You might think the off-season would be pretty quiet for Paul Goldschmidt.
After all, here’s a player coming off a monster season, finsihed second in the balloting for the National League MVP, won a Gold Glove , the Hank Aaron Award as the National League’s best hitter and won the adulation of his teammates and fans.
From one vantage, there is not much for Goldschmidt to improve but here’s where you get a strong argument.
From his viewpoint, Goldschmidt took one month off during the off-season and that was October.
Back at Salt River, the D-backs’ training facility, the hard-hitting first baseman was lifting weights, running and participating in baseball-related drills.
“Im out to improve every day,” Goldschmidt said recently during the off-season. “Last year was last year and you have to work hard to gain success every day.”
Despite hitting .302, banging out a league-tying 36 home runs and leading the NL with 125 RBIs, the numbers for Goldschmidt were not good enough. For success, he points out, there is only one variable.
“I need to be more consistent,” he said. “And, there needs to be better execution. Look, every year is different and you need to be a little smarter.”
In some ways, Goldschmidt could be challenged to produce equal numbers from a year ago. That’s because pitchers will likely pitch around him. Then, it will be up to Mark Trumbo, who likely hit behind Goldschmidt, as well as Miguel Montero and Martin Prado to come up with run-producing seasons.
While manager Kirk Gibson likes to change his everyday line-up, the D-backs lineup could start with A. J. Pollock, leading off in center field, Aaron Hill at second, Goldschmidt in his usual spot hitting third at first, Trumbo in left and then Prado and Montero. Gerardo Parra could seventh in right, either Chris Owings or Didi Gregorius at short and the starting pitcher.
When the season begins, Gibson should have a mind-set of a regular batting position for each player. That way, if teams pitch around Goldschmidt, the rest of the line-up is ready to pick him up.
There is no question Goldschmidt will attack the conclusion of the present off-season and up-coming spring training with the same purpose and verve which characterizes his personality. Should he improve on the stellar season of a year ago, he could very well pick up his teammates.
For the Diamondbacks to have a successful 2014 run, that should not happen.