A whirlwind month of transactions continued in the last week, with Chris Owings hitting the DL with his shoulder injury, a brief cameo by Zeke Spruill, and the return of Nick Evans. But to put Nick Ahmed on the 40-man (and 25-man) to replace Owings, Eric Chavez was transferred to the 60-day DL. Is that the end of the Eric Chavez era in Arizona?
Chavez was put on the 15-day DL on June 9, so the 60-day clock starts from then, not from June 29. But it will take Chavez through the non-waiver trade deadline. It’s not that the team would have gotten any kind of real return for Chavez; but considering the significant number of teams interested in him last offseason, I would have thought he could have caught on with someone in a bench role. That’s still a possibility in August.
The theme from around the internets this week is that at least the D-backs realize they’re a seller now. More on that later this week, as our Jeff Wiser has already laid out the options the team has in terms of handling the trade deadline. But if the rest of the season is largely about the team putting itself in a position to get lucky — and that’s what it looks like — then moving Chavez out of the way makes a lot of sense, and getting a look at Nick Ahmed while the opportunity has arisen is an excellent move.
Didi Gregorius is actually in a similar posture to Ahmed, and chances are he’ll get most of the starts in the absence of both Cliff Pennington and Chris Owings. But we and the major league coaching staff will get to see what Ahmed can do in the field, and we’ll at least get a look at his approach at the plate. And take notes; with Hill a decent trade candidate, Pennington departing and the D-backs not necessarily likely to get a sufficient return on Owings or Gregorius, next year’s middle infield might be a mix of Owings, Gregorius and Ahmed the way April’s was a mix of Owings, Hill and Pennington.
- Some good intel from Nick Piecoro last week: the D-backs have already met to discuss who they think they might move. Hey, we wish we were in the room, too. But I think we get the general idea, and the scouts Piecoro talked to seemed to be on the same page. By the way, not a huge surprise that there are [n]ot a lot of pieces to move,” as one of the scouts put it. If there were, the team might not be in sell mode in the first place…
- Also from Piecoro in the last week, a piece on the arrival of Matt Stites. We love young bullpens, largely because of the flexibility factor (RPs don’t do side work in the majors). But I also like how Piecoro put the team’s posture: “their season long since lost, [the D-backs] are in fact-finding mode.” Yes — that’s it exactly. As it should be.
- At Snake Pit, James Attwood published a magnum opus on the D-backs’ acquisition of Addison Reed, including the moves that precipitated it. Attwood is right, Reed isn’t exactly setting the world on fire. I think he was more or less what he was expected to be based on peripherals, which is not to say that’s what the front office was basing its decision on. At the time, we thought the move was reasonable but not great, and Attwood is absolutely right: it can’t really be looked at in isolation, since the fact that Matt Davidson had nowhere to play was a result of deliberate FO machinations. It’s a shame that he’s the closer, really, especially in this lost year — he’ll be affordable in 2015, but should almost definitely get non-tendered before 2017, and 2016 is only a strong bet because it’d be for one year. The Reed trade is probably neither a black eye nor a feather in the cap for Towers, even allowing for the fact that Davidson has mostly struggled this year.
- Someone with access to the Houston Astros’ internal info-sharing database shared notes on a whole bunch of trade discussions from last summer and the offseason. I loved reading these notes because I really want to understand how this world works, but I still felt pretty sheepish about reading them. It’s a shame, really. No D-backs notes at all, though, and considering the D-backs were in “add” mode this last offseason, that’s a little surprising. Also of note: when the Astros went to the Mets, it was Paul DePodesta that they were dealing with. I’m not sure it’s well known that DePo has been acting as kind of an AGM+. One wonders if his path to being a GM is a Sandy Alderson retirement, and not an opening with another team.
- There’s been a lot out there this year on Tommy John surgeries, but go straight to the source: Jeff Zimmerman, publishing at The Hardball Times. This was already all the rage at the SABR Analytics Conference in Phoenix in March, and someone noted that there was a pretty big spike of Tommy Johns in 2012, as well. It’s possible that 2013 was low, rather than 2014 being high.
- At Beyond the Box Score, Scott Lindholm continued a position-by-position series by analyzing the most valuable first basemen. Guess who is the most valuable… In the analysis, Paul Goldschmidt was flat out worth the most in the first place (even more than Miguel Cabrera), not accounting for his salary. Only Anthony Rizzo could touch Goldy in terms of production and salary.
- At ESPN Insider, Jim Bowden broke down 15 pitchers he thought might get moved, and 21 position players. I’ll not ruin the whole subscription/paywall thing, but suffice it to say that Bowden handicaps the chances of Brad Ziegler and Oliver Perez trades at 50% or higher. But Tony Sipp is also on the list at 50%, so, you know. Take that with a grain of salt. Bowden also sees Aaron Hill and Gerardo Parra as possibilities. I don’t really agree with the percentages, but the personnel is about right. We’ll have more on that soon, of course.
- At Baseball Prospectus, R.J. Anderson did an excellent trade deadline preview. It’s also paywall protected (subscription recommended), but the D-backs were included in the analysis as one of four sellers. The D-backs don’t have a whole lot to sell, but the fact that it’s a seller’s market should help.
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