR, 2.2 fWAR
  • Four home runs in eleven career plate appearances against Clayton Kershaw

The successor to the greatest first baseman in D’backs history is also his only true “challenger” in the All Decade Team voting. However, Christian Walker wasn’t even originally tabbed to be the full time replacement at first base following Goldy’s trade. He was expected to platoon at first base with Jake Lamb who’d be moving across the diamond from third base. A left quad strain very early in the season for Lamb meant that for the first time in his career, Walker would not be blocked for an everyday starting role at first in the Majors. He’d been shut out previously by Chris Davis in Baltimore, and Freddie Freeman and Joey Votto in Spring Training 2017 with the Braves and Reds before the D’backs picked him up off waivers only to stash him behind Paul. Christian performed admirably in his first complete season at the MLB level putting up an almost equal performance as Paul did for St. Louis in 2019. Christian at least has the chance to win this poll in the next decade being that he will not be a free agent until 2025, but he will have to improve upon his 2019 season with Kevin Cron, Seth Beer, and Pavin Smith all chasing him in the minors.

Poll

Who was the best first baseman for the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2010’s?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Adam LaRoche
    (5 votes)
  • 1%
    Lyle Overbay
    (5 votes)
  • 92%
    Paul Goldschmidt
    (314 votes)
  • 2%
    Mark Trumbo
    (8 votes)
  • 2%
    Christian Walker
    (7 votes)
339 votes total Vote Now