Diamondbacks Spring Training Round-Up: McCarthy Keeps His Head

Rich Pilling

Sorry. Couldn't resist that one. But it does seem that Brandon McCarthy might have been the coolest person at Salt River Fields yesterday, as he played competitive baseball for the first time in a while. Here are some quotes on that, reports of Upton trades that didn't happen, and a tale of a stolen sausage.

Post-game quotes

  • "I'm glad this is out of the way. I felt good. My command, for my first spring outing, was really a plus. My rhythm was good. The game pace was good. It's a good place to build on."
    -- Brandon McCarthy
  • "Command-wise for a first spring outing I'd be really pleased with that. I'd be pleased with that command-wise in any outing almost. All the things I'd like to have even later in the spring, I felt were good today so it's a good place to start building upon."
    --
    Brandon McCarthy
  • "I'm glad this one's out of the way so I don't have to hear about it anymore," McCarthy said. "I want it to be a footnote at best. That's just it. It's something that happened, remember when, something that was scarier for fans and my family than anyone else."
    -- Brandon McCarthy
  • "Everything was working. His fastball command was really good, his breaking ball was really good. Everything was really good."
    --
    Miguel Montero
  • "I was pretty nervous. I was kind of getting shaky. My girlfriends were trying to distract me and talk to me. I'm not a very nervous person in general when he pitches, but obviously this is a unique situation... When that one came back straight that went way into center I thought he was going to hit the deck, because I did."
    -- Brandon's wife, Amanda

Shields for Upton trade almost occurred

Last December, James Shields was traded from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Kansas City Royals, for four prospects. But, according to Ken Rosenthal, Shield nearly became a Diamondback instead:

"[KC GM Dayton] Moore didn’t know it at the time, but he nearly lost the deal that night... to the Arizona Diamondbacks. As Moore huddled with his advisers, three other GMs — the Rays’ Andrew Friedman, Diamondbacks’ Kevin Towers and Texas Rangers’ Jon Daniels — were deeply engaged in their own trade discussions. Those discussions, according to major league sources, centered around a three-team deal that would have sent Shields and [pitching prospect Wade] Davis to Arizona, outfielder Justin Upton to Texas and a package of prospects to the Rays."

It's not clear how or at who's demand the trade failed to be consummated - though the article notes that the following day, the Diamondbacks signed free-agent Brandon McCarthy, which may well have reduced their interest in Shields. Would that have been a better deal than what Arizona got for Upton in the end? Hard to say, not least because Shields remains a free-agent after 2014 [it's not clear how hard the Royals have tried to sign him to any extension]. Three years of Upton for two of Shields seems light - though Davis still has potential, even if his star has dropped since being ranked the #34 prospect in all baseball after the 2009 season.

Upton to Mets trade probably didn't almost occur

[H/T to Justin Hunter of MLB Daily Dish] The NY Daily News says that the Mets didn't think they had a realistic chance at Upton until after the vetoed Mariners trade led them to believe that the Diamondbacks "were running out of options." The Mets offer was centered around Daniel Murphy, "telling the D-Backs he could be the third baseman they were looking for." Shortstop prospect Ruben Tejada was another possibility, though that would have led the Mets to seek Didi Gregorius or Cliff Pennington as a replacement back, and "the Mets would have included one or more of lower-level pitching prospects."

How close this one came to fruition is less certain. Some on the New York side says Kevin Towers expressed "strong interest". However, the story also mentions that "A baseball executive from another club who knows Towers well says the D-Backs GM never got close to doing anything with the Mets." I'm leaning toward that view.

Around baseball

  • In Cactus League action, the Angels came back to claim a tie for the second consecutive day, after doing so against us yesterday. They were 7-2 down going into the seventh against the Giants, but scored two in the ninth off Sergio Romo to complete their comeback.
  • Well, this could get interesting. "A man who lost an eye after being hit by a foul ball at a baseball game can seek damages from a minor league team in Idaho. The Idaho Supreme Court decided not to impose the "Baseball Rule" of liability in the lawsuit brought by Bud Rountree, instead choosing to let a jury decide if watching baseball is an inherently dangerous activity done at the spectator's own risk."
  • The Cubs are ending the stunt of letting celebs sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame at Wrigley Field.
  • The Brewers were short a seven-foot racing sausage after it was stolen [Randall Simon is not a suspect]. Fortunately, there's a happy ending, with it being returned anonymously. "Two men - one wearing a hoodie pulled tight over his face - lugged the larger-than-life link into TJ Ryan's bar just before 8 p.m. Wednesday, plopped him on a bar stool and warned staff, "You did not see anything," said bartender Jen Mohney. "Like I didn't just see two guys plop a sausage on a bar stool," Mohney said."
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