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AZ SnakePit Round-Table: Arizona Diamondbacks at the break, Part 3

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In which we look forward. What do we want to see in the second half? Where will be at the end of the season? And what changes in staff might we see over the winter?

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What do you want to see in the second half?

Pirate: Solid baseball. Focus on who to execute properly in the game, start doing the "small" things right. Take the ball the other way. Bunt against the shift, hit the cut off man, catch the ball, throw the ball to the right base. Right now part of the overall frustration is that these guys are doing a fair bit of beating themselves in addition to being beat.

Turambar: Hope. Any sort of silver lining to make me think that 2017 could be the year of epic glory. Seriously, after half a season that's been trending down all I want to see is a second half that trends up. Better fielding, better pitching and AJ recovering back to his pre-injured form.

Preston: Tankapalooza. Don't bring Pollock back, don't risk it. Get Goldy plenty of rest. Trade away Hudson for sure, and see how Barrett, Burgos, and Bracho do in the bullpen. (If they are good, they can be the Killer Bs.) There's still a chance at the top pick, but at the very least, securing a top-five pick would be nice. You never know but you might find someone that high that can contribute right away, like Brandon Finnegan did on the Royals in 2014.

Jim: Jake Lamb facing left-handed pitching. LOTS of Jake Lamb facing left-handed pitching. Beyond that, make it a laboratory to see what will be useful for 2017. I don't want to see Rickie Weeks and Michael Bourn getting regular starts. Hell, if we need a CF, I'd rather see what Todd Glaesmann can do. A fixed Shelby Miller would be nice. That, and a pony.

James: Jake Lamb starting essentially every game. If we face Clayton Kershaw, I won't argue if Lamb takes a pass. Otherwise, it's time to let Lamb blossom (or not) into a true full-time compliment to Paul Goldschmidt at first base. Like Jim, I would like to see real outfielders playing in the outfield. Rickie Weeks can be allowed to walk at anytime now, no problem. The most Michael Bourn should be doing is playing some 4th outfielder. Frankly, if the reports of Pollock retuning in a month are true, then even that should be suspect. Pollock, Peralta, Glaesmann, OWings would be just fine. Also, I want to see pitching improvement. Like Jim, seeing a good Shelby Miller would be nice. Mostly I just want to see improvement up and down the rotation.

Nate: I just want to see some decent, entertaining baseball. The last three weeks have been painful to watch. For particular players, I'd like to see signs that Miller, Corbin, and Ray will all be able to contribute to the rotation next year. There's pretty much nothing in the upcoming offseason as far as starting pitching is concerned, so if those three are bad next season too, the team is gonna be hosed.

Makakilo: I want to see good fundamental baseball with some outstanding plays on defense and great baserunning. I want to see at least three Diamondbacks make big improvements. I want the players to avoid injury.

Steven: Let the youngsters develop. Start Drury, Brito and see if guys like Bracho and Burgos can handle the MLB.

Xipooo: Jake Lamb in against LHP. Oh, and of course Chip Hale and Mike Butcher fired as soon as tomorrow.

Predict the Dbacks final record.

Pirate: 70-91

Clefo: 69-92. Contrary to internet belief, that would not be Nice.

Turambar: Meh, no playoffs = me not caring

Preston: I expect somewhere around 72-90. I hope for something that would secure the top pick. Perhaps 65-97? Every time the Diamondbacks have gone 65-97, a division title came the very next year.
Jim: 73-89.

James: Like Preston and Jim, I am expecting the lower 70s, I'm hoping for at least 73-89, just for the mini-moral victory of avoiding a 90-loss season.

Nate: 74-88

Makakilo: My revised projection is 68 wins. Explanation follows.

In the preseason, I predicted Diamondbacks (89-92 wins), Giants (87.5 wins), Dodgers (85 wins), Rockies (72 wins), and Padres (69 wins). With the exception of the Diamondbacks being last instead of first, my prediction had teams in the correct order.

