It was one step forward and two steps back for the 2012 Arizona Diamondbacks.
Coming off their improbable run to a National League West title and trip to the National League Division Series just a year ago, a number of on and off the field issues hindered any chance of returning to the post-season.
Whether it was key injuries to the starting rotation, inconsistency at the top half of the lineup, or underperforming against lesser teams within the division Kirk Gibson’s team was never able to put together all the right pieces.
Through it all the Dbacks realized there are certain pieces in place, particularly in the starting rotation where a trio of young, talented lefties anchor the top half of the staff.
Team President and CEO Derrick Hall believes there is a solid foundation set for the club heading into the winter.
“It’s mostly tweaking,” Hall told Pros2Preps.com Wednesday. “The pieces are there. We never could get going [this year]. We get a couple games over .500, fall back a couple below. You look at the season Aaron Hill has had…the season Paul Goldschmidt has had, the season Miguel Montero has had. You look at our pitching staff. Our bullpen was even stronger this year than it was a season ago.”
One name which has drawn the most attention is Justin Upton.
After underperforming most of the season, the ultra-talented Upton began to show more consistency and production late in the year, but some baseball insiders believe General Manager Kevin Towers will deal the 25-year old before next season.
“He’s been in the rumor mills for a couple years,” Hall said to Pros2Preps.com. “Teams call and KT is always willing to listen. Are we a better team with Justin? Absolutely. When he’s playing like he is now he can carry a team. He hasn’t moved in a couple years when people suspected he would. It’s safe to say he’s going be here unless we have our socks knocked off with something that’s going to make our team better.”
Hall said Gibson has shouldered most of the blame for the club’s underperforming season.
“He’s very critical of himself,” Hall explained. “He’s already told us we didn’t play as smart a brand of baseball as we did a year ago. We need to do a better job. We need to do a better job base running and on the base paths. I think we have a tremendous leader in Gibby and I like his future and I like our future with him and his coaching staff.”
He said key members within the organization have already engaged in internal meetings brainstorming ways to improve the quality of the roster top to bottom moving forward with an eye towards spring training in early 2013.