Arizona Diamondbacks Wretched Season of Losers Ends With a Win
Say bye-bye to Chad Tracy, who's pretty much done as a Diamondback.
With the series win, the sucktastic Snakes limp past the finish line firmly in possession of the worst record in the National League West at 70-92, a full 25 games back from the playoff-bound Los Angeles Dodgers. (By comparison, the team went 90-72 during just two years ago during the glorious 2007 season.)
And now that the agony has ended, the D-Backs faithful (what few of them remain, that is) can do what the rest of the sports world has done since May and forget about anything having to do with baseball in Arizona until Dan Haren and company report to Tucson in February.
There are plenty of faces they won't see come springtime, however, and chief among these soon-to-be-ex-Diamondbacks is Chad Tracy. Arizona's bidding a hearty GTFO to the oft-injured baseman, who was absolutely impotent when it came to his at-bats this year (mounting a pitiful .222 hitting average) and spent most of his time bouncing between Chase Field and Reno as a result.
Who else is gonezo?
Thankfully, Eric Byrnes is widely expected to be axed from the line-up in the off season and rightfully so. Never again will you have to endure his overpaid and under-performing freakazoid antics (or even his craptacular TV show for that matter) as his .663 OPS and .226 hitting average has pretty much guaranteed a boot out the clubhouse door.
He'll probably be joined by both Doug Davis (9-14, 4.12 ERA) and the fetid Stephen Drew, who are heading for the promised land of free agency this winter. The Texas Rangers are reportedly interested in adding the starting pitcher to their squad, while the Red Sox are rumored to be looking at Drew (who's brother already plays for Boston). Good riddance.
Even with some dead weight cut from the roster, Arizona's chances for competent baseball in 2010 look downright hazy, at best. If skipper A.J. Hinch were using a Magic 8-Ball to predict next year (which isn't much of a stretch, given some of his questionable managerial choices this season) it definitely would read "Outlook not so good."
Haren is gonna be back, as is Justin Upton, Mark Reynolds, and Ryan Roberts. (Sorry ladies, no word yet on Trent Oeltjen). And while fingers are being frantically crossed that both Brandon Webb and Conor Jackson will return to the land of the living, neither are a panacea to Arizona's ills. Nope, the missing ingredient that will bring this team back from the NL West basement is consistency, which the D-Backs lacked in spades whether it related to their hitting, relief pitching, or bringing home runners in scoring position (don't even get us started on that miserable stat). Reynolds 44 homers were all well and good, but his 200-plus whiffs at the plate is a much more telling number.
When it comes to the bullpen, we're praying that all the talk about Max Scherzer moving to a reliever role will come true, as do the rumors that general manager Josh Byrnes is on the lookout for a veteran to back up the likes of Clay Zavada and Juan Gutiérrez.
Then there's the squad's defensive shortcomings, of which there were many. Looking back on what KTAR play-by-play man Greg Schulte called "a season gone awry" (an understatement if ever there was one) the stats are staggeringly bad. With a total of 124 errors and a fielding percentage of .980, the D-Backs ranked as the second worst in the league behind the Washington Nationals.
Needless to say, much work is to be done if the Diamondbacks hope to mount a winning record, let alone enter contention. And while Hinch has droned on about "wiping the slate clean" and "hitting the reset button" in recent days, he'll have to kick some major ass around the clubhouse instead of being GM Josh Byrnes' passive puppet.
See you in the spring.
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