The end of April could not come any sooner for the Diamondbacks, as they have posted a franchise-worst start. It is hard to figure out what exactly is going wrong for the D-Backs this season because, frankly, there is too much to choose from. The injury bug has not helped matters much, as newly acquired Mark Trumbo is the most recent D-Back to go down with an injury. Trumbo will be sidelined at least six weeks with a stress fracture in his left foot. With all of the injuries adding up and the starting pitching being as atrocious as it has been this season, there is still a lot of time left in the season to turn things around.
As of today, the Diamondbacks have the worst pitching in the National League, placing dead last in the pitching categories of ERA, Hits, Earned Runs, HR’s, and Walks. At the end of the Cubs series and into the Phillies season, the Diamondbacks starting pitching looked as if it was beginning to spring to life, as the D-Backs won three in a row. Unfortunately, they have now dropped three in a row and sit at an abysmal 8-21. With Trevor Cahill being moved to the bullpen in order to find his stride and with injuries keeping Randall Delgado in check, Josh Collmenter has moved to the fifth spot in the rotation. Collmenter has done a bang-up job filling the role, but with the starting rotation having a league-worst ERA, it is only a matter of time before fans ask to see if Archie Bradley can spark the rotation.
Injuries have certainly hurt the Diamondbacks cause this season as Trumbo (out six-weeks), David Hernandez (out for season), Patrick Corbin (out for season) and Matt Reynolds (out for season) are all players of significant value for Arizona and currently reside on the bench. Manager Kirk Gibson has received a lot of attention for the franchise-worst start, but he has attempted to make moves in order to right the ship. Relegating Cahill to bullpen duties is a strong move by a manager trying to re-instill confidence lost in the sinker-ball pitcher. Also, the move to start Chris Owings and send Didi Gregorius to Triple-A would appear to have been a smart move, as Owings is second on the team with a .295 average. Perhaps it should not be Gibson that is taking the heat, but rather the man that is signing the checks- General Manager Kevin Towers.
The Arizona Diamondbacks opened this season with a $112.688 million team salary, which is fifth in the NL and 11th in the MLB. Having a team salary that high will carry some weight behind it and will surely come with higher expectations. However, taking a look at the players that are tying up the majority of this money, fans are left scratching their heads at why anyone would pay so much for them. For example, top of the list of bone-head signings has to go to the contract given to SP Brandon McCarthy. McCarthy, who is getting paid $10.25 million this season, has never pitched a complete season before and averages 98 innings pitched a year. To put his contract in some perspective, McCarthy currently gets paid more this season than starting pitchers Johnny Cueto (CIN), Yu Darvish (TEX), and NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw (LAD). Kershaw will, however, be getting paid $30 million next season- but that contract was signed after winning two Cy Young awards. The Diamondbacks currently have $27.65 million tied up in starting pitchers McCarthy, Bronson Arroyo ($9.5 million) and Trevor Cahill ($7.9 million). The combined $27.65 million this year is good for a combined record of 2-12 with a 6.99 ERA, 4.96 FIP, and a 1.684 WHIP.
No matter whose seat is hotter at the moment, Gibson or Towers, there is still plenty of time to turn things around. In response to injury, Towers has also made a move in trading for Houston Astros starting pitcher, Lucas Harrell. The D-Backs are hoping a change of scenery will help the struggling right-hander, who is 0-3 with a 9.49 ERA this season. With all of the negativity surrounding the team as of late, it is important to mention that there have been a few- very few- bright spots for the Arizona Diamondbacks this season.
Top Arizona Diamondbacks Player for April: Paul Goldschmidt
Chris Owings deserves to be mentioned in this spot as he has been great for the D-Backs so far this season, but unfortunately, he still plays with one of the best players in the league in 1B Paul Goldschmidt. Goldy leads the team in Batting Average with a .322 and is second on the team behind Mark Trumbo in HR’s with three, RBI’s with 17, and SLG with .496. Goldy has also shown his worth with the glove as he is second best starting fielder on the team with a .989 fielding percentage. If Goldschmidt can keep up this kind of production throughout the year, do not be surprised if his name begins to come up in MVP talks.
Top Arizona Diamondbacks Pitcher for April: Brad Ziegler
Well, it was not too hard to pick the best pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks for the month of April, seeing that most of them have ERA’s over five. However, RP Brad Ziegler has remained the most consistent pitcher this season. Ziegler has a team-leading 1.35 ERA and 1.125 WHIP in 15 appearances this season. He also is third on the team in FIP (3.24) and has only given up two earned runs. Hopefully after May, especially for the Diamondbacks-sake, they hope to see a starting pitcher’s name in this category next time.
Commentary by Ryne Vyles, The Snake Pit
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer for the Arizona Diamondbacks