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Interesting contrast in headlines...

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  1. Tribune: Diamondbacks remain inactive
  2. Republic: Pace slow so far for D-Backs
  3. MLB.com: Byrnes has productive first day

Hmmm...one of these things is not like the others! :-) Though in fairness to Steve Gilbert, the first sentence of his piece is "Disney World may be the happiest place on earth, but it certainly wasn't the busiest on Monday." So not sure where the headline comes from. Perhaps somebody went on the It's a Small World ride once too often - if you've ever been to any of the Disney parks with kids in tow, you'll know how that can warp your reality...

The first piece quotes D'backs officials as saying "there had been no contact" with the Angels. I can't see us swapping Tracy for Saunders - unless we're embarking on some Dr. Evil-esque plan to corner the baseball market in back of the rotation starters? In the diary, someone mentioned Ervin Santana as a target, and that's something which I would see as worth pursuing, though as I noted, I think it would take more than Tracy, especially after 2006, to prise Santana away from the Angels. We'd probably need to throw in a prospect there as well, but assuming it isn't one of the "untouchables", it would be worth it. He's young, he's good, and he'd be ours for some time to come.

The mlb.com reports also say we've been talking with the agent for Keith Foulke, but that appears to be kicking the tires politely more than any genuine interest. Valverde will begin the year, once again as our closer (place your bets as to when he'll require replacing, either through injury or failure!): the article says Pena and Julio are the backups. I think that is the first time I've seen Julio's presence acknowledged this off-season, apart from sentences with the word "trade" in them. I still would be surprised to see him in an AZ shirt on Opening Day.

We are, however, apparently looking just for pitchers. The Republic piece quotes Josh Byrnes thus: "We're not really out really looking for position players. It's fair to say virtually all of our targets are pitchers." There's also an interesting addition though: "With three major-innings guys, we are kicking around having 14 position players." That would mean eleven pitchers, and only six in the bullpen, making the competition for spots there even harder. On the other hand, it would add an additional bench spot. I'm not sure about this: it's not as if the last man on the roster last year (that'd be Andy 'Sayonara' Green) was heavily used, so adding an additional one seems a little pointless. Unless they're perhaps looking at doing much more platooning of positions this year?

The Tribune says Gonzalez could sign for his new team this week. Luis "appears to have emerged as a top candidate to play left field for the Dodgers" - well, only if they can't work out something with the Red Sox for Manny Ramirez, that is. Please, make it so. Baltimore is also apparently interested, as noted previously, and "Gonzalez said Saturday that a one-year deal could be acceptable." That's a bit of a change of tune, but in this market, it could be a horrendously-overpaid year in Baltimore ($8m?) is his best bet. I also note that Mark Mulder had a "gentleman's agreement" not to accept St. Louis' offer of arbitration. Shame we couldn't have worked out something similar for Type-A free agent Gonzalez.