I remain gob-smacked - there's a good British term for you - at the ability of some of my fellow SportsBloggers to write vast screeds about not much at all. I mean, there are certain teams for whom every day seems to bring a new twist (Marlins, Mets, Blue Jays) and I can see how blogging for them would be as easy as turning to the sports section and seeing what's popped up, then discussing it.
Here in the NL West - with the exception of the Padres - it'd take a team of Seinfeld writers, masters of their domain, that of writing about nothing, to blog on a daily basis. A tip of the Snakepit hat, therefore, to Grant of McCovey Chronicles, who has been a tireless fount of wisdom, even though the Giants have made about as many exciting moves as Arizona. Which would be none at all. At time of writing, his most recent piece is about the Joy of Choi: sure he'd be the first to admit it's idle speculation, but I just wish I could yank this kind of stuff out of thin air like Grant.
Perhaps it's a British thing. The TV talk show and talk radio are both, largely, American concepts - when transplanted across the Atlantic, they have a different flavour entirely I recall Jerry Springer's attempt at British shows from a few years back, which failed miserably because everyone was simply so damn polite: "Excuse me: if you don't mind, I'd really appreciate it if you stopped sleeping with my husband. Thank you very much." Even talk radio is actually a venue for the exchange of opinions, rather than a place where the loud-mouthed speak to the close-minded [And Air America is every bit as bad there as Limbaugh and Hannity, I should point out.]
Even if it's only been a month since the end of the season, I'm beginning to get a little twitchy at the dead air coming from the D'backs front office. The Padres have acquired Mike Cameron, Vinny Castilla and Geoff Blum, plus most importantly of all, re-signed Brian Giles. The division leaders have already improved: as noted by Otacon, we have apparently contacted Brad Ausmus. The problem I have with Ausmus is that he's primarily a defensive catcher, and that wasn't an area in which we had problems last year. Snyder did very well behind the plate, especially given his young age (24). It was with the bat he had a problem, and I suspect Ausmus overachieved in that department. I'd pass.
Otherwise deals are being dealt, free agents are getting signed, and it feels disturbingly like we'll be left to dance with the ugly chick on Prom Night. [Again, Prom Night is not something Britain does, along with graduating high-school or taking sports there really seriously. But 90% of what I know about American educational establishments, I learned from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the trials and tribulations of my stepdaughter. Buffy is probably the more accurate source.]
All we have solidly to show for the close-season to date, is an inconsistent stud pitcher who wants out - and now the Yankees also appear to be on his shizzle-list: "I don't like the way they dealt with me," said Vazquez in San Juan. No big: I don't think the Yankees have anyone left we'd want, and appear to be trying to rebuild the 2000 Diamondbacks, with Kelly Stinnett joining Randy Johnson and Tony Womack on their books. Hey, George: I believe Armando Reynoso is available!
The Mets and Nats appear to be the leading contenders at the moment for Javy's services. A trade involving Kris Benson was mooted with New York, but it looks more likely that he'll be going to Baltimore in exchange for Jorge Julio. The Mets are still possible partners, though top prospects like Lastings Milledge and Aaron Heilman are supposedly not available. However, if they want Manny Ramirez, a three-way deal with them, possibly involving the Angels, might somehow be possible, and who knows what might be required to get that done. More on the Nats offer below.
Vazquez blocking the Yanks is a good example of the "anti-news", which is about all we've heard: things that won't be happening, such as Tim Worrell resigning. He instead is returning to the Giants on a $4m, two-year deal. The good news is, this effectively means we traded Kata for the Giants second-round draft pick plus a supplemental at the end of the first round. This may change somewhat depending on what other free-agents are signed, but I think we'd take that, any day which ends in a Y: Kata was only a ninth-round choice, after all.
Another category of news is "sloppy seconds". The Angels didn't get Konerko? Okay, so now they might want Troy Glaus instead, who according to USA Today is on the block because of his "lazy work habits." That isn't the first time I've heard such things, but it's hardly the kind of rumour you're going to spread if you genuinely want to deal a player.
Finally, there are the "rumours" - more or less unsubstantiated, such as the suggestions of Zito from the A's for Conor Jackson, which I've heard from more than one corner. They would seem disturbingly plausible, at least if Joe Jr. was still in charge - with Byrnes at the helm, I'm less pessimistic. Over at Baseball America, we have three of Jim Callis's top eight 2006 long-term prospects, in Drew, Jackson and Quentin - Nippert also makes the top 20. [If the previous link doesn't go direct to the spot, it's close to the bottom of the page] It'd be nice if they had their impact here in Arizona...
Other rumours say if the Cubs don't get Furcal, they'll be talking to Arizona about Cintron or Green. Meanwhile Ivan Rodriguez could be traded to the Diamondbacks from the Tigers in a deal for Vazquez, and the Nationals are pushing Brad Wilkerson for Vazquez, which would fill the hole in center-field. Either deal would, however, leave a gaping chasm in our rotation that would make the Grand Canyon seem like a crack in the sidewalk. If that happens, the odds of Quentin or (IMHO, more probably) Jackson getting traded for pitching shoot up.
So far, there's been much more significant movement on the managerial side: the most welcome change is the promotion of Mike Rizzo to VP of Scouting Operations. He's overseen some excellent drafts, and is well-regarded by most fans. It was initially thought he would be a GM candidate, but he didn't make the short-list - however, this will likely keep him happy, for a few years at least.