Arizona Diamondbacks' best and worst-case scenarios for 2024

Corbin Carroll during photo day at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on Feb. 21, 2024 in
Corbin Carroll during photo day at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on Feb. 21, 2024 in / Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY
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Worst-Case Scenario for Arizona Diamondbacks

You can summarize Arizona’s worst-case scenario for 2024 in two items. They are:

1. The Los Angeles Dodgers are in the same division. Enough said for that one.

2. Starting pitching. I like Zac Gallen, too. He was 17-9 with a 3.47 ERA last season, and entering his age-27 season, there’s no plausible reason to expect much of anything short of excellence from him. Beyond Gallen, though, concerns loom.

Merrill Kelly is coming off the best year of his career with, a 12-8 record and 3.29 ERA in 30 starts covering 178 innings. But Kelly will be 35 in 2024, and that’s an age when pitchers frequently show some decline. If Kelly is any measure less the pitcher in 2024 than he was in 2023, there’s trouble.

That trouble is doubled if the supporting arms the D-Backs are counting on don’t develop to their and the team’s fondest hopes. Brandon Pfaadt, the projected No. 4 starter, looked good in the post-season. But Pfaadt was 3-9 with a 5.72 ERA over 18 regular season starts. How much are you willing to lean on a good October?

The D-Backs are betting $105 million over five seasons that Eduardo Rodriguez will pitch like he did for Detroit in 2023, when he went 13-9 with 3.30 ERA in 26 starts. But that was the best season of Rodriguez’ life; he’s in his 30s now, with zero seasons of more than 160 innings since 2019. If Rodriguez merely reverts to form, his ERA will climb three-quarters of a point. That would not be good.