These days you'll have a hard time finding anyone who has bad things to say about the Arizona Diamondbacks. From winning the NL West, to getting to the World Series, to Justin Upton winning the MVP, the Diamondbacks are that movie that all the critics are raving about.
And that's what scares me.
Half the time you walk out of a movie like that trying to figure out exactly what movie they were watching when they gave it two thumbs up.
Like many, I'm picking the Diamondbacks to win the West. But that fact doesn't mean I don't have legit questions about this team; the answers to which may well determine if they will win the West. Here are nine of them:
Tell me who are you (are you, ooh ooh, ooh ooh)?
Who is Ryan Roberts? Is he a 19 HR/.768 OPS guy again this season? Or was that the very definition of a career year? Who is Aaron Hill? In 33 games with the Diamondbacks he hit .315/.386/.878 and was a huge part of the push for the playoffs late in the season. Asking them both to do it again feels like asking for too much.
I'll be curious to see how Kirk Gibson solves the nightly puzzle of his one-man-too-many outfield. Pressure is on Jason Kubel to produce; to prove that his acquisition at the expense of Gold Glover Gerardo Parra was worth it. He'll hear about it if he doesn't.
First Base from A (Allen) to Z (Zinter)
With apologies to anyone I may have forgotten…..since Mark Grace retired Allen, Baerga, Branyan, Clark, Colbrunn, Easley, Green, Hammock, Jackson, LaRoche, Mayne, Miranda, Mora, Nady, Overbay, Reynolds, Ryal, Sexson, Snyder, Tracy, Whitesell and Zinter all have given it a go over at 1B. Here's hoping the wheel of misfortune stops with Paul Goldschmidt.
Here's to your health
For lack of a better word, the D-backs were lucky last year. Other than Stephen Drew's gruesome ankle injury and J.J. Putz spending a few weeks on the DL, the Snakes enjoyed a relatively healthy season. It seems almost impossible that they'll repeat that good fortune. The question then becomes do they possess the depth to withstand a significant loss.
Catcher in the bye
If reports are true that Miguel Montero is in search of a contract similar to the $50 million Victor Martinez received from the Tigers, then this could very well be his final season here. Can't see the D-backs giving him that much coin. Trouble is there aren't a ton of other options in the minors. Acquiring a catcher, perhaps in exchange for the surplus of starting pitching prospects, should be a top priority.
Getting out your regression
Based on his age and the fact he threw significantly more innings than the previous year, SI.com's Tom Verducci has pegged Daniel Hudson as a candidate for injury or regression. D-backs fans better hope that Verducci's formula is flawed when it comes to the "2" in the D-backs 1-2 pitching punch.
The man-child is now The Man
Justin Upton, seemingly, has arrived as a perennial MVP candidate. I'm actually picking him to win the award this year. He needs to have a spectacular year in order for the D-backs to repeat.
A sinking feeling
In reading the USA Today's MLB preview, an anonymous scout mentioned there was no sink to Trevor Cahill's sinker and it appeared he was throwing a BP fastball. Earlier in the spring, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported some around baseball were curious why Billy Beane would be so willing to trade a young, cost-controlled starter like Cahill. In other words, what did he see wrong that others didn't? I liked the deal then and I still like it now. The D-backs gave up a young promising starter in Jarrod Parker to win now with Cahill. That's exactly what he needs to do.
People will come Ray
Will they? This team overachieved last year and then went over budget to try and do it again. During a year of such hype and such promise here's hoping the D-backs and their fans, deliver.