2020 MLB Season Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks
Aug 4, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Ketel Marte (right) celebrates with Tim Locastro after scoring in the seventh inning against the Washington Nationals at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The 2020 Major League Baseball season will be here before you know it. Now that a plan is in place and Opening Day is just around the corner, it’s time to take a look at what 2020 could hold for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Diamondbacks surprised the baseball community in 2019 after a late streak pushed them near playoff contention. They ultimately fell short, but still boasted the makings of a legitimate contender.
Arizona’s biggest move over the winter was signing Madison Bumgarner after he spent years opposing them with the San Francisco Giants, though the acquisition of Starling Marte from Pittsburgh checks in at a close second. The team also made waves by signing Kole Calhoun, Junior Guerra, Stephen Vogt, and Hector Rondon.
Like all teams, though, Arizona was struck with some losses. The Diamondbacks declined their club option on Wilmer Flores, who remained in the division by agreeing to a two-year deal with the Giants. They also non-tendered Taijuan Walker, a surprising move that could be justified since there wasn’t really a spot for him anymore. The Seattle Mariners ended up reaching out to Walker and giving him a shot, and the two parties will look to prove Arizona wrong this season.
That could be a tall order, though. Mike Hazen has constructed a formidable front office staff around him and consistently made impressive decisions that paid off in the long run. The recent losses of Paul Goldschmidt and Zack Greinke were painful, but they ultimately put the organization in a better position. Now, Bumgarner is in town with a stellar defense and solid pitching unit surrounding him.
2020 will be an interesting season for all of baseball because it will only take one hot streak for a team to lock up a playoff spot. This could potentially benefit the Diamondbacks, who saw their postseason hopes crumble after a thrilling streak of success late last season. Their woes could have been reversed if it was a shortened season.
This year, the Diamondbacks are sure to run into trouble in arguably the toughest division in baseball. While they shouldn’t be ruled out, the odds are stacked against them. First and foremost they will play 10 games against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are always a tough opponent. They will also get 10 matches each against the Giants, Colorado Rockies, and San Diego Padres. These three teams aren’t as dominant as the Dodgers, but they’re all in situations that parallel Arizona’s. They’re all candidates to be contenders, but they’ll need to find a hot streak in order to reach the playoffs.
The Diamondbacks will also face every American League West team five times, which could spell trouble. While series against Seattle and the Texas Rangers should be fairly predictable, the same can’t be said about clashes with the Los Angeles Angels, Houston Astros, and Oakland Athletics. To their credit, the Halos added Anthony Rendon to an already incredible offense that should benefit from a healthy Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout. Meanwhile, the Astros are on everyone’s minds due to their scandal and will be hungrier than ever to prove their success on the field. Finally, Oakland could spell trouble with their low-budget, high-energy roster that frequently boasts slick gloves, terrific arms, and powerful bats.
All in all, it would be unfair to dub the Diamondbacks as contenders or pretenders right now. They’ll be in the playoff hunt, but they’ll find themselves on the outside looking in unless they can get hot and establish themselves as a legitimate threat.