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Snake Bytes, 2/21: Games ahoy!

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Just a couple of days from the first contest at Salt River Fields...

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Team news

[AP] D-backs ownership sees potential for quick turnaround - The Diamondbacks project to have a payroll of about $102 million, Hall said, with the flexibility to spend a little more to bolster the squad if it does well. “Ken’s always been open, willing to listen to other needs and generous enough to stretch if need be,” Hall said. “We’re not where we will necessarily finish (in payroll), but we’re at a place where we have flexibility to add if needed. Hopefully we’re in that position.”

[FOX Sports] Diamondbacks' Shelby Miller expects strong results with refreshed attitude - “I’m just in a really happy place, away from the field, on the field,” said Miller. “Maybe it’s just the way I go about everything, trying to be positive in every single aspect of life. Baseball’s not perfect. I’m not perfect. I know bumps in the road are going to happen. Last year was obviously not just a bump, but a huge mountain. Right now, that’s completely behind me. I’m not worried about any of that. I’m really ready for this year, ready to redeem myself so much.”

[CBSSports] Arizona Diamondbacks 2017 preview: New management looks to turn it around - In looking at the rotation and offense, there really is enough talent here to make a run at contention if everything breaks right. We’ve already said the offense is good and if the five members of the rotation pitch to their absolute ceiling, things would then fall into place for a mid-to-high 80s win total and wild-card spot. Overall, though, it’s hard to be bullish on this Diamondbacks club due mostly to its lackluster ability to hold down the opposing offenses they face. Expect an above-average run total on offense and a pretty bad ERA -- even if not awful like in 2016 -- which results in a low-70s win total.

[FanGraphs] Amiel Sawdaye on Arizona’s New Boston Culture - “We’ve placed a stronger emphasis on analytics. They had an analytics department here, and we want to help that grow. We want to take it in another direction. We went out and hired a director of analytics, Mike Fitzgerald, who has already done a great job in areas we want to focus on... Long term, we want to build our own models and projection systems. Again, any time you come into a new place, you want to kind of put your own stamp on it. That’s definitely a focus for us moving forward, although it’s not going to happen overnight.”

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks shift focus to defense behind plate - Where Marte fits on the field will be determined during Spring Training. For now, he's in competition for the starting-shortstop job that D-backs manager Torey Lovullo characterized as "wide open." "Depth is an important part of a successful organization, so the more pieces we have, the more competition will come out of that," Lovullo said. "[Marte is] right in the thick of the competition as a starting shortstop. We let it be known to all the guys who are in that spot that the competition is wide open."

[FanRag] Pleskoff Scouting Report: Jared Miller - I may rate Miller higher and have more confidence in his upside and ability to retain his new control and command than others. I have to believe what I saw on repeated occasions was real. It appears the door is wide open for him to blast through and claim a bullpen role with the parent club. Miller’s future will depend upon his ability to throw strike one. And then follow that with strike two. You get the picture. He will go as far as his improving control takes him. I think it can be pretty far.

[dbacks.com] Ketel Marte eyes D-backs' shortstop job - Where Marte fits on the field will be determined during Spring Training. For now, he's in competition for the starting-shortstop job that D-backs manager Torey Lovullo characterized as "wide open." "Depth is an important part of a successful organization, so the more pieces we have, the more competition will come out of that," Lovullo said. "[Marte is] right in the thick of the competition as a starting shortstop. We let it be known to all the guys who are in that spot that the competition is wide open."

[CardsConclave] Playing Pepper 2017: Arizona Diamondbacks - Expectations will be severely tempered this year as the Diamondbacks look to dig out of the hole they have made. Whether they will or not is, of course, still up in the air. To tackle that, we’ve got Jeff Wiser and Jim McLennan, both long-time vets of this series, to cover the Pepper 6 this year.

Your Daily Goldschmidt

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks' Paul Goldschmidt excited to play in WBC - First baseman Paul Goldschmidt did his due diligence before agreeing to play in the World Baseball Classic, wanting to be as certain as possible that participation in next month’s tournament wouldn’t take away from his preparation for the regular season. “I called guys that had done it in the past and a lot of them said you’re even more ready because you’ve played in some more high-stakes games rather than just spring training games and the competition is higher,” Goldschmidt said. “So I took it as a positive getting to play with and against some of the best players in the world.”

[dbacks.com] Paul Goldschmidt tunes out predictions - There are lower expectations for the D-backs in 2017, at least in the minds of most baseball prognosticators, but do yourself a favor and don't bother asking first baseman Paul Goldschmidt for his reaction to them. "I try not to pay attention," Goldschmidt said. "I really don't know what people are thinking or expecting, but we're expecting to win. I've expected every year I've played to go out there and win and perform."

[Arizona Sports] Paul Goldschmidt would benefit from raised strike zone - This change would potentially raise the strike zone two inches, which would benefit certain players more than others, depending upon their hitting style. One player who would be one of the biggest “potential winners” of such a rule would be Goldschmidt, according to ESPN Insider writer Craig Edwards. "Goldschmidt lives up in the zone with a .791 slugging percentage in the upper third of the strike zone, but even moving the zone up three inches would turn the lowest part of the zone from a weak area to an average one, allowing him to wait for the pitches up in his wheelhouse."