SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- By most measures, Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt was the most productive offensive player in the National League last season.
Goldschmidt hit .302 and led the National League in RBIs (125), slugging percentage (.531), extra-base hits (75), on-base-plus-slugging percentage (.952) and total bases (332) while tying for the home run lead (36) with the Pittsburgh Pirates' Pedro Alvarez. He won Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards.
That was then, Goldschmidt said, putting the past firmly in his rearview mirror as spring training opened.
"We all start with ho hits, no RBIs, no average," said Goldschmidt, who finished second to the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen in NL MVP voting. "It doesn't matter what happened. You have to prove yourself every day."
Goldschmidt did his best work in 2013 when it mattered most, leading led the major leagues in go-ahead homers, walk-off homers and homers after the eighth inning. He beat the Chicago Cubs with a grand slam on June 1, did some homework while finishing degree work in the management at the University of Phoenix on the team charter to St. Louis, then beat the Cardinals with a 14th-inning single June 4 and another grand slam June 5.
However, the only numbers Goldschmidt seems concerned about are 81-81, the D-backs' record each of the past two years.
"We all have goals, but I am not up there trying to hit a certain number of stats," said Goldschmidt, who received his college degree in August.
"For me, I just want to show up and work hard every day and try to get better and help the team win. Those are things I can control. Some number, a guy makes a diving play on you and you don't reach your goal, it's going to be a disappointing year? For me, that stuff is out of your control."
Prescient D-backs general manager Kevin Towers signed Goldschmidt to a five-year, $32 million contract extension two days before the 2013 season began.
"In all my years, I have not been around many like him," Towers said. "He's a performer. He's a (college) graduate. Incredible teammate. In the morning, he beats all our trainers here coming to work out in the offseason. In a very short period of time, he has become the face of this organization."
The face would blush at that.
"You just have to understand that this is a team game," Goldschmidt said. "Last year's over. It was a good year. It was great. It was fun, but you have to start over and go out and try to win. We want to win the World Series. Besides that, who cares what happens?"
--LHP Patrick Corbin, who gave up a two-run home run in his first spring start Friday, is preparing as if he will start one of the two regular-season games against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Australia on March 22-23, although no decisions have been announced. "I'd obviously rather go out there and help the team win than pitch in a couple of games here that don't mean anything," Corbin said. "Hopefully I'll get the opportunity. That's what I am preparing for. I think that I'm on schedule for that." Corbin, who threw 53 pitches Feb. 29, would start one of the games if the D-backs remain in turn.
--SS Chris Owings, a top candidate for the starting job, also played parts of two games at second base early this spring as the D-backs gauge his versatility. Owings, who hit .330 and was the Pacific Coast League MVP at Triple-A Reno last season, played 11 games at second base, his first games at the spot. "I'm feeling comfortable over there. Last year helped," Owings said. SS Didi Gregorius will not play second base this spring, manager Kirk Gibson said.
--RHP Archie Bradley, the D-backs' top pitching prospect, was scheduled to make his debut in a split-squad game against Colorado on March 3. "He's a natural power guy. He knows he has to command the zone, but he's got something most guys don't have," Gibson said his 99 mph fastball. "I don't want him to think he's some finesse pitcher. He's not." Bradley was washed out of his first scheduled spring start March 1, when rain forced cancellation of a split-squad game against the Chicago Cubs.
--C Tuffy Gosewisch, battling with veteran Henry Blanco for the backup catcher position, suffered a strained calf in late February but is expected to return in early March. C Bobby Wilson, who spent parts of five seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, and C Blake Lalli became roster candidates in Gosewisch's absence, GM Kevin Towers said. "It's pretty much open for that backup spot," Towers said.
--RHP Trevor Cahill struck out four in his in 3 1/3 innings in his first spring start, a rain-shortened 2-1 victory of Milwaukee on March 1. "My curveball was working. I was throwing it for a strike when I had to, which was a good sign," said Cahill, who refined his arm late last season and is looking to maintain consistency this year. "My changeup was really bad until I kind of got the feel for it again. It's usually one of the tougher pitches to get the hang of."
--OF Todd Glaesmann, obtained from Tampa Bay for RHP Heath Bell in the offseason, retired from baseball before minor league spring training started. "Although the decision was not easy, it was best move for me. The passion for the game was not there anymore," said Glaesmann, the Rays' 2012 minor league player of the year. Glasemann, 24, hit .240/.289/.378 with 11 homers and 54 RBIs in 132 games for Double-A Montgomery last year.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "You can't forget about him out there. That (arm) is certainly one of his strengths. He'll be a good weapon for us this year." -- Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson, on RF Gerardo Parra, who threw out two runners in March 2 exhibition game against the San Francisco Giants.
