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Plenty Of Questions Remain 'On' Field For Diamondbacks

While stadium issues have dominated the D-Backs offseason “off” the playing field, there remain plenty of questions “on” the field that need to be answered.

Arizona begins the 2017 regular season Sunday when they host the division rival San Francisco Giants at Chase Field, and they’ll be trying to get over a disastrous 2016 when expectations fell well short and the team just barely missed finishing in last place.

In the middle of the stadium distraction during a season they were projected to compete for a playoff spot, the Diamondbacks struck out on the field, struggling through injuries and underwhelming production on their way to a 69 and 93 record, 22 games behind the division winning Dodgers.

Worst of all, they saved their worst for the home fans, finishing with a 33-48 record, third worst in the major leagues.

Pitcher Shelby Miller epitomized those struggles. After giving up two top prospects and a starting outfielder to get him from the Braves, they were hoping he and the newly signed Zack Grienke would make a potent one-two starting combination.

But Miller was a huge disappointment, going 3 and 12 with an earned run average above 6. He told me he’s trying to put 2016 in the rear view and bring joy back to the downtrodden home fans.

The Diamondbacks won’t look too much different on the field, but they will in the front office and in the dugout. As a result of the underwhelming season, General Manager Dave Stewart was fired and chief baseball officer Tony LaRussa was demoted. Manager Chip Hale was also let go.

There is now a huge Red Sox influence on the D-Backs as the tea, hired Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen to run the front office and Boston bench coach Torey Lovullo to take over as skipper. 

On the bright side, the Diamondbacks have a bunch of young bats. Coming off a breakthrough season in 2015, center fielder AJ Pollock suffered a groin injury in spring training and missed all of 2016--he’s back and healthy this year.

Jake Lamb made up for some of that lost production with a great first half and 29 home runs, but he knows he needs to do more.

The Diamondbacks begin the regular season Sunday hosting the division rival San Francisco Giants.

Perhaps most exciting for the home fans though, a new selection of menu items, and I know you have your favorites:

Bacon-wrapped Pretzel Baguette: 12-inch, bacon-wrapped pretzel baguette stuffed with black forest ham and Swiss cheese and served with honey mustard and roasted jalapeño ranch.
Location: Taste of Chase (Section 130)
Churro Dog 2.0: White iced long john donut, churro rolled in Oreo crumbs, frozen yogurt, whipped cream and topped with strawberry topping, chocolate sauce and Oreo cookie crumbs
Location: Designated Dessert portables
Funnel Cake Chicken Sandwich: Crispy chicken fillet, garlic black pepper Cheddar, house strawberry jam, powdered sugar and maple syrup, served on two funnel cakes
Location: Taste of Chase (Section 130)
Sonoran Vegan Burger: Vegan burger, vegan pepper jack, soy chorizo, chipotle veganaise, cowboy caviar and guacamole on a wheat bun
Location: Red Hot (Section 139)

Phil Latzman is an award-winning digital journalist and broadcast professional with over 25 years of experience covering news and sports on a multitude of platforms.