NL West Musings: What Is Going On In Arizona?


You know what nobody in Colorado missed? The sight of Cody Ross flipping his bat.

Ross will be in the NL West for a full season as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Image: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Ross recently returned to the National League, joining the Arizona Diamondbacks. It seems like Ross once again was the guy nobody really wanted, and then he joins a team, and everybody says, “Oh, that’s a solid addition.” Then during the season he plays well and is a good presence for his team and everybody thinks, “Gosh, what a great signing. Why did nobody really want him?”

If your team plays a significant chunk of its games against the Colorado Rockies, you should definitely want Ross. Now the Diamondbacks have him, and now I have to suffer through more moments of him strutting with his inexplicable cockiness as he demolishes the Rockies, one clutch hit at a time.

As far as the hot stove goes, the addition of Ross leaves the Diamondbacks with a surplus of outfielders that would even make the Rockies blush. Even before adding Ross the Diamondbacks were considering offers for young superstar Justin Upton. With Ross in the fold they will presumably once again take a serious look at either trading him or Jason Kubel.

It seems to me that the obvious choice would be Kubel, despite his limited return. Like the Rockies, the Diamondbacks face the reality of keeping up with the money of the Dodgers and the savvy of the Giants. If Upton breaks out to anywhere near his potential that will rattle the entire division; he is well rounded and would have a case as best position player in the division. Kubel’s ceiling, with no disrespect intended, will always be as limited as his skills with the glove. Only with a ridiculous haul for Upton (a video game trade?) would it make sense to keep Kubel and dish him.

As far as the envy of Rockies fans goes, that whole situation sounds like a win-win to me. Either way the Diamondbacks will be in position to be a darn good team this year. Do they want to try and make that good team even better by keeping a young 5-tool outfielder who is under team control or by seeing what they can get in return for him? Man do I wish the Rockies could ask themselves that kind of question…consider me jealous.

In some ways that leaves the Diamondbacks with philosophical questions similar to those the Rockies face with Carlos Gonzalez: how do you balance the fact that you have a star player locked up for a long time with the temptation of the huge value you might get in return in a trade? Of course the situations are different in that the Rockies would trade CarGo to rebuild and the Diamondbacks would trade Upton to contend now.

This offseason has continued the shift of Major League activity and intrigue westward. As the Diamondbacks face an important decision after signing evil Rockies killer Cody Ross, we may not have seen the last earth-shattering move from this side of the league this winter.