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Snake Bytes, 1/2: Happy New Year

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The Diamondbacks remain undefeated in 2016, and I've got a feeling that's a streak which will continue for a while...

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Team news

[Dbacks] Key additions D-backs 2016 season outlook - "If we play baseball and play as we're capable of playing and do the things we're capable of doing, we'll make it tough, anyway," D-backs general manager Dave Stewart said. "To say we're favorites? You've got to play. And I've got to be respectful of the Dodgers, and you've got to be respectful of the Giants, and the other teams in our division. It's going to make an interesting division. It's going to be a lot of fun."

[GammonsDaily] D-Backs Need Yasmany Tomas to Step Up in 2016 - Why did Tomas struggle so much offensively? Aside from an overall lack of plate discipline, he had one glaring issue: he couldn’t cover the outer third of the strike zone. Tomas was downright Vlad Guerrero-esque when pitchers threw inside (he chased 72% of inner-third pitches, by far the highest clip in the majors), but still managed to do plenty of damage in that region of the strike zone (.493 slugging percentage). He certainly held his own on pitches thrown down the middle, too (.512 slugging percentage). But when Tomas got something on the outside corner, he looked helpless.

[CBSSports] Yasmany Tomas could be the key to an NL West title for Diamondbacks - Arizona showed a lot of faith in Tomas last season, first by handing him that contract and then by asking him to change positions... Third base didn't work out, so now he returns to his natural right field spot. The Inciarte trade freed up the position. Now it's up to Tomas to return the favor and reward the team's faith by emerging as a centerpiece for the offense in 2016. The D-Backs are much improved this offseason, but the NL West looks to be very tight. If Tomas doesn't step in to the lineup and at the very least provide some power, it'll be tough for Arizona to win a winnable division.

[Examiner] Diamondbacks' Hale begins thinking about a batting order - Hale’s immediate concern is finding a lead-off hitter to replace Inciarte. While the loss of Inciarte compromises speed at the top of the line-up, his true value was never realized. In 524 plate appearances last season, Inciarte walked only 26 times and hit by a pitch four times. As well, he scored 73 runs and was good for third on the team behind A. J. Pollock (111) and Goldschmidt (103). Now, it’s likely Hale will go back to Pollock in the lead-off spot. At the time, Hale believes Pollock can be productive anywhere from first to fifth in the line-up.

[TKB] Giants and Diamondbacks Vaulting Past Dodgers - Given the magnitude of off-season moves that the Giants and Diamondbacks have made and the step back the Dodgers have taken in just about every aspect of their organization, the balance of power has shifted in the National League West and the Dodgers are going to find that they are not getting the benefit of the doubt the Rays did when Friedman was hamstrung by constraints that were a matter of course in Tampa and are a matter of choice in Los Angeles.

Damn, however did I forget to mention this in the high points of the year?

And, elsewhere...

[USA Today] The best MLB team realistic money can buy - "Our annual exercise in putting together a 25-man roster — with a starting nine (including DH), five-man rotation, bullpen with specific roles and a bench — for the median big-league payroll. Last season that figure was $116.79 million, a nice bump up from the $100.29 million median of 2014." No prize for guessing which Diamondback is included....

Hey, Gerardo Parra might be returning to Chase Field in 2016! But, before someone we know's head explodes in delight, we should quickly point out it might be as a Colorado Rockie. Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich declined to comment. However, a Major League source confirmed the interest to MLB.com. With Parra, 28, seeking a multiyear deal, the logical speculation will surround Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez, a two-time All-Star known to be on the trading block. With Gonzalez owed 7 million in salary over the next two years, it is seen as doubtful that the Rockies would keep him and sign Parra.

[MLB Trade Rumors] Dodgers To Sign Kenta Maeda - I would normally link to the sources, not MLBTR, but the details are still vague, so this is a good clearing house. "The contract could reach eight years in duration — though it’s not clear what portion would be guaranteed — and will contain significant incentives. And Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the "complicated" contract is for "at least" five years, adding that performance-driven considerations feature prominently.."

[SMH] Former West Indies opener Kieran Powell pursues Major League Baseball career - Well, this could be interesting... "They've lost players to rival cricket competitions, and now the West Indies have shed a player to baseball. Former Test opener Kieran Powell, who last played for the Windies in June 2014, is in Bradenton, Florida, preparing for a tryout day at the IMG Academy on January 13, in which he will showcase his batting and fielding skills in a bid to be signed by a Major League Baseball franchise."