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Know Your Enemy: Arizona Diamondbacks

This series moves on to the National League West.

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Diamondbacks went from a 94-win division-title year in 2011 to a pair of back-to-back .500 seasons to a 98-loss disaster in 2014. (An even quicker slide than the Cubs had!)

So they cleaned house. Out went GM Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson, and with them a lot of "grit."

In came Tony La Russa as "Chief Baseball Officer," Dave Stewart as general manager, and Chip Hale as field manager. TLR, we know well, but Stewart and Hale are in their first seasons in their respective positions, and so the D'backs are in rebuild mode.

They've got one really good position player, Paul Goldschmidt, who is a perennial All-Star and potential MVP candidate. Mark Trumbo can hit home runs, but his best position is DH, and the D'backs don't have that, and they have Goldschmidt at Trumbo's next-best defensive position. So this year, they're asking Trumbo to move from left field to right field. (Hint: this will likely not end well.)

Someone among a group of David Peralta, Cody Ross and Ender Inciarte will take over in left field. You're probably not impressed. A.J. Pollock, a former No. 1 pick of the D'backs (2009) will play center. Pollock put up pretty good numbers last year and they will hope he can take another step forward.

Arizona has been quite active in signing Cuban players. One of them, Yasmany Tomas, is expected to start at third base. He could be quite good, but there's really no way of knowing right now. Chris Owings, Aaron Hill and Tuffy Gosewisch complete the D'backs infield, and really? Gosewisch as the starting catcher? The D'backs could really use Welington Castillo, though there have been no rumors about the Cubs' now-third catcher going there.

The D'backs real issue is their rotation: Josh Collmenter, Jeremy Hellickson, Rubby de la Rosa, Allen Webster, Vidal Nuno, Trevor Cahill, Chase Anderson and Daniel Hudson are the candidates. Most of those guys spent last year injured or are failed prospects. I think you can see the problem here. Arizona's rotation could be bolstered by the return of Patrick Corbin and Bronson Arroyo, who are both recovering from Tommy John surgery and not expected available for Opening Day. You'll note that Archie Bradley, another top prospect, isn't even mentioned above -- he's not listed among the top eight starters on their current depth chart. If Bradley makes the big-league squad and is anywhere close to what the D'backs hope he is, that's a big boost to the rotation.

The D'backs are probably not going to lose 98 games again, but they're pretty far from contention, too.

The Cubs will visit Arizona for a three-game series May 22-23-24 and will host the Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field September 4-5-6.