[Fox Sports] Notebook: Notion of interchangeable relievers doesn't add up - Ken Rosenthal discusses the notion of "closers". But more directly, "Tony La Russa, the DBacks' chief operating officer, says it is "probably unlikely" that the team will sign free-agent right-hander Mike Leake, who is willing to take significantly less to play at home in Phoenix, sources say. "It's gone back and forth," La Russa said. "Getting Shelby (Miller) gives us a (full) rotation. I think it's difficult because when somebody wants to pitch for you and you really like the person, you want to try and work it out. But it's complicated and probably unlikely." [H/T GuruB]
[Inside the 'Zona] Shelby Miller: Top of the Rotation Starter - Projections are great tools, and the good saber-slanted analyst would cringe at relying on ERA to target both pitchers. But that’s the crazy thing: the D-backs may be onto something here, something that gives us reason to think both Greinke and Miller can get closer to their 2015 results than projections tell us. Old school meeting newest school.
[Fake Teams] Arizona Diamondbacks Top 10 Fantasy Prospects - "The Diamondbacks are pushing their chips in toward making a playoff run, including trading prospects for established major leaguers. Who are their top 10 fantasy prospects?" Probably not QUITE as useful as it might have been before last week, since #1 and #2 are no longer with the organization, but still some interesting reading on names further down the list.
[Venom Strikes] Do the Arizona Diamondbacks Need to Add a Bullpen Arm? - While scanning over the various moves Arizona can make, they should just stand pat. Their bullpen is good enough to get them through the early part of the season, possibly up until the trading deadline. Should it become a weakness, management will have the ability to address it within the organization or outside of it on the trade market. For now, this is a championship-caliber team, bullpen included.
[NBC] How the Diamondbacks Wrecked the Trade Market - The trade market is set, and it's out of this world. For instance, reports out of the winter meetings had the Rangers being asked for Joey Gallo in just about every worthwhile discussion they had. The Rangers still want to make some upgrades through trade, but it's going to be difficult with the market so skewed by one bad deal. Thanks a lot, Arizona.
[Yahoo] Why the incredible Class of 2018 will change MLB as we know it - The free agent Class of 2018, as it stands, is a collection of players so good it seems impossible one market could absorb them all at once. Both MVPs from this season, Bryce Harper and Josh Donaldson, will hit free agency after the 2018 season. So can the greatest pitcher of this generation, Clayton Kershaw, along with the current American League Cy Young winner (Dallas Keuchel), two of the finest arms in the big leagues (Jose Fernandez and Matt Harvey) and the pitcher who just signed the biggest-money contract ever for a pitcher (David Price).
[Houston Chronicle] Astros include Appel to complete Giles trade - Oh, look at that. The Houston Astros just traded away the #1 overall pick of the 2013 draft, and as part of a big package for a RELIEF pitcher at that. Naturally, the nattering nabobs of the Internet exploded, mocking the Astros for such a tra... Wait, what? Is that crickets I'm hearing? But... But... I was reliably informed GMs who trade away #1 selections are stupid poopyheads! Shurely shome mishtake?
[WSJ] In Bentonville, Cricket Players Make Do With a Baseball Field - Across the U.S., small cricket leagues are in similar skirmishes, faced with the annoyance of playing cricket on a baseball field. "Lots of cricket is being played in baseball fields, in abandoned baseball fields and some soccer fields," says John Aaron, secretary of the American Cricket Federation, a 25 league organization created in 2012. He recommends turning any field into a cricket ground by buying a large coconut husk fiber cloth, known as a matting wicket, nailing it down into grass or dirt, establishing a firm pitch. "At the end of the game, yank it up with hammers," he says.
[The Players' Tribune] Play Hard and Dream Big - Michael Cuddyer retired. "I’ve made the decision to retire. With one year left on my contract, it is especially difficult to imagine not suiting up in a Mets uniform for one more year. As an athlete, retiring is the toughest decision you have to make and I don’t make it lightly. I’ve always run out every hit like it was my last. As an untested high school kid drafted with a dream, I’ve never taken a single moment in the Majors for granted. It goes against every grain in my body to consider a future without the game. But after 15 years, the toll on my body has finally caught up to me." Now, why couldn't Cody Ross have done that?
[Press Enterprise] BASEBALL: Pitcher Hanson died from cocaine, alcohol mix - Former major league pitcher Tommy Hanson died from delayed complications of alcohol and cocaine toxicity, according to autopsy results released Friday by Coweta County (Georgia) Coroner Richard Hawk. Hanson, 29, pitched four seasons with the Atlanta Braves and one with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He was found unresponsive in a friend’s Atlanta-area home Nov. 8 and died the following night in an area hospital from "catastrophic organ failure."
[Baseball Essential] Baseball doesn’t bore you, you bore baseball - Baseball is a game that desires to be understood. It slows itself it down to be so. But still, the consensus is that "it’s boring." Not only is this because you don’t understand, but it’s because you prefer not to understand. Football is easy to like because it features that barbaric simplicity that society has become infatuated with. Be it the popularity of The Walking Dead, the anticipation of the next Ronda Rousey fight, or just the simple inability to take your eyes off the casual bar fight across the table, you like to see others face issues. Because you don’t want to face your own.