After a very successful 2017 campaign, there are a lot of reasons for fans of the Arizona Diamondbacks to be excited about the team. Led by their superstar first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and ace Zack Greinke, the team had a great Wild Card victory against the Colorado Rockies before getting swept in the NLDS by the Los Angeles Dodgers. The D-Backs have made some good moves, but have also lost some valuable assets to free agency including J.D Martinez and Fernando Rodney among others.
Arizona Diamondbacks 2018 Season Preview
The Diamondbacks are well on their way back to relevance in MLB but in a tough NL West, they will have to be spectacular. With all five teams in the division looking strong, the Diamondbacks should finish with a healthy winning record, going 86-76 finishing second in the NL West, easily making the wild card round again this year. But the team still has some big questions it will need to answer. Those will be covered here in the Last Word on Baseball Arizona Diamondbacks 2018 Season Preview.
The Big Questions
Who will be the new closer?
After the loss of Rodney, the Diamondbacks now have a gaping hole in their bullpen, but many pitchers that can fill that role. With Brad Boxberger and Archie Bradley being the frontrunners for the job, it will be interesting who manager Torey Lovullo decides to be his ninth-inning man. The early signs point to Boxberger, who has more experience in a closer role and finished 4th in total saves in 2015 with 41 while with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Diamondbacks also signed Japanese reliever Yoshihisa Hirano this offseason as well to help give Lovullo some more options. Only time will tell who gets the job.
Who takes Martinez’s place?
There is no doubt that the power of J.D. Martinez will be missed as he heads to the Boston Red Sox. But, time marches on and it is Lovullo with the task of finding Martinez’s replacement. Steven Souza could be a potential replacement after Arizona acquired him from Tampa Bay, but there is also the possibility that David Peralta takes that role and have Yasmany Tomas start in left field. But if that were to happen, Tomas would need to get better as he has struggled during his time in MLB. Which leads to the third question.
Can Tomas Improve?
When the Diamondbacks signed Tomas to a 6 year $68.5 million dollar contract back in 2014, everyone expected Tomas to be the next great Cuban sensation. So far, that has not been the case. Tomas has struggled for the first 3 years in his career, hitting a .268 batting average with 48 homeruns. With trade rumors swirling around him, Tomas will need to drastically improve if he is to overcome the enormous standards that have been set before him.
Final Thoughts: This Will Be Good
The loss of Martinez and Rodney in the offseason opens up a lot of doors for other players to strut their stuff for the team. Lovullo will have to tinker with the lineup during Spring Training but once things start clicking, it will be something fun to watch for Diamondbacks fans.
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