A song to play while reading about the Diamondbacks: “All We Got” by Chance the Rapper
Back in 2012, the Angels were in a playoff hunt thanks to strong veteran seasons from pre-decline Albert Pujols (4 WAR), post-decline Torii Hunter (5.4 WAR), and a break-out rookie named Mike Trout (10.5 WAR). What they wanted was an ace pitcher to shore-up their rotation. What they didn’t have a lot of was minor league talent. As a result, the Angels traded up-and-coming shortstop Jean Segura to the Brewers as a package to land Zack Greinke from the Brewers.
The Angels failed to make the playoffs, Greinke headed to free agency, and landed with the Dodgers where he broke his collarbone, pitched in some playoff games, and nearly won a Cy Young. Imagine Zack Greinke’s surprise after he landed a record-breaking AAV with Arizona during the 2016-17 off-season, only to find Jean Segura, the shortstop valuable enough to land Greinke in his 2012 trade, backing him up at shortstop in Arizona in 2017 (that’s over 1700 miles away and 5 years later).
That relationship lasted only a season, though. In the 2017-18 off-season, the Diamondbacks wanted a young controllable pitcher. What they didn’t have was a lot of young talent that they wanted to give up. As a result, the Diamondbacks traded Segura, coming off a career high 122 OPS+, to the Mariners for post-hype Taijuan Walker (once a top pitching prospect) and Ketel Marte.
This off-season, the Mariners have traded Segura, and other players, to the Phillies for shortstop J.P. Crawford, and other players. Then, they flipped one of the other players, Carlos Santana, in a 3-team trade.
What does this have to do with the 2019 Diamondbacks? I’m not sure. The editors limited my Ketel Marte comments to a few sentences and I think the trade tree that, ultimately, also involves Marte is one of the most Effectively Wild things about the team. This trade tree impacts 18 teams and has yet to be settled, as Seattle acquired a 2019 competitive balance round pick as a result of the 3-team trade. Don’t count Jerry Dipoto out of this equation, as he still has the right to trade that pick.
Win total prediction: 80
What is the Diamondbacks’ most recent accomplishment?
Successfully traded one the greatest homegrown players in franchise history for 2 former top 100 prospects (catcher Carson Kelly and pitcher Luke Weaver) and an infielder with MLB upside (Andy Young).
How will the Diamondbacks define success in 2019?
Finish above .500. Steps forward for young players like Lamb, Marte, and Kelly.
The Diamondbacks’ most “Effectively Wild” player: Ketel Marte
In case you were wondering, switch-hitting second baseman Ketel Marte, traded to the Diamondbacks by Jerry Dipoto in 2016, led the NL in triples last season. Marte will attempt to play centerfield full-time in 2019 for the first time. He’s listed as a three position threat (SS, 2B, CF) on his minor league Baseball-Reference page but no word, yet, if he will be expected to fill-in some infield duties. The Diamondbacks have shortstop mainstay Nick Ahmed and recent signee Wilmer Flores holding down the middle infield. Marte is a contact-oriented hitter with a career 15% K rate, a strong defender (with both dWAR and UZR smiling on his recent performances in the infield), and he recorded his first full season with an OPS/wRC+ at or above 100 last year. According to Marte, “Everybody knows that everybody calls me Pike.”
2019 promo worth the price of admission
Saturday, May 18, 20,000 fans will receive a Randy Johnson Starting Lineup figurine to commemorate the 15th anniversary of The Big Unit’s perfect game. Everybody already has every bobblehead so why not pick up something that won’t break the next time you move?
…and finally, a haiku for 2019:
Winds of change blow strong Next post: Season Preview Series 2019: Colorado Rockies
Sweeping out the old players
And in comes fresh blood
Previous post: Season Preview Series 2019: Cleveland Indians