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Seeing ourselves as others see us...

Tim Marchman writes about the Diamondbacks in the New York Sun:

One of the more interesting happenings in the complete collapse of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the wake of the revelation of pitcher Jason Grimsley's cooperation with federal investigations into the baseball's drug culture. Among the embarrassing consequences were their complete disintegration on the field (a month ago they were nine games over .500, now they're two games under) and a feud between management and star outfielder Luis Gonzalez over rumors that the outfielder was fueled by steroids when he hit 57 home runs in 2001.

As soon as next year, though, this may be seen as one of the best things that ever happened to the team. Diamondbacks culture has always been to keep veteran players around out of loyalty,regardless of their performance on the field. New general manger Josh Byrnes, formerly a top executive with the Red Sox, was faced at the beginning of the year with the dilemma of how to work around that culture to create spots for the team's stellar crop of star prospects without alienating himself from the organization, fans, and press corps the way Paul DePodesta did in Los Angeles. There is a perspective from which a pennant this season could be seen, in fact, as not in the long-term interests of the club.

Now, though, Byrnes's approach seems to have more currency. The Diamondbacks set a record by eating $22 million worth of salary when they released pitcher Russ Ortiz, an ill-advised signing of the previous regime. There is almost no chance Gonzalez will have his $13 million option picked up. And the collapse will create pressure to play for the future by creating spots for prospects like Chris Young. Good teams turn failure into advantage; in a weak division, the last three months of this season could see the foundations of a powerhouse being laid in the desert. Or not -- it's still early to tell.