By Joe McDonald at 21 January, 2013, 3:16 pm
Youth is often unreliable. Last year, the Diamondbacks learned the hard way.
After Arizona shocked the baseball world in 2011, taking the NL West crown, expectations were relatively high for a strong encore. Instead, Kirk Gibson's club straddled the fence, splitting its 162 game slate straight down the middle (81-81). Early season physical setbacks to Chris Young and Daniel Hudson combined with Justin Upton's dramatic power outage, likely a consequence of a thumb injury suffered in April, explained the team's ordinariness.
Unhappy with last year's mediocrity, GM Kevin Towers has racked up the cell phone minutes this offseason. Young was sent packing to Oakland in December for Cliff Pennington and prospects. Much hyped hurler Trevor Bauer , who floundered in four starts with the senior club in '11 (6.06 ERA, 7.16 BB/9) and whose quirky pregame regimen rubbed some in the organization the wrong way, was shipped to Cleveland for SS Didi Gregorius , 1B Lars Anderson and LHP Tony Sipp . Veterans Eric Chavez , Erik Hinske , Cody Ross and Brandon McCarthy were plucked from free agency. And ERA wrecking ball Heath Bell was acquired from Miami for a box of Jujubes and a six-pack of Smirnoff Ice. Too bad the bickering parties in D.C. don't work as efficiently.
Still, despite Towers' aggressiveness, he's yet to find a solution for the team's most glaring problem: Satisfying Upton. Resentment between the two sides has grown to an irreparable level. Recently, billboards featuring the slugger were removed from Chase Field. And just last week the outfielder nixed a trade to Seattle . Eventually, a proper suitor for Upton, and possibly Jason Kubel , will be found (New York, Atlanta and Texas are rumored destinations), but until that happens, Gibson's lineup remains very fluid.
To help decipher the meaningful from the meaningless, here are five pressing questions about the Arizona Diamondbacks entering 2013: