In the This Is My Nightmare series, we'll take a look at what the absolute worst case scenario for each team would be in 2013. Think of it as the negative complement to our You May Say I'm A Dreamer series that we'll be running during our preview series.
It is one thing for a team to fall short of expectations, but it is quite another to fall short of expectations while being teased by flashes of what could have been. That is the exact nightmare scenario the Diamondbacks have set themselves up for after their off-seaso roster overhaul.
Kevin Towers took a lot of heat for his machinations this winter as he traded away Chris Young, Trevor Bauer and Justin Upton in three separate trades, trades in which the consensus was that the Arizona came out on the losing end, all in favor of creating a roster more in the image of his gruff and gritty manager Kirk Gibson. The theory, as best as anyone can tell, is that while the D'Backs roster might not be quite as talented, it will see make up for that loss of talent and then some by having the kind of team chemistry that would make Henri Louis Le Chatelier jealous.
It is a bold gamble that may very well not pay off. After all, it did the Red Sox a fat lot of good to have grinder/outfielder Cody Ross in their lineup last season. In fact, they might have had some of the worst clubhouse chemistry in baseball. If not the Red Sox, then that honor could have gone to the Miami Marlins, where Towers just imported noted gritty reliever Heath Bell from. That's the same Bell that developed a very contentious relationship with manager Ozzie Guillen due to Bell's ineffectiveness and unwillingness to relinquish his closer role.
The nightmare though doesn't lie in Arizona's new players performing below expectations, a real possibility for Ross now that he doesn't have the help of the Green Monster, Bell who appears to be on his last legs and rookie import Didi Gregorius who, shockingly, could turn out not to be the second coming of Derek Jeter as Towers proclaimed. No, the proverbial salt in the wound would be for D'Backs fans to see the talented young players they sent away flourish on their new teams.
Just imagine how dumb Towers could look if Trevor Bauer becomes a frontline starter in Cleveland while the D'Backs scramble to patch together their rotation after Brandon McCarthy, another clubhouse guy, spends half the season on the disabled list with another bout of shoulder problems.
How are the fans going to react to seeing Chris Young have a bounceback season in Oakland while rookie Adam Eaton flops in his first real taste of big league action and gets sent back to the minors by mid-May?
The ultimate insult though would be to have Justin Upton, a player the team was hellbent and ridding themselves of despite his immense talent, fully realize his potential in Atlanta. Is Towers really going to still feel confident in his decision to give Upton away for the merely good Martin Prado when he is watching Upton smash 40 homers on his way to the National League MVP and the NL East division crown while Arizona limps to a fourth-place finish in their own division in large part because their lineup could never really get going without a big, monster bat like Upton's in the middle of the order.