With the World Series behind us and the impending deadline for players to accept qualifying offers, the offseason is officially underway. Jeff and I have been hard at work on an offseason plan for the Diamondbacks, complete with recommendations for trades, signings and roster construction. Check back next week for the full plan.
Do you have an idea for a trade match or an axe to grind with the roster? Drop us a note through the comments section here, and we’ll make sure we include it in our analysis. We’ve written background pieces for the offseason plan, including a top prospects list (1-10, 11-20, 21-30) and roster breakdowns (outfield, infield, rotation, bullpen). Last week, we added a breakdown of the D-backs payroll. As always, we welcome differences of opinion.
Here are some others’ opinions:
- Don’t miss Steve Gilbert’s interview with Ken Kendrick. Kendrick’s comments on payroll mirror that of Towers: $100M is very possible, as Kendrick is not against “spending that kind of money if we found the right players to help the team do better.” Of course, I concluded last week that the club would have to spend about that amount just to keep together the current roster. I also found it interesting that Kendrick came right out and said he was disappointed in the 2013 season. It’s nice to know that they’re aiming higher.
- In his latest notebook, Nick Piecoro polled six scouts and executives on a couple of pressing Diamondbacks questions. Great to get some insight on how the league views Arizona’s shortstop and center field tandems. Both controversies had votes in either direction, but both were landslides. Also in the notebook, Piecoro notes that Towers is looking to be “more aggressive” in trying to retain Eric Chavez than Willie Bloomquist. I think we all know Bloomquist is gone — that point seemed crystal clear when it was Prado filling in at second base in September. Even if Chris Owings or Didi Gregorius gets traded, Cliff Pennington is under contract for 2014. Chavez is a harder question. I think the Chavez fit was perfect for 2013, even if he spent time on the DL; Martin Prado is such a big part of roster construction for Arizona, and so having the two players essentially split 3B duties (with Prado getting the rest of his starts at 2B and LF) worked beautifully. I have no idea if Matt Davidson will be with the organization in March, but if he is, it’s really hard to see Chavez as a fit. Tuiasosopo becomes the backup first baseman, and the roster crunch in LF means that Prado will probably still start at 3B at least once or twice a week. In my opinion, chances are good that another team will value Chavez more than the D-backs.
- Jim McLennan at Snake Pit took a look at the payroll, with some cool graphics. My thoughts are in my post last week. Jim also took a look at the case for bringing Wil Nieves back; my thoughts are here.
- Jim also covered the wins by Gerardo Parra and the D-backs for Wilson Defensive Player/Team of the Year. He also had great coverage of the SABR Defensive Index used as a component (25%) of the Gold Glove determinations. I didn’t realize that Patrick Corbin was so good a fielder.
- Tyler Roberts of Venom Strikes posted a 2014 D-backs Wish List. Really, some good thoughts here. I’d respectfully disagree on Daniel Hudson (he’s likely to be a late-season bullpen contributor, if anything) and while I agree that the team would be best off declaring Heath Bell a sunk loss, J.J. Putz was fantastic since bringing back his slider, and I’m cautiously optimistic that Brad Ziegler can repeat his performance and that David Hernandez can get back to form (particularly since he seemed to have it back in September). As noted above, the offseason plan that Jeff and I are working on will be highly comprehensive.
- Thomas Lynch, also of Venom Strikes, posted position reviews in LF and in RF. I agree with the assessment of RF; Parra deserves the lion’s share of time out there, even against lefties, and it’s possible that A.J. Pollock or Adam Eaton will have to learn to back up there if Cody Ross is not ready to go when the team breaks camp. As to LF, Lynch is right; a huge chunk of teams lack stability there. This is by design. You can put almost anyone in left field, so teams routinely fill that position last — RF requires a strong throwing arm, while CF requires more range. On a team with a huge number of time shares and a lot of roster flexibility, LF is destined to be the catchall position. We’ll see Martin Prado there a lot if Davidson plays, with Eaton likely to be the #2 guy in terms of playing time. As with many roster questions this offseason, Cody Ross is a real monkey wrench.
- Joe Lucia thinks the D-backs are pretty set for 2014.
- I don’t think of myself as a homer for the D-backs, but I’m still amazed by the media backlash against Arizona in the whole Dodgers rivalry thing and the pool fiasco. I think the club’s response has been measured, stoked only because it’s a good business decision to do so. I doubt any other club would react much differently. I don’t get it, and it’s a little insulting to be cast as inferior and petulant. The main problem is that complaining about it seems… petulant. Anyway, here’s Craig Calcaterra piling on again.
- Lastly, take a look at this St. Louis Dispatch article on probably the most-advertised need in baseball: the Cardinals’ search for a shortstop. Good to see Owings and Gregorius finally mentioned as possible targets. I’ve been on that since suggesting a trade around Owings for Carlos Martinez before the trade deadline (skip to the end).
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