Change is certainly on the wish list of Arizona Diamondbacks fans as the holiday season approaches. 

And with spring training and the regular season also approaching, change must happen now. The 2014 season was one to forget. The D-Backs finished 64-98worst in MLB.

Injuries to Patrick Corbin, Mark Trumbo, A.J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt all contributed to the struggle. It also likely led to the firing of Kirk Gibson and the hiring of new manager Chip Hale.

Corbin is projected to return to the rotation midway through the 2015 season. Goldschmidt should be fully healthy coming off a fractured left hand.

However, Arizona’s intriguing offseason moves to this point have already made headlines.

The most notable acquisition was Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas. He should provide much-needed power and protection for Goldschmidt in the lineup.

The D-Backs also acquired pitching depth in Jeremy Hellickson (from Tampa Bay) for prospects, and Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster (from Boston) for Wade Miley

Yet, there are still holes the organization needs to fill for a successful 2015 campaign. Here are some changes the D-Backs should make before spring training. 


Go After James Shields lists Josh Collmenter at the top of the rotation on the depth chart. Collmenter precedes De La Rosa, Hellickson and Webster.

With Corbin coming off Tommy John surgery, there are no guarantees regarding his return or performance. Arizona’s front office knows a top-of-the-rotation arm is needed to compete in the NL West.

Money is no longer the issue it once was now that the D-Backs sent Miguel Montero to the Cubs. Montero was scheduled to make $40 million over the next three years.

With some payroll flexibility, adding Shields would greatly bolster the rotation. Shields went 14-8 with a 3.21 ERA last season with the Royals, helping them reach the World Series. His durability also makes him an attractive commodity. Shields has started 30-plus games in each of the past eight seasons. 

Expect Arizona to take a look at Shields knowing that pitching has been a recent problem. Here is how the starting rotation would look midway through the 2015 season with Shields and a healthy Corbin. 

1. Patrick Corbin

2. James Shields

3. Josh Collmenter

4. Rubby De La Rosa

5. Jeremy Hellickson


Replace Miguel Montero

Losing Montero leaves Arizona with Tuffy Gosewisch as the starting catcher on the depth chart. That will certainly not suffice, especially on the offensive end. 

There are several potential trade targets for general manager Dave Stewart to consider. One is Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila. He is not known for his offense, but he can be a solid defensive replacement for Montero. Avila led AL catchers in runners caught stealing with 36. 

Another option Stewart has reportedly considered is Toronto Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro. The latter is the more attractive offensive option. Navarro hit .300 with 13 home runs in only 89 games with the Cubs in 2013. Last season, he hit .274 with 12 home runs in Toronto.

Both stat lines were more impressive than Montero‘s past two seasons (.230, 11 HR in 2013 and .243, 13 HR in 2014).

Expect Stewart to explore both options as potential replacements at the catcher position in 2015.


Consider Trading Aaron Hill

Aaron Hill’s power-hitting days are behind him. With only 21 home runs in the last two seasons and several bites from the injury bug, it is time for Arizona to part ways with the veteran second baseman.

Hill is due $24 million over the next two yearseven more reason to cut ties. If the D-Backs can trade Hill, it would open up even more money to pursue quality starting pitching.

Arizona has plenty of young infield talent to replace HillChris Owings, Jake Lamb and Nick Ahmed, to name a few. Veteran Cliff Pennington can also play second base if needed.  

The D-Backs’ offseason plans involved adding a power bat, shedding salary and getting younger. Trading Hill would follow suit, and it also makes sense for the long term.

Competing against the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants and the playoff-caliber Los Angeles Dodgers will make contending in the NL West difficult for the D-Backs in 2015.

But with these changes, expect Arizona to have a good chance at finishing over .500 for the first time since 2011.

Adding quality pitching while creating a more flexible payrollthe formula for success in Arizona. 

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