It feels more like football weather but today marks the first full squad workout for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Yes, that even includes Zack Greinke. The notoriously gruff ace showed up to camp a few days late presumably having spent the few extra days fine tuning his hair.
Here are the three biggest storylines to follow this spring for the Arizona Diamondbacks
1) Which Robbie Ray has shown up? The Robbie Ray who started the season with a 6.05 ERA through July? Or the Robbie Ray who finished the season with a 2.65 ERA over the final two months? The answer could radically affect both the Diamondbacks present and future. If Zack Greinke and Ray can effectively pitch as co-aces for the Diamondbacks, the team could surprise in the NL. Ray could also pitch his way to the top of the mid season starting pitcher trade market giving the Dbacks a final, big trade haul before the team completely sheds its skin from the last 3 years. If Ray pitches poorly, the Dbacks season likely tanks as does his trade value.
2. What will the infield alignment look like? Is Eduardo Escobar going to be the everyday 3B? Does Nick Ahmed’s defense matter more or less with a lineup missing Pollock/Goldy? Why wasn’t Daniel Descalso re-signed? How many AB’s does Wilmer Flores get? Can Christian Walker give the Dbacks enough power to stick at 1B? If so, does Lamb stay at 3B and Escobar move to 2B or SS, both positions he’s played before? Are you still reading at this point? Can the Dbacks start all three C’s at once and make Mike Hazen’s catching fever dream come true?
3. Who is the closer? For some, this might be #1. And it could be if the Dbacks starting pitching and offense makes things interesting in April. But for now, this is really a question of which back end reliever gets picked first in fantasy leagues and which reliever gets first crack at polishing his trade value. Archie Bradley is the fan favorite while Greg Holland is probably the front office favorite. Even though he signed with the Royals, I still hope the Dbacks use all those horses they used to keep the Dodgers out of the pool to keep Brad Boxberger from ever taking the mound at Chase Field again.