This year has certainly not gone as planned for the Arizona Diamondbacks. After two consecutive .500 seasons, the D-Backs made moves in attempt to finally overcome the 81-win mark and make the postseason for the first time since 2011. Unfortunately for fans of baseball in the Valley of the Sun, the injury bug has hit this team in a way nobody could have ever expected. However, the team is remaining competitive in lieu of these dire circumstances, and one player in particular, Paul Goldschmidt, appears at times to be singlehandedly keeping this team out of the cellar.
Heading into the second half of the season after the All-Star break, it is important to look back at the challenges the Diamondbacks have faced this year, but beware, these trials and tribulations are not for the faint of heart.
To start the season, the D-Backs would be without their ace Patrick Corbin and relievers David Hernandez and Matt Reynolds due to season ending Tommy John surgeries. In light if that news, the team needed a big year out of starting pitchers Brandon McCarthy and Trevor Cahill, who were making nearly a combined $18 million, but instead they had a combined 5.49 ERA. McCarthy is now on the Yankees and Cahill was optioned to the minors. Key offseason acquisition, Mark Trumbo, who was supposed to help Arizona’s middle of the lineup overpower opposing pitchers, has only played in 24 games this season due to a foot injury, and Bronson Arroyo, who was finally hitting his stride after a rough start, is also now out for the season. Finally, going into the second half of the season, the team will be without infielders Eric Chavez, Cliff Pennington and Chris Owings and starting centerfielder A. J. Pollack. Everything that could have gone wrong for the Arizona Diamondbacks seemingly has.
This recipe for disaster has now made this D-Backs current roster resemble less of a major league club and more of a Triple-A team. Since opening day, only one starting pitcher in the team’s original projected five-man rotation remains among the starting rotation, Wade Miley. Also since opening day, most of the starting left side and center of the field for Arizona (Owings, Trumbo and Pollack) have only played a combined 148 out of a possible 288 games, roughly 51 percent.
Nonetheless, if there has been one constant or beacon of stability for Arizona this season, it is Paul Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt is not one to take credit for any win or to gloat on his mid-season successes, but it is not everyday that fans get to see a player from a team with the second lowest win-percentage in the league start in an All-Star game.
“Goldy” is definitely having a year to remember for the Diamondbacks and it should not go unnoticed. He currently sits at second in RBIs (61) and third in on-base percentage (.400) and slugging percentage (.549) in the NL. His 36 doubles so far ties his double total from all of last year, currently leads all batters in the majors, and is the most doubles heading into the All-Star break since 2005.
The second half of the season does not look very promising for the D-Backs, especially since the team has already begun to sell off some of their expensive- and underperforming- pieces. By season’s end, there could even possibly be five new starters in the lineup that actually began the season in Triple-A. Given all of that tremendous news, the Arizona Diamondbacks could still very well end up back in the cellar by game 162. However, if they do happen to stay out of it, it will undoubtedly be because of one of their only few mainstays left, the man at first base, Paul Goldschmidt.
Commentary by Ryne Vyles
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer Covering the Arizona Diamondbacks