Throughout the week, we will be looking at the Diamondbacks' entire season in review, asking what went right, what went wrong, what they need to work on and much, much more. That starts today with my post on what went wrong for the Diamondbacks.
Finishing the season with a .500 record at 81-81 was not what the Diamondbacks had in mind for their 2012 season. Some baseball analysts had this team reaching the World Series and possibly winning it based on the young talent they have and how well they did in 2011, being knocked out in the divisional series by the Brewers.
In the offseason, Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers made a plethora of moves in an attempt to make the team better. He traded young talent Jarrod Parker to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for another young talent in Trevor Cahill. Then, he also added free agent outfielder Jason Kubel to add more power and RBI's to the lineup.
Cahill never really lived up to expectations. He won 13 games and pitched for 200 innings, but he walked 74 batters and often found himself in deep water after the first inning. With his team down most of the time, it was hard for them to come back in his starts.
Kubel was a force for the Diamondbacks through the month of July, but slumped quite a bit down the stretch. From August through October, he managed to knock in just 18 batters, as opposed to 72 in the first four months. Still, he led the team in RBI's and home runs with 30.
The additions to the team were hot and cold, but it was the mainstays that really struggled. Justin Upton, after being an MVP candidate in 2011, got cold all of a sudden. Maybe this was due to the trade rumors surrounding him or a thumb injury that he was dealing with, but his 67 RBI's and 17 home runs were not able to carry the team as they did in the prior year.
Chris Young's injury hurt the team quite a bit as well. Before hurting his shoulder after making a spectacular play in the outfield in late April, he was batting over .400 and was one of the best and most consistent batters and fielders in the league. After the injury, he never hit over .250 again if he had over 20 at-bats. The injuries continued to stack on top of one another and his slumps continued.
The pitching wasn't what it was in 2011, either. After winning 21 games with a 2.88 ERA in 2011, Ian Kennedy fell to 15 wins with a 4.02 ERA in 2012. Daniel Hudson tore his UCL, forcing him to undergo Tommy John surgery midseason. And on top of that, the Diamondbacks were constantly calling up young, although talented, pitchers, which really prevented them from developing a good, set rotation and the chemistry involved with stability.
Not having a true, everyday shortstop or third baseman hurt Arizona as well. Trading Stephen Drew was necessary, as his bat was slumping and they were not going to re-sign him after the season anyhow, making him a free agent. Chris Johnson started out hot for the D-Backs after they acquired him from Houston at the trade deadline, but he ended up in a platoon with rookie Ryan Wheeler and journeyman Cody Ransom down the stretch. Arizona may look to address both positions this winter.
Luckily for the Diamondbacks, the future is bright. Those young pitchers will be on the squad in 2013, the team has no big contracts to renew and they will likely make some more moves this offseason to better themselves.
It's only a matter of time until we see such a talented group reach, and hopefully exceed, the expectations that were set out for them.