The Diamondbacks Are Bound To Turn Things Around, Right?
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Sitting at 15-20 early in the 2024 season was not something the Arizona Diamondbacks expected.

After all, they did everything right during the offseason. General manager Mike Hazen brought back outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. He addressed the team’s problems at third base by trading for Eugenio Suárez. He added Joc Pederson and Randal Grichuk to form an experienced DH platoon. And, perhaps most importantly, he signed a pair of frontline starting pitchers: Eduardo Rodriguez and Jordan Montgomery.

Owner Ken Kendrick was willing to spend, and Hazen went to work.

All of those additions were supposed to supplement a strong returning core. After all, the Diamondbacks had Rookie of the Year Corbin Carroll, Gold Glovers Gabriel Moreno and Christian Walker, and a revitalized Ketel Marte. Add to that one of the best farm systems in MLB, and the D-backs looked poised to make a run to defend their NL pennant.

(They even got refreshed uniforms and better lighting at Chase Field!)

This was a team ready to dive into the Chase Field pool for real.

And then, things went sideways.

The Injury Bug Hit

Before the Diamondbacks even broke training camp, Rodriguez (left lat strain) suffered an injury, as did closer Paul Seawald (oblique). Four games into the season, center fielder Alek Thomas strained his left hamstring strain, and soon after shortstop Geraldo Perdomo suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee. The team might have recalled top prospect Jordan Lawlar to take Perdomo’s place, but he’s out with a ruptured thumb ligament.

All of that happened before elite (and often-overlooked) starter Merrill Kelly went on the 60-day IL with a teres major strain in his right shoulder.

And if that all wasn’t bad enough, 2023 Cy Young finalist Zac Gallen left his most recent game with a hamstring injury.

In a year that’s seen a number of prominent players moved to the IL, the D-backs have suffered more than their fair share — and that fact is reflected in their win-loss record.

Corbin Carroll Slid Into a Sophomore Slump

Something that should not be overlooked is Carroll’s importance to the D-backs roster. He’s the spark plug that makes the engine run. When Arizona hit that historically bad skid in July of 2023, it coincided with Carroll struggling with a shoulder injury. He sets the tone for this team.

He’s not done that yet in 2024.

Carroll is currently slashing .203/.297/.250 with a wRC+ of 65, which is barely more than half of his 124 wRC+ in 2023. Manager Torey Lovullo has moved Carroll down in the lineup to give his young star a chance to sort things out. So far, that hasn’t happened.

Carroll’s slow start is probably due to a number of factors. First, teams have enough data on him that they are (for now) neutralizing his game.

Plus, he’s been making unsuccessful swing adjustments. Here’s what he told reporters after Saturday’s blowout loss to the San Diego Padres:

(Caleb Moody has a detailed breakdown of Carroll’s swing here.)

Carroll will be back — he’s too good to stay in this slump. But for now, he’s not making significant contributions.

The Big Bats Aren’t Hitting

In addition to Carroll, the 2023 Diamondbacks had big offensive seasons from Gurriel, Marte, Moreno, and Walker. To this point in 2024, Arizona’s lineup has been ineffective, hitting only 32 home runs and stealing only 16 bases. (In 2023, the stolen base was their calling card. The drop-off is largely due to Carroll’s slow start and Thomas’ absence.)

The good news is that the Snakes are still taking their walks (9.4% walk rate, eighth in MLB). Moreover, their collective wRC+ is 105, which is slightly above average.

In other words, the pieces are there, but it’s not coming together yet.

So, Will They Get Better?


This is still a fundamentally sound team with excellent coaching.

Plus, the true Arizona Diamondbacks have not yet taken the field. Rodriguez will be an important addition to a shortened staff, and according to reports, he may begin throwing this week.

It’s difficult to overstate the D-backs’ need for Sewald to stabilize the bullpen, and he should rejoin the team on Tuesday. Additionally, Thomas will also be back on Tuesday, which will strengthen the outfield defense and bring another lefty bat into the lineup.

Perdomo and Lawler should be back eventually (Perdomo perhaps in the next month), and there’s hope that Kelly will return later in the season.

The team has given Gallen time off for recovery, but he’s scheduled to be back on the mound Tuesday.

Plus, the Diamondbacks just traded for veteran pitcher Matt Bowman, a former Minnesota Twin. He’s not Zac Gallen, but the D-backs need to stabilize their rotation, and Bowman may be able to help them do that until they can get some of their pitchers back.

For now, the D-backs need to try to close the gap until Lovullo and Hazen can right the ship.

Stats and rankings updated prior to first pitch on May 6.

This article first appeared on Just Baseball and was syndicated with permission.

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