Arizona Diamondbacks at The Half-Way Mark

"<strongThe Arizona Diamondbacks just concluded their four-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers taking three out of four games just before the All-Star break.

In evaluating the Diamondbacks performance up to this point for the season, saying it’s been a roller coaster ride is an understatement.

Diamondback fans all agree that we feel that we have the personnel to win our division as we did last year.

And just like last year, the Diamondbacks are going to have to do it with a second-half run.

Can the Diamondbacks Make a Run

As it stands right now the Diamondbacks are four games out of first place. Where many teams in baseball would be delighted to be in that position, it’s been a source of frustration for players and fans. To say that the Diamondbacks have underachieved for most of the season is a pretty accurate statement.

Coming out of spring training the Diamondbacks got off to the best start in franchise history. But for most of May and June the Diamondbacks played poorly, lacked timely hitting and just didn’t look motivated.

Going into the All-Star break there are a lot of issues on the table. Management has gone on record as saying they will listen to offers for Justin Upton and other players.

Trades – Buying or Selling

The talk around town of whether to trade Upton is ongoing and personally I have mixed emotions about it. First and foremost is that Justin is a tremendous player and at the age of 24 has not played up to his potential, but he is young and can still develop.

At times, Upton appears very upset at his performance and that he takes his game seriously. I can never fault a player for having that approach but what has tweaked some things as of late is Upton’s opinion of the fans booing him for his lack of timely hitting

It is always dangerous to put an attitude above what fans think because after all we are the ones that are paying the bills because without the fans this franchise would fall.

When it seemed like Upton could not do any worse, he stepped up with key hits and plays in the Dodger series that helped lead the Diamondbacks to wins. So I’m sure the management of the Diamondbacks is perplexed on exactly what to do and a lot of teams are courting him and would love to have him on their roster.

Personally, Upton’s numbers so far in his career do not merit the type of money he’s receiving. But that doesn’t say that he will never live up to expectations.

There are other names being tossed around by the winds of trade rumors, some of those names are Ryan Roberts and Stephen Drew. Both of these players are very popular with the fans, Roberts who’s known as “Tat Man” has continued to struggle this year and is clearly not the same player as he was last year.

In spring training of 2011, Roberts was on the bubble and wasn’t even sure he would make the team. Roberts has been a career journeyman and last season’s performance was the best of his career. But now, Roberts has returned to form that led him up to being in that bubble position last spring.

Again, I have mixed feelings because where batting average is one aspect of baseball, messing with the team’s chemistry can be just as delicate.

Stephen Drew on the other hand comes from a whole different background. Coming off a near career ending injury, Drew is facing the task of regaining his form. Drew has always been a solid player throughout his career with the Diamondbacks. He’s always been a solid offensive player and his defensive skills have been stellar as well. So one may ask, why would they put Drew on the trading block?

The reason is because of Drew’s agent Scott Boras. His agent is well-known for landing huge contracts for players and it’s expected that the Diamondbacks will have to pay out at least $15 million a year for Stephen Drew if they expect to keep him. Some may think that this is too much for a player coming off an injury like Drew had.

That’s a fair question but personally I think Drew is worth the money. The Diamondbacks have been known to pay more money for worse players, that may not be the best logic to keep player but it is a bottom line and I think Drew is worth the 15 million and has shown no signs that his injury will hold them back.

Drew is currently batting below .200 but he’s been hitting the ball solidly, unfortunately it’s been right at the defense. He’s shown no signs of defensive struggles and during certain plays reminded the Diamondback fans why he’s getting paid what he has.

D-Backs Grade C – But Could get Better

So my mid-term grade gives the Arizona Diamondbacks a C-, if grading on a curve, I would say it could reach a high C.

During the Diamondbacks home stands they’ve registered two, six and one series and looked dominant doing it. But on the road the Diamondbacks look horrible and looked overmatched. So because of that I incorporated the grading curve, after all this is my article and I get to do what I want.

The upside to the Diamondbacks has been good young pitching and good young hitters. These are the type of players that you can build a franchise around, and that’s exactly what the Diamondbacks have done. Last season the Diamondbacks needed some help to come from way back to take the division.

This year they are much closer to first place and can control our own destiny. Personally I believe that the Diamondbacks should stand pat as far as personnel goes and let it play out. Time will tell and it’s always easy to second-guess the team after the fact, but I do see the chemistry that I spoke of earlier, very evident with this team.

The bottom line to me is that the Diamondbacks have underachieved and have yet to play their best baseball. With that in mind we are only four games out of first place.

I think that’s a pretty good position to be in considering we haven’t played very well.

Let’s see what the second-half holds.

 


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  1. […] out the season losing three in a row but in recent series looked very impressive like they did against the Diamondbacks sweeping them in three games for the first time in Padres history at Chase Field in […]

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