I don’t usually like to talk about things we can’t measure. With that said, I have some major bones to pick with the Diamondbacks franchise, specifically the front office and its inability to keep things under wraps. Let me explain.

There seems to be a total lack of secrecy when it comes to Kevin Towers and company. While Arizona is hardly a large market full of media coverage, the front office seems to have no trouble finding outlets for their comments. I can understand how things get leaked in places like New York given the media frenzy ready to feast upon the Yankees, Mets and other sports teams. In Phoenix, however, the media doesn’t have to attack the Diamondbacks’ brass to get memorable and damaging quotes. In fact, just hang around long enough and one’s sure to hear things that should probably be kept under wraps.

For example, back when Justin Upton was still a Diamondback, there were plenty of leaks that things weren’t going well between him, the front office, his manager and/or his teammates. Although most athletes and coaches would say that these things are best handled in-house, Ken Kendrick, the team’s Vice President, decided to take to the airwaves to voice his frustrations. Essentially, he called out Upton for not performing, although he was injured, and added a little bonus piece suggesting that Stephen Drew was milking his injury to avoid having to play.

At this point, it was clear that Upton’s tenure in Arizona was going to be short-lived. The team made an attempt to deal him before the trade deadline, then waited until the offseason to make their move. Kevin Towers was explicit in his comments that Justin would be traded to the highest bidder and although the Mariners made a hell of an offer, they team decided to flip Upton and Chris Johnson for Martin Prado, Randal Delgado and some prospects.

Similarly, the organization had a nearly-immediate change of heart with their 2011 first-round draft pick, Trevor Bauer. The kid was supposed to lead a resurgence of the Arizona pitching staff but quickly fell out of favor with the Diamondbacks for reportedly being difficult to work with. Bauer’s unique and unorthodox delivery and pre-game routines were well-known prior to the draft, so it’s unclear why the organization ended up having such a problem with them once he got to pro baseball. It was relatively common knowledge that the team was dissatisfied with the former third overall pick prior to dealing him to Cincinnati as part of a three-team deal with the Indians. Everyone knew that the team was trying to move him before Towers eventually worked out the deal in December of 2012, roughly 18 months after drafting Bauer.

Earlier this month, Towers was interviewed and shed some light on his offseason plans. In short, he’s searching for a power bat to slot in one of the outfield corners. He wasn’t vague about this, in fact you can read about it yourself. Towers isn’t looking to sign a free agent as he prefers to trade for this missing piece and he even goes on to suggest that he would include one of his center fielders, presumably Pollock or Eaton, to make this deal work. The guy couldn’t be any more specific without naming the actual player he wants to trade for if he tried.

The front office seems to have a way of airing its dirty laundry in public, at least when it comes to personnel decisions, and high-profile ones specifically. It’s all very entertaining, but I have one concern: how much impact do these comments have on the Diamondbacks’ ability to make quality transactions?

I wish I could measure this effect, but that’s impossible given the data available. It makes sense, though, that by making these comments, the Diamondbacks’ front office may be limiting its potential return. If other teams know that you want to trade a commodity and are desperate to do so, they will likely be less inclined to make the strongest offer possible to complete the deal. For example, as the winter wore on, everyone knew that Arizona was desperate to move Upton and although the team had multiple deals to choose from, perhaps they could have gotten more by working in a more covert way and fabricating a more potent market for Upton’s services. The same could be said for Bauer; when teams knew that the Diamondbacks were desperate to move him, they understood that they wouldn’t have to put together any kind of crazy package to acquire him. In essence, they’ve limited their own bargaining power by making these comments.

When Towers spoke earlier this month about acquiring an corner outfield power bat, he essentially let the other 29 teams know what he’s after and part of what he’s willing to give up to make this acquisition. There’s no longer any element of surprise and teams can now take the initiative to start game-planning for a potential deal with Arizona. Towers isn’t going to be able to sneak up on anyone and pull off a great deal since the rest of the league was given a nice head start on his desires. Oh, and now AJ Pollock and Adam Eaton know that the organization is considering trading them, which I’m sure doesn’t exactly sit well with these guys.

