For a slow news week in Diamondbacks land (thanks for that, Super Bowl), we sure had a hell of a lot to stuff into our most recent episode of The Pool Shot. We had a fantastic conversation, and I think Episode 13 is a great example of why we’re podcasting in the first place.
The first major topic we tackled was the rumored Nathan Eovaldi offer that the D-backs had in hand for Wade Miley (around 18:00). Tons of ways to look at that, and I think Jeff and I teased out some extra meaning, too — about how the D-backs front office is conceptualizing trades, what their process appears to be like, and what to expect from all of those pitchers (including Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa, the team’s actual return on Miley). How would you rank all four for 2015? How about for 2016?
Next up was top prospects lists, as ESPN’s Keith Law published his Top 100 and his Top 10 for the D-backs last week. Law made some unusual choices, and Jeff led a discussion on the podcast about those choices with the help of a master list of rankings from all outlets (around 39:00). Jeff will be back to this topic this week.
We also discussed the upcoming arbitration situations of Mark Trumbo and Addison Reed (55:30). There are a number of ways to look at the Trumbo situation, and a number of valid arguments. When we turned to Reed, though, I think it became increasingly clear: there are about a half-dozen very compelling reasons why the D-backs must go to arbitration with Reed. I wrote this out a little over a week ago, but I thought we had a great discussion on the pod.
That wasn’t all — we also got to talk about the Rob Manfred comments about possibly eliminating the shift, and a bunch of other D-backs tidbits. Please check it out!
- At Fox Sports Arizona, Jack Magruder breaks down the D-backs’ financial situation, noting that they’re currently sitting on a payroll of about $91M for next year. GM Dave Stewart had pegged it over $100M after the Yoan Lopez signing, but as I explored soon thereafter, what is necessarily considered “payroll” is whatever the D-backs want to call it (other than for luxury tax purposes, of course). My math worked out similarly to Magruder’s, except that, as usual, I included a few extra inevitable major league minimum salaries. Anyway, Magruder makes a great case about what money buys in today’s game, and how the team is left with very few bad contracts — just Trevor Cahill, Cody Ross, and Aaron Hill. Maybe the biggest note from the story is that Hill apparently played much of last season with a sore wrist. That would make a huge difference. Having a healthy wrist for this season could also make a huge difference. If Hill goes back to being a real asset at the plate, suddenly the offense starts to look fairly deep.
- Catcher is still the big exception to that, and at FanGraphs, Mike Petriello dove into that strange situation. The depth chart as Petriello presents it is… not inspiring. In the end, he labels the team’s catching situation as “terrifying.” Jeff wrote last week about this situation (second header from the end), and yes, the biggest curiosity, as both note, is how highly the D-backs appear to think of Peter O’Brien. A ton of great information in the Petriello piece, so please go check it out. Some info in there about how Jeremy Hellickson might translate, etc.
- Joe Carter has been named a special assistant to Stewart. Yes, the D-backs have a lot of special assistants, but most work for Derrick Hall. Can’t hurt, right? True baseball hire.
- Among the responses to Rob Manfred’s offense-boosting goals are some calls for the DH to be installed in both leagues. That would be… very interesting for the D-backs, I think. But I’ll go to bat for my hybrid rules proposal: link the DH to the starting pitcher, and have it that once the starting pitcher is pulled, the DH rules end. I think it’s all the best things about AL and NL baseball rolled into one.
- In this video, Steve Berthiaume and Bob Brenly talk about how new manager Chip Hale has a ton of energy, and how contagious that is. I still like the Hale hire a lot, and by all accounts he’s going to be good for the team. I love how he saw how the Athletics were able to succeed with platoons, shifting, and a bunch of other things that the manager can control. It’s interesting, though, how easy it is to make one guy out as the opposite of his predecessor, at least in some ways. Something to keep in mind when we look at openings in the future: the person making the decision might be particularly attuned to what the previous guy wasn’t.
- At Venom Strikes, Chris Jackson really likes Paul Goldschmidt, and thinks you should, too. I’m not sure I’m on board with Jackson’s 2015 predictions for Goldy, but there’s no question that the guy is a monster.
- Check out Jeff Summers’s take on the D-backs offseason — and don’t miss his open email reply to Commissioner Rob Manfred.
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