Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Rotation still a concern as D-backs open camp

The SportsXchange

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks entered spring training with several of the two major items on their offseason checklist accomplished.

They acquired the power bat they sought, left fielder Mark Trumbo, and they picked up closer Addison Reed to bolster a bullpen that underperformed in 2013. However, when pitchers and catchers reported to camp Feb. 6, Arizona still hadn't added to the rotation.

Trumbo averaged about 32 homers and 94 RBIs in his three full seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, and some scouts believe he could surpass those numbers playing at more hitter-friendly Chase Field. Trumbo played mostly first base with the Angels, starting 73 games in left field and 49 in right, but the D-backs believe he will be a more than representative left fielder, pointing to his work habits and the athleticism that enabled him to steal a total of 18 bases the past three seasons.

Trumbo is the only certain new starter in a position group that returns largely intact, including top infield reserve/pinch hitter Eric Chavez, although the D-backs could have a new look at shortstop depending how the spring plays out.

Didi Gregorius was the regular most of the season, and he joined a select list by homering on the first pitch of his first major league at-bat at Yankee Stadium on April 18. He will be challenged this spring by rookie Chris Owings.

Owings played well in a September call-up after hitting .330 with 12 homers, 81 RBIs and 20 stolen bases at Triple-A Reno to win the Pacific Coast League MVP and Rookie if the Year awards. Cliff Pennington also is in the mix, although he is expected to back up both middle-infield spots. Shortstop could turn into a platoon, inasmuch as Gregorius hits left-handed and Owings bats right-handed.

The D-backs went hard -- a reported six-year, $120 million hard -- after Japanese free agent right-hander Masahiro Tanaka to add to the front end of the rotation, but after losing him to the New York Yankees, they may open the season with the same five that closed 2013.

Even so, right-handed pitching prospect Archie Bradley will be given a long look this spring. He throws in the high-90 mph range and went 14-5 with a 1.84 ERA and 162 strikeouts in 152 innings in 2013, mostly at Double-A Mobile. But Bradley, 21, will not be rushed, and if he needs another few months in the minor leagues, so be it. It worked for St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha last year, after all.

The back end of the bullpen will have a new look with the addition of Reed and the departure of Heath Bell from a group that tied for the big-league-high with 29 failed save conversions and led major league bullpens with 59 home runs given up. Reed should win the job, although in deference to the success of J.J. Putz when healthy and the outstanding fill-in work by Brad Ziegler in the second half of the 2013 season, manager Kirk Gibson was not ready to make that call before anyone threw a pitch this spring.

"My goal is to get them all back to the way they are capable of throwing the ball, and then we'll figure it out," Gibson said, including 2011 fill-in closer David Hernandez in the quartet of candidates. "We're going to take our time."

The D-backs were unhealthy last season, with a core group -- second baseman Aaron Hill, outfielder Cody Ross, Chavez, catcher Miguel Montero, Putz and starters Brandon McCarthy and Trevor Cahill -- missing a total of 100 weeks in the team's consecutive 81-81 season.

If healthy, the D-backs expect to be better. With Trumbo and Reed joining first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Hill and third baseman Martin Prado in the middle of the order, they could be much better.
Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments (3)