So today Diamondbacks General Manager Dave Stewart said the following regarding James Shields and his chances of signing with the team:
"I think James is a throwback guy by the way he goes about his business and the innings he pitches," Stewart said. "I think the fact that Tony (La Russa) is here and that we have more baseball people – he probably sees us as a true baseball team vs. some of the other teams out here that are geared more toward analytics and those type of things"
Probably not the greatest quote, and that sound you heard was a bunch of smartass bloggers revving up the ol' "Grit Chainsaws" for another round (and by round, I mean eternal use of) of "LOLZ D'BACKS GRIT NERDZ LOLZ." etc.
Here's the thing: I'm not going to freak out about it. Sure, you can, that's your prerogative as a citizen of the world. Rend those garments and curse the heavens that you have been forsaken once again. Or you could be on the opposite end of the spectrum and are about to shoot fireworks off your apartment's balcony for this triumph over the Sabermetrics Illuminati That's also a thing you could do, so long as fireworks are legal in your city/state and are allowed by said Apartment Complex.
But, like I said, I'm just gonna shrug, and here in nice Buzzfeed list-esque fashion, here's why:
1. The Diamondbacks hired a Director of Analytics in November
Remember? The guy who used to be a vet? So it's not like the team is bereft of analysis or any of that stuff. They may not rely on it as heavily, but it's not like they're looking through the entrails of sheep to determine whether a player is good or not. So Dave Steward may be exaggerating here, which leads to my second point:
2. Dave Stewart lies
Remember "We're not trading Miguel Montero." "Wade Miley is our opening day starter." etc?
And really, maybe players DO respond to this kind of pitch. I can't say one way or another that they do, but Stewart was an agent in a previous life, so he'd have some idea of what players do or do not want from a team.
3. The team has had a fairly solid offseason, in my opinion.
Unlike Kevin Towers/Gritghazi, Stewart hasn't made too many ennui-inducing moves this offseason. The Hellickson trade was questionable, and the circumstances surrounding Miley's departure are a bit eyebrow-raising, but beyond that, there's been a gathering of young talent, some risky movies with high upside (The Cuban contingent of Tomas and Lopez), and some much-needed salary shedding. It may not be the best, but there's nothing in the neighborhood of Skaggs + Eaton for Trumbo in there.
So really, as long as the actual things done are in this vein, Dave Stewart can give quotes about David Icke's Lizard People conspiracy to the press for all I care.
4. I really don't care what fans of other teams think of the Diamondbacks
I can't really expand this idea beyond this. It's self-explanatory.
5. I don't think the D'Backs are signing Shields anyway
I submit this from Ken Rosenthal
It's been speculated that the team in question could be the Rockies or Marlins. I find it hard to believe that if Shields doesn't want to play for either of those teams that the Diamondbacks would be a healthy alternative for less money.
Of course, I didn't think that the Diamondbacks would sign Tomas or Lopez either, so what the hell do I know?
So Dave Stewart said a thing, but it's probably not worth getting riled up over. Sure, other people will make jokes, but it's easy to ignore them and their constant hack jokes about the Diamondbacks. Instead, pay attention to the constant hack jokes coming from writers who are fans of the Diamondbacks. Totally different.