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SnakePit Round Table, Week 16: Going back-to-back-to-back

We had J.D. Martinez, then we didn’t, performed a very rare feat, and have the trade deadline looming. No shortage of things to talk about this week...

Washington Nationals v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

What do you think about the J.D. Martinez trade?

James: For the most part, I like it.The team needs to do everything it can to make them the prohibitive favorites in the Wild Card play-in game. Martinez lengthens the lineup by a good bit and should help the team when it comes to all those left-handed starters they will face in the playoffs should they advance.

Makakilo: A winning trade! I was amazed! Details follow:

  • JD Martinez is an awesome hitter. Looking at his 2017 season, he ranks #5 in the Majors with .624 slugging %, behind Mike Trout, Freddie Freeman, Aaron Judge, and Bryce Harper. He ranks #9 in the Majors with 160 wRC+ (Goldy is #17 at 148). He ranks #27 in the Majors with .385 OBP. Numbers from Fangraphs
  • He hits better against left handed pitchers - 1.105 slugging %, 325 wRC+, and .556 OBP. This strengthens the D-backs against left-handed pitching, which had been a weakness.
  • The dollars and prospects required to obtain him were light. The trade surprised me because I had not anticipated any trades that hurt future seasons to benefit this season. On the other hand, the very light cost was equally surprising.

Tanner: I liked it. Hopefully the pinch hit appearance means he's back to being ready to go. Can't really evaluate it much based off of 3 PAs.

Keegan: I thought it was a tremendous move and was shocked that Hazen could get it done for so little. His offense is on a similar caliber to Goldy which is a positive to everyone in the lineup. Can't wait to have him at full strength.

Jim: Difficult to find fault with it. Martinez was likely the most productive bat available, and slots into an area of immediate need for the D-backs. It didn’t cost the team too much in the way of prospects, and they were largely able to do so from areas of minor-league strength. I’ll be happier when he’s in the line-up on an everyday basis, naturally, and he should definitely be an asset for the team down the stretch.

With one week to the trade deadline, what more needs to be done?

James: Before the call-up of Banda, my response would have been an inexpensive bit of veteran starter depth. If Banda can replicate his outing from yesterday, I am less worried about that. I do think the team will need another starter as the season gets into September. I worry about Corbin and Godley’s innings. A veteran starter of some sort could alleviate those concerns and could always help in middle relief if not needed as a starter.

Makakilo: Nothing more must be done because I am confident the D-backs will play in the postseason. This season is successful beyond expectations and memorable. Nevertheless, the D-backs should look for opportunities to improve the team. My focus would be to add players on minor league contracts that would add depth this season and potentially add impact players next season.

Tanner: I’d honestly prefer some extra BP help. I don't trust Hoover or Rodney, and McFarland is very much a streaky guy lately it feels like. Also, any bat that can mean getting rid of Herrmann. He shouldn't still be getting starts. Marte has quelled some fear about needing another SS, he just hacks a bit too much.

Keegan: Nothing if Hazen is unable to acquire an inexpensive bullpen arm. Jared Miller has been tearing it up in the PCL since he was called up to Reno, so it might be worth giving him a cup of coffee. However, Rubby De La Rosa shouldn't be out much longer either. I don't see any trade options out there that make much sense.

Jim: I’m not sure I feel VERY confident going into a stretch run with our bullpen as it stands, but the returns of Randall Delgado and De La Rosa should help. Maybe one more arm would be nice. J