In the last ten games, runs allowed and runs scored resulted in a Pythagorean projection of 61 wins at the end of the season. That projection reflects losing their last three series, including a series with the Padres. Many Diamondbacks are young, and they are constantly adjusting and improving. Every player, even promotions from the minors, has potential to breakout with impact. Always the optimist, I am counting on three players to breakout with impact.

Steven: I predicted 75 wins at the beginning and I'll keep that prediction going forward.

Jim: Hey, I went with 71 wins earlier in the week, so I'll go with that. Because science!

Xipooo: I don't do win/loss predictions anymore. I suck at them.

Which of these do you expect to be employed by the team next Opening Day?
A) Mike Butcher, B) Chip Hale, C) Dave Stewart, D) Tony La Russa

Pirate: Could be any or all of them depending upon how much KK buys into the theory that injuries doomed us from the start (and yes, losing an all-star CF whose defense was also superb has a LOT to do with that). My guess is that the FO stays and the guys on the field go. Can't condone crappy baseball in the field and these guys aren't even doing the basics properly (imho) and that comes under the responsibilities of the coaching staff.

Turambar: Stewart and TLR are fine. Their grand scheme of rebuilding this team is still too newly hatched and their moves from this last offseason can't be criticized just yet. Especially since the Segura move has worked amazingly well, Greinke will be just fine over his contract and you could make an argument that some combination of Butcher and/or Hale screwed up the Miller deal.

Which brings me to Butcher and Hale. Hale might be gone regardless of if he loses the locker room or not, but Butcher (considering the pitching) is done in my opinion. One or both will be this year's sacrificial lamb.

Preston: I expect all but Butcher to return. I would hope to see all but Stewart go. I still think he can be a good general manager, and think that having someone else sign off on all decisions is disrespectful to Stewart and counterproductive, particularly when that figure had no front office experience. Depending on how many of the bad decisions he has been responsible for, I might want him to go as well, but given the sound bytes he's given, I'm of the opinion that a lot of the decisions are being made over his head. (After all, that's a perfectly logical explanation for why he consistently says one thing and then does something else. It might be a ploy on his part, or it might be that his decisions are regularly getting overruled. I'd be very interested to hear what he says after he's no longer in the position.)

Jim: If I may be forgiven momentary crudeness, shit flows downhill. I doubt we'll see La Russa and Stewart take the bullet, even though the buck should be stopping with them for the roster construction. As I looked at last week, the team ERA isn't necessarily down to Butcher, but there will be the need for at least one sacrificial lamb (non-Jake department), and he's the most obvious candidate. Whether Hale goes as well may depend on if the team has a replacement already in mind (Mark Grace or Matt Williams) and wants them to get their feet under the table before the end of the season.

James: I don't expect that La Russa is going anywhere. As long as La Russa is around, Dave Stewart will be too. Mike Butcher seems a logical choice for dismissal. The organization seems to think highly of Chip Hale. In fact, I do to, but as a bench coach, not a manager. I still think Hale could be gone by the start of next season though. If this team finishes with 90 or more losses on the season, I'm just not sure how the team can justify to a paying fan base the retention of a coaching staff that lead the team to finish 25 games below expectation. Even Derrick Hall's mighty PR machine will have trouble with that one. The team needs butts in seats.So I expect Hale to be released too.

Nate: I expect Butcher to be gone, but I think the team does well enough in the second half for everyone else to be given another year.

Makakilo: Next season, I expect to see Dave Stewart, Tony La Russa, and possibly Chip Hale. Matt Williams learned much from being manager of the Nationals. My perception is he is part of the in-group, from which a replacement for Hale could be picked, if it happens. Pitching has been very disappointing. I would be shocked and dismayed to see Mike Butcher!

Steven: All of the above. Although I'd get rid of the lot of them. I have no faith in the FO or coaching staff.

Xipooo: Probably all of them, annoyingly. But I'd be fine if DS and TLR were still around.