Sun, Sept. 22

Diamondbacks good for second in National League West

Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. (VVN/Bill Helm)

Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. (VVN/Bill Helm)

As with most off-seasons, many of baseball’s best free agents hit the lottery with multi-year, multi-mega million dollar deals this off-season. But for some, free agency wasn’t at all what they had hoped for.

Commonly, most all free agents reject their former team’s qualifying offer. Several of these players – several free agents – are still unsigned, such as Jake Arrieta and Mike Moustakas.

The home-town Arizona Diamondbacks were not able to keep J. D. Martinez, who they acquired from Detroit in July last year. Martinez, who helped lead the Diamondbacks to a 93-win season, is now in Boston with a five-year $110 million deal to be a designated hitter and occasional outfielder.

In his place – most likely – is former Tampa Bay outfielder Stephen Souza Jr. Though Sousa won’t hit as well as Martinez did a year ago, it’s likely that Martinez won’t hit as well, either.

If Sousa struggles, the Diamondbacks can choose between speedy outfielder Jarrod Dyson or hard-hitting and bad-fielding Yasmany Tomas.

If Sousa wins the right field job – and keeps it – he could be a better value overall with his better reputation both on defense and on the bases.

Paul Goldschmidt, A. J. Pollock and David Peralta are again expected to lead the offense, and if Jake Lamb can finally learn how to hit left handers, the offense should be strong.

On the mound, Robbie Ray may not pitch as well as his breakout season a year ago – or he may be better. Either way, he’s one of the game’s best No. 2 starters. Ray will slot behind ace Zack Greinke and in front of Taijuan Walker, Patrick Corbin and Zack Godley.

With a solid bench and a bullpen led by the magnetic Archie Bradley, the Diamondbacks boast a deep and well-balanced team that may not be as good as the Dodgers, but they should again be the division’s second-best team, as well as likely playoff contender.

The following are my baseball predictions for the 2018 season

National League

West- Dodgers

Central- Cubs


Wild Card- Diamondbacks

Wild Card- Brewers

American League

West- Astros

Central- Twins

East- Yankees

Wild Card- Angels

Wild Card- Red Sox


NL Wild Card game: Diamondbacks over Brewers

NLDS: Diamondbacks over Nationals in 6

NLDS: Cubs over Dodgers in 7

NLCS: Cubs over Diamondbacks in 6

AL Wild Card game: Angels over Red Sox

ALDS: Astros over Angels in 5

ALDS: Yankees over Twins in 5

ALCS: Astros over Yankees in 6

World Series: Cubs over Astros in 6

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