Team news (more)
[SI.com] Winter Report Card: Diamondbacks go for broke in bold, risky off-season - The Diamondbacks have certainly made waves this winter, improving enough for 2016 that they could contend for a playoff spot, and they still have some good prospects in their system. Still, the massive overpay in the Miller deal raises questions about what general manager Dave Stewart and head of baseball operations Tony La Russa are doing, and how much pressure Kendrick is applying in order to get results sooner rather than later.
[NumberFire] Can Zack Greinke Replicate His Success in 2016? - It’s all but a given that Greinke will not replicate his 1.66 ERA with the Diamondbacks, so while he’s due for a regression, his stats don’t suggest that a major one is coming. That, paired with playing for an improved defense behind him, make me believe that another Cy Young caliber season is in store for the 32-year-old. As fellow numberFire contributor John Stolnis pointed out, all that was missing from the Diamondbacks' playoff push last season was a decent starting rotation. Now that they have Greinke and Shelby Miller, the Diamondbacks seem poised to knock off the Dodgers in the National League West.
[FOX Sports] Why the D-backs shouldn't waver on signing Howie Kendrick - It seems a no-brainer that the D-backs, chugging full-speed at the upcoming season, should sign Kendrick. He's reliable in the field and at the plate, clutch (.360 with runners in scoring position last season), and would add needed veteran experience to a young team stuffed to the brim with budding superstar talent.... Arizona is wise to think big picture in its decision making. Nevertheless, Howie Kendrick could add plenty of value to a team with hopes of being in contention.
[masslive.com] Arizona Diamondbacks Nick Ahmed, brother Mike talk defense at World Baseball Coaches' Convention - The Ahmeds broke down three drills they work on every day in the offseason. The "pick series" – where balls are fielded from the knees, the "rolling/bouncing series" — where bare hands are used, and the "two-bounce drill" — where the ball is fielded with a bare hand immediately after the second bounce. "It's the difference between safe and out, the difference between an out and making an error," Nick Ahmed said. "Every single play can translate into a win or loss, so little things are very important."
Team news (less)
[STLToday] Some MLB teams tanking now for future returns - Even the ultra-competitive Tony La Russa, admits this odious tactic makes sense under current market conditions. "How can you second-guess an organization?" La Russa said. "If you finish third, fourth or fifth and you don’t have a realistic chance in your opinion to finish first, it’s tough to sell anything to your fans. If an organization makes the judgment that it will get younger and win more later, I think you have to respect that. If it only happens once in a while — and I think it’s only once in a while that more teams may look to the future — then I don’t know how you change it."
[TKB] Matt Davidson learning how to enjoy baseball again - Interesting piece on a former D-back's flame-out, and bid to rebound. "I was not a happy person When you know that you’re really good at something and you’re not able to just do that and enjoy it…" Davidson pauses, but "it sucks" would probably suffice. "Baseball is a hard sport where people look at you from the outside in and think ‘oh you’re playing baseball for a living’. It is the best job–I believe so–but sometimes when you’re trying your hardest and it’s not working, that’s a hard pill to swallow," he said. "All you want is to have that success and enjoy the game again like you were five (years old)."
[San Diego Magazine] Tequila Shores At home with former Padres GM Kevin Towers and wife Kelley - "Behold Tequila Shores. This beach bungalow earned its fitting moniker thanks to a prime oceanfront locale and the clever remarks of a famous visitor, who shall remain anonymous. Rest assured, the fun-loving owners who inhabit this place, Kevin and Kelley Towers, live up to all the name implies." Yeah, I'd heard he was not averse to an adult beverage or two...
[TKB] NL West Poised to be Most Exciting Race in Baseball - "Nobody seems to be talking about the most exciting division of them all: the NL West. The greatest rivalry in American sports history is poised to be resuscitated and potentially better than it’s ever been before. The Dodgers and Giants have both remade themselves this winter and should figure to take the division race down to the wire." Er... Hello? Perhaps you could get your head out of Californa's ass, Mr. Dorn, and acknowledge Arizona with more than half a parenthetical comment?
[SF Chronicle] Swing the bat, or you ain’t playin’ baseball Manfred would be making a terrible mistake if he tries to convince ownership to give up the game’s most crucial tradition. As KNBR’s Brian Murphy wrote on Twitter, "He will go down as the Worst Commissioner in Baseball History." It would stamp Manfred and the NL owners as nauseatingly progressive, with no clear notion of consequence. Here’s some more nonsense: recent speculation about the National League adopting the DH as early as 2017. That’s just some reckless Internet talk gone wild. Check with the real insiders and they’ll tell you such radical change would take many years to implement.
[ESPN] MLB 2.0: Reimagining baseball -- Move the Oakland A's to San Jose and the Tampa Bay Rays to Montreal - Baseball needs to figure out where the Oakland Athletics and the Tampa Bay Rays should be playing. This isn't just about doing something about O.co Coliseum and Tropicana Field, two inadequate venues that aren't coming close to filling up with fans. It's about sorting out whether those teams should be serving those markets, or if baseball would be better off with one or both playing somewhere else.
[New Yorkj Times] Baseball’s Sharpest Drives - Out front, there was one of Vega’s fastest-selling vehicles, a custom Mercedes limousine van. This one in particular belonged to Yoan Moncada, one of the top prospects of the Boston Red Sox. Vega said he had also sold the same car to Juan Uribe, Yoenis Cespedes, Ramirez, Ivan Nova and Starlin Castro. The back of the limousine features a bar on one side, two reclining chairs, a wraparound leather couch, two big-screen televisions and a home theater system. It seats seven people comfortably, costs about $175,000 and is meant to host a party on the go.
[MLB.com] Five baseball oddities we need the X-Files' Mulder and Scully to investigate - On Sunday night, FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully will return to their basement office and officially reopen the X-Files. Because, as we all know, the truth is out there, and we just need the FBI's two most intrepid agents to hunt it down. While they will likely spend their time focusing on secret government conspiracies instead of baseball (even though they have tread that ground before), here are the five things that we need them to investigate right now.
Not included, but probably should be: this.