LHP Patrick Corbin
RHP Trevor Cahill
RHP Brandon McCarthy
LHP Wade Miley
RHP Bronson Arroyo
Corbin worked his way from candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation in spring training to staff ace, with a stop-off at the All-Star Game highlighting his first full season in the majors. One early-season start against Atlanta prompted this tweet for Chipper Jones: "This Corbin dude is pretty nasty!"
Cahill and McCarthy missed about 10 weeks combined with injuries last season, and the D-backs are counting on a return to form for both. Cahill tried a new arm slot after returning from his hip injury in August, and the results were promising.
Miley made 22 quality starts last season, second on the team to Corbin's 23 and more than RHPs Matt Cain, Mat Latos and A.J. Burnett had. He knows how to keep his team in a game. Arroyo signed a two-year, $23.5 million deal on Feb. 7, when pitchers and catchers went through their first workout. His arrival could move RHP Randall Delgado to the bullpen and RHP Archie Bradley, a top prospect, to the minor leagues for final seasoning.
RHP Addison Reed (closer)
RHP J.J. Putz
RHP Brad Ziegler
RHP David Hernandez
LHP Joe Thatcher
RHP Josh Collmenter
RHP Will Harris or RHP Randall Delgado
The D-backs tied for the major league lead with 29 failed save conversions and led major league bullpens with 59 home runs given up in 2013, so changes were inevitable, especially from GM Kevin Towers, who believes a good pitching staff starts at the back end.
Newcomer Reed enters spring training as the closer after posting 69 saves in his first two seasons with the Chicago White Sox. Reed was 40-for-48 in save conversions last season. His arrival will push former closer Putz and fill-in closer Ziegler into setup roles. Although Ziegler was very efficient as the closer in the second half last season, the D-backs also like his ability to induce ground balls with runners on base.
Collmenter was among the best long relievers in the game last season, when he threw 29 of his 92 innings in extra innings. Situational left-hander Thatcher scuffled after being obtained for starter RHP Ian Kennedy at the trade deadline, but his track record is strong. Hernandez, who has great stuff, is looking for a bounce-back season. LHP Eury De La Rosa, a strike-thrower, pitched well at times last season could contend for a job.
1. RF Gerardo Parra
2. 3B Martin Prado
3. 1B Paul Goldschmidt
4. 2B Aaron Hill
5. LF Mark Trumbo
6. C Miguel Montero
7. CF A.J. Pollock
8. SS Chris Owings or SS Didi Gregorius
The D-backs wanted to power up in the offseason, and they did so by acquiring Trumbo from the Los Angeles Angels in a three-way deal that cost them CF Adam Eaton and LHP Tyler Skaggs. Trumbo has the resume, with 95 home runs and 284 RBIs in three seasons in a more pitcher-friendly park in Anaheim his first three seasons.
Goldschmidt had a breakout 2013 with 36 homers and an NL-high 125 RBIs. He seems a lock at the No. 3 spot. Hill, who missed two months with a broken hand in 2013, could slot between Goldschmidt and Trumbo. Prado recovered from a slow start to post a career-high 82 RBIs in his first season with Arizona, admitting it took him awhile to settle in after being traded from Atlanta.
The D-backs do not have a pure leadoff hitter, but Parra appears the most likely candidate, at least against right-handed pitchers. Pollock had a strong rookie season, and he could hit at the top against lefties. Owings and Gregorius will not platoon; one will win the job and the other will open at Triple-A Reno, GM Kevin Towers said.
TOP ROOKIES: RHP Archie Bradley, the seventh player taken in the 2011 draft, will get a long look in spring training as a possible addition to the rotation. Most baseball people feel he has to-of-the-rotation stuff and makeup, and that it is only a matter of time before he arrives. He was drafted out of high school, and the D-backs will not rush him. SS Chris Owings was the Pacific Coast League MVP and Rookie of the Year after hitting .330 in 2013, and he will make the 25-man roster, perhaps as the starter. RHP Matt Stites, a reliever also obtained in the Ian Kennedy deal, throws in the high 90s and is a candidate to make the team after a strong Arizona Fall League, although the bullpen is crowded. RHP Jake Barrett, a 2012 third-round draft choice, also throws in the high-90 mph range. He had a 1.21 ERA and 29 saves in 2013, finishing the year at Triple-A Mobile.
--OF Cody Ross (right hip surgery in August 2013) took batting practice in early February at the team's Salt River Fields training facility. GM Kevin Towers said that it is possible Ross could be ready for the start of the regular season, although that appears optimistic.
--LHP Matt Reynolds (Tommy John surgery in September 2013) likely will miss the entire 2014 season.
--RHP Daniel Hudson (Tommy John surgery in June 2013) underwent his second elbow surgery in two years. He signed a minor league contract with the Diamondbacks in December, and he is expected to miss most of the season.
- Sports & Recreation
- Patrick Corbin
- Cody Ross
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- Kirk Gibson
- spring training
- Kevin Towers