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Playing Pepper 2011: Arizona Diamondbacks

Posted on February 28, 2011 at 12:00 PM
Filed Under: Arizona Diamondbacks | Playing Pepper
Two years ago, I started a series I called Playing Pepper, where I asked questions of bloggers of each major league team about the season to come.  Not only was that informative and entertaining, it led to the spawning of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.  With spring training coming up, it's time to get back into shape by again playing a little pepper.

Arizona Diamondbacks (65-97, 27 GB and fifth place in the NL West)

Arizona has had a rough time of it the last few years.  They've had trouble developing a team that can compete with teams such as San Francisco and Colorado and have made their most noise when trading for the future.

Scott Allen is the only Arizona member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, writing for the Fansided blog Venom Strikes.  You can follow him on Twitter as well as following his blog's page over on Facebook.  After the jump, Scott talks about Ian Kennedy, Justin Upton and what to expect out in the desert this season.

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C70: What was your opinion of the Arizona offseason? 

VS: Busy. They seemed to make a lot of moves. I just hope the moves weren't just for the sake of making moves. The rid themselves of power in Mark Reynolds and Adam Laroche, but also eliminated alot of strikeouts in the same process as well. A lot of veterans were added to the team, which was a must if we wanted to continue to see the youngsters grow. 

C70: What are the expectations for Justin Upton in 2011? 

VS: To say there are huge expectations would be an understatement. General manager Kevin Towers has gone on the record saying he expects Upton to hit a lot of home runs. When they dangled him out there on the trade market during the off-season, I think that was more for show to Upton to let him know the Dbacks were disappointed in his 2010 effort and that he isn't untouchable. I don't think they ever had any intention of trading him - this year. If the trade deadline approaches and Upton hasn't performed or the Dbacks are once again riding the cellar of the NL West, I woudn't put it past the Dbacks to try to move him then instead of waiting for the off-season. 

C70: Will Ian Kennedy continue to develop or will he take a step back? 

VS: Hard to say. Kennedy started out great in 2010, then digressed a little during the middle months of the season, finishing strong and leaving Dbacks fans with something to be excited about going into 2011. Of course the hope is he will continue to develop and I see no reason why that would not continue to happen. 

C70: Is there a Diamondbacks prospect that will make a significant impact this season? 

VS: I would have said pitcher Jerrod Parker, however coming off injuries, his status is still uncertain. The Dbacks look at Juan Miranda as a prospect who is going to be given every chance to start at first base this spring. With little time in the majors with the Yankees, the Dbacks are taking a gamble on Miranda being the guy. 

C70: What is your prediction on Arizona's record and divisional finish? 

VS: 81-81, third in the NL West. They will be, well I should say, SHOULD be better. Of course what you see on paper doesn't always translate into wins on the field. It will depend on how all the new guys jell together with the mainstays. I think it could still be a struggle for them to get to .500, but then again, I thought the same thing before the 2007 season and they ended up winning 90 games. I don't think this team has that kind of win total in them unless a lot of things go right for them and that HAS to start in spring.

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