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CBSSports.com Senior Writer

Diamondbacks: Likes and dislikes


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Time to address what I like and don't like about the Diamondbacks.

What I like

 The vibe. New general manager Kevin Towers is right. There's a different feel here this spring.

 The manager and his coaches. Where do you think that new vibe comes from? It's Kirk Gibson, and it's a star-studded coaching staff that includes Alan Trammell, Don Baylor and Matt Williams, among others. Give Towers some of the credit, too.

 The commitment to the fans. Too many new spring training complexes make it harder for fans to get close to players. The Diamondbacks made sure that theirs made it easier. It doesn't hurt that Gibson mandates that players take time every day to sign autographs.

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 The complex. Someone called new Salt River Fields "the Rolls Royce of complexes." After a couple of days at the new place, shared by the Diamondbacks and Rockies, I'm thinking that's an understatement. I've seen every spring training site. There's no question this is the best one yet.

 Two-way Owings. Micah Owings has always been a good-hitting pitcher. Micah Owings has always been a pitcher who could be a pinch hitter. But I love that the Diamondbacks are also having Owings take some ground balls at first base, with the idea that maybe he could be a legit two-way player.

What I don't like

 The bullpen. I probably shouldn't doubt Towers, who is a proven master at building bullpens out of nothing. But I'm not sure that adding J.J. Putz as the closer is going to do enough to change a 'pen that was historically bad last year.

 The slide. Gibson keeps saying that we need to stop talking about the past, "because when you think about the past all the time, when you get to the present day it becomes your future." Sorry, I can't stop thinking that this team that went to the NL Championship Series in 2007 sunk so quickly that the Diamondbacks lost 97 games last year.

 The strikeouts. Mark Reynolds is gone, and the Diamondbacks finally realized that setting strikeout records isn't the way to win (unless we're talking about Randy Johnson). But even though Reynolds was the biggest culprit, he wasn't the only one. These guys still fan way, way too often.


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