After nearly three weeks of the 2004 season, it is clear that the Arizona Diamondbacks are in desperate need of help for their pitching staff. The departure of Curt Schilling is far more profound than the team had imagined. The thought was that Brandon Webb would be an adequate replacement for Schilling and that Elmer Dessens would rebound and give the Diamondbacks a lot of innings. The team planned to have Shane Reynolds be a capable fourth starter then finalize the rotation with knuckleballer Steve Sparks. Joe Garagiola Jr. had the statistics that stated Sparks would shine in the National League. Instead, he has been roughed up in nearly every game he has pitched in. This coupled with Reynolds beginning the year on the disabled list and the implosion of the bullpen has everyone scratching their heads wondering what to do next. The thought was that Matt Mantei would begin the season as the closer then the Diamondbacks would trade him eliminating $7 million in payroll. Instead, Mantei has struggled on the mound reducing his trade value to the point where the team cannot move him. Outside of Randy Johnson and Brandon Webb, there is not a lot to be encouraged at from the pitching staff of 2004. With a slow start, look to see the Diamondbacks consider some moves even before the all-star break to shore up their pitching corps.
Roberto Alomar was seen as a steal when he signed over the off-season. Taking a substantial cut in pay, everyone looked for him to regain his all-star form and put up big numbers as the everyday second baseball. But when Alomar took a Ben Sheets pitch off the hand breaking a bone, all of the excitement surrounding this signing went out the window. Initially it was thought this injury would keep Alomar out of the line up for 4 weeks. After x-rays, it now seems like he might be out closer to 10 weeks. In the meantime, the Diamondbacks will use Matt Kata as their second baseman. All of a sudden, the Junior Spivey move is starting to be questioned. Spivey along with nearly half the 2003 team are having great years in Milwaukee. Only time will tell whether this was a good trade or one the Diamondbacks would just as soon forget.