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Snake Bytes, 1/24: Wet Wet Wet

Let’s hope Salt River Fields dries out by the time pitchers and catchers report, in 20 days’ time!

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Team news

[] Arizona Diamondbacks: Grading their off-season moves - Given as difficult a task as any in the majors, Arizona’s new front office has done well with its first moves, but the current roster still has some notable holes and a worrying amount of risk with little guaranteed production aside from Goldschmidt, Pollock, Lamb and Greinke—and, thanks to the latter’s monster contract, Arizona doesn’t have much financial room with which to operate. It will take more than one winter to undo all the mistakes Stewart and company made, but this off-season was a positive (albeit small) step in the right direction. Just don’t expect much out of the Diamondbacks in 2017.

[] D-backs give prospects look at big league life - "It's a way to take some of our best young players that are really close to the big leagues, and help their transition from the Minor Leagues to the big leagues," vice president of player development Mike Bell said. "We want to help give them an idea of what the guys at the top are looking for, ways to help them orient themselves to big league life. In a small group setting they can ask a lot of questions that they might not ask as part of a larger group. They get more special one-on-one attention."

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks GM pays $1.8M for Scottsdale home - Arizona Diamondbacks General Manager Mike Hazen has put down roots in the Valley and bought a $1.8 million home in Scottsdale. He closed on the deal for his 5,000-square-foot home in the upscale Arcadia neighborhood on Tuesday, according to public real estate records. Hazen’s new home comes with five bedrooms and four bathrooms.

And, elsewhere...

[AP] Northwestern University finds baseball hitting and pitching sapped by jet lag - Over all the games in the 20 years, teams won about 54 percent of games played at home, showing a home-field advantage of 4 percent. But that edge was obliterated when home teams that were jet-lagged from traveling eastward played teams with no apparent jet lag -- an apparent result of seemingly small declines in performance. After traveling eastward, jet-lagged home teams hit fewer doubles and triples, stole fewer bases and grounded into more double plays than when they weren't affected.

[ESPN] The hardest pitch Yordano Ventura ever threw - The velocity flashed on the television broadcast: 102 mph. The more precise reading from baseball's PITCHf/x system reported something faster: 102.816. It was the hardest pitch a starter had ever thrown in a regular season game, or at least since 2008, when PITCHf/x started measuring every pitch. It came in his major league debut.

[FanGraphs] Baseball’s Embattled Middle Class - The middle class of ballplayer, the Freeses of the sport, are perhaps becoming endangered. There’s no mechanism forcing teams to spend. There’s no tax or penalty on low-end payrolls. There’s little reason for the game to halt its trend of becoming younger. While teams are perhaps operating logically and rationally, is the union? Or is the union too concerned with the upper 10% of its constituency? While many fans care little for squabbles between billionaires and millionaires, these trends could eventually set the stage for a larger labor fight, which could threaten something about which fans care deeply: labor peace.