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Snake Bytes, 1/31: The last of January

Two weeks left, folks, until pitchers and catchers report to Salt River Fields. Was it just me, or did it seem SLIGHTLY warmer yesterday?

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Team news

[AZ Central] Barren farm poses challenges for Arizona Diamondbacks - “(A strong farm system) is important for every team; it becomes magnified for teams in the middle to the bottom part of the salary structure,” Hazen said. “You don’t have the ability to buy over mistakes if you’re not producing top talent out of your minor-league system year-in and year-out. We need to be able to supply our major-league team with homegrown players.”

[Fanrag] Diamondbacks Did What They Set Out To This Winter - The Diamondbacks had two stated offseason objectives: improving the back end of the bullpen and creating an outfield defense that their entire pitching staff could work with. The D-backs did both, in non-blockbuster but sufficient and cost-effective ways. New general manager Mike Hazen did not say anything about collecting veteran catchers, but he did that, too.

[Inside the 'Zona] 2017 Preview: Pitcher Forecasts - How do you know if something is broken? Usually, you give something a go and don’t get the desired effect. Maybe you try again and still get an error. Other times, after a second try, everything works just fine. There always little blips on the radar of life. I mean, we all have to cycle our routers once in a while. But pitchers aren’t hardware — there’s no reset button. That makes it much harder to know if they’re broken as we have to, often painfully, wait for them to take the mound again before we can make another assessment. For Diamondbacks pitchers in 2016, this was all too common of a theme. See also: Position Player Forecasts

[FanGraphs] Burke Badenhop on Joining D-backs as Baseball Ops Analyst - [Hat-tip to Moranall] "You might go out and watch Burke Badenhop and he’s pretty boring — he looks like an oaf-y, tall, lanky, right-handed guy who doesn’t throw really hard — but if you look deeper into the numbers, you’d think, ‘We might have something here.’ It’s one of those things where you ask, ‘This guy doesn’t throw hard, so why is he good? Why does he gets swings and misses? Why can’t guys square up his fastball?’ The data helps answer some of those questions. Having an understanding of those numbers, and melding it with the experience I have on the field, I think I can add some value.”

[Elgin Courier-News] Former Boston Red Sox manager Butch Hobson happy to be with Kane County Cougars - [Diamondbacks' vice president of player developmen] Mike Bell is relishing the chance to work with Hobson. "We've been internally talking about Butch for several years just because we have so many connections," Bell said. "He's a guy you kind of gravitate toward and on top of that, hearing my dad talk about him, he says that Butch is the toughest person he's ever been on the field with. All those qualities that he has, those are the kinds of people you want to bring into the organization."

[] D-backs prospects appear at Boys & Girls Club - Bell was hoping that in addition to the fun they had that the trip would help players understand how big of a role they can play off the field. "There are also times you have to take a step back and put the game in perspective and realize you're not the center of attention. There's a whole world out there and there are people who would love to spend time with you, learn from you, and I think when you do that, it takes the pressure off the game and it puts the game in perspective."

[Reno Gazette-Journal] Youth should favor Diamondbacks/Aces this season - “We got off to a slow start and the season got away from us,” La Russa said of last season. “The expectations were through the roof, especially after the spring training we had. The players are looking to come together in a hurry. The same reason we were excited last year, we’re still one of the youngest clubs around, and there’s a lot of upside to our guys. ... I’m certain we’re going to play better.”

And, elsewhere...

[] Randy Johnson called his shot in the USC alumni game and *almost* hit a home run - He took one pitch, and then pointed off into the distance -- yes, he was calling his shot. He would deposit the baseball over the left-field fence, Babe Ruth-style. He almost succeeded, too. Johnson's hit fell just shy of the fence, giving him a long single (he might've taken two, but hey, the man's 53 years old). Still, it should be a reminder to all of us: Johnson is more than just one of the greatest pitchers in MLB history. After all, this is the man who is tied as the second-tallest player to ever hit a home run in MLB

[] Randy Johnson Slices $5M Off the Price of AZ Mansion - “The movie theater is the best one that I’ve ever seen,” says listing agent Robert Joffe. “And the 5-acre property in general is phenomenal.” Inside, the 25,000-square-foot home features an open kitchen, his-and-her offices, and a master bedroom with an oversize sitting area and patio. There’s also a detached two-bedroom guesthouse. As for the price, Joffe says, “We felt to be competitive in the marketplace, it was time for a reduction.”

[] MLB hammers Cardinals over hack - In a decision issued Monday afternoon by commissioner Rob Manfred, the Cardinals have been fined $2 million in damages — the largest ever for a single team — and their first two picks in the coming draft have been taken away as a result of an illegal hack into Houston’s database. The two picks, Nos. 56 and 75, will go to the Astros, as will the slot money assigned to those picks. The $2-million fine will also be paid to the Cardinals’ former division rivals.

[] MLB trade deadline will likely be insane in 2017 - I’m calling it, six months in advance—the deadline is going to be insane. That’s right, the July 31 non-waiver deadline—the last day that players can be traded without clearing waivers—will be even more frenzied than usual. I can’t guarantee a record number of trades; the sheer supply of talent might create a logjam similar to the one occurring this off-season. But the conversations almost certainly will be lively, if not downright intense.

[Yahoo!] One baseball league's radical idea for preventing extra innings - We’re talking about implementing an emergency home run derby in order to prevent extra innings. “That’s crazy,” you might say. “No baseball league would ever do it,” you might add. That’s where you’re wrong. The Futures Collegiate Baseball League is going to do just that this season. Here’s how it’s going to work: Any game still tied after the 10th inning will be decided by a home run derby. That’s it. Simple as that... Commissioner of the league, Christopher Hall, said there are two main reasons for the rule change: Exciting fans and keeping pitchers healthy.