I simply don’t understand the reason for making these comments. There’s no way they can be helpful for the organization. The front office can make phone calls to other franchises and their executives behind closed doors to achieve the same effect without the detriments of telling everyone at once, including your players and fans.

Hopefully the front office will learn to handle it’s business like professionals. They need to keep these things under wraps from the public and take care of them in-house. By doing this, they’ll look more like a functional front office and they’ll increase their bargaining power, even if only by a little.

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12 Responses to The Diamondbacks Should Quit Talking

  1. Hunter Fitch says:

    “although the Mariners made a hell of an offer, they team decided to flip Upton and Chris Johnson for Martin Prado, Randal Delgado and some prospects.”

    Get your facts straight. Upton used his no-trade to veto this deal.

    • Jeff Wiser says:

      Thanks for the reminder about clarity. I left out the veto portion for brevity’s sake but I could have been more clear.

      • SouthPawRyno says:

        Brevity-concise and exact use of words in writing or speech.

        Confirmation Bias- to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses.

        It was simply a false evidence stated in order to try to assert your claim. “they team decided” and Upton using his no-trade protection are not the synonymous nor is it concise.

        I’m not saying I disagree with your opposition to the management of the front office, but you can’t be stating misinformation in hopes for your audience to agree with you more.

  2. Hunter Fitch says:

    “Similarly, the organization had a nearly-immediate change of heart with their 2011 first-round draft pick, Trevor Bauer.”

    The DBacks could have dealt with Bauer’s antics if he was in any way effective… they made a good trade to get rid of a guy with decreased velocity and a bad attitude.

    • Jeff Wiser says:

      I’d say it’s a little early to deem the book closed on Bauer and that he’ll never be effective. Getting rid of him had way more to do with his antics than performance. There are a ton of prospects, even highly-touted ones, that struggle during their first full year of pro baseball.

  3. Hunter Fitch says:

    ” perhaps they could have gotten more by working in a more covert way and fabricating a more potent market for Upton’s services”

    This isn’t how MLB deals are done. The more teams believe that other teams are in on a player they want, they are inclined to up their offer. You have to wag the dog.

    • Jeff Wiser says:

      It’s easier to ‘wag the dog’ when you don’t lay all of your cards on the table to begin with. By keeping teams in the dark, the Dbacks may (or may not) be able to create an atmosphere where other teams inclined to up their offer. All told, I’m still failing to see how exposing the team’s desires and interests even before the season ends is an asset.

  4. Courtaud says:

    That Eaton/Pollock for a corner outfielder trade would be the dumbest thing ever unless the Dbacks were getting a ton of value back. An outfield for next year of Eaton in left, Pollock in center and Parra in right would be defensively spectacular and wouldn’t give away that much at the plate. Plus the Dbacks are the perfect team to run out some below-average power options in the corners because they can get that power back at second base and catcher (if Montero rebounds). I’m ticked not only that Towers is putting all his cards out there, but also that he’s doing it while promoting such a stupid move.

  5. […] even speaks to the press about these things is beyond me. I’ve already taken issue with his comments on offseason moves and now he’s talking about beaning more batters. This is all a lot of unproductive jabbering […]

  6. […] to the world helps potential trade partners come to you, I don’t know. It may be that Towers has undercut his position in the past by speaking publicly, and as Jeff Wiser has eloquently argued, airing one’s dirty laundry is not a very good […]

  7. […] declared Mark Trumbo the team’s every day right fielder in 2015. Aside from the fact that I disagree with the organization making bold public statements about players, especially this early in the offseason, I also disagree with Trumbo lining up in right 150 times […]

  8. […] (RPM): As Jeff targeted in 2013, former GM Kevin Towers didn’t do the team many favors by talking so frequently about […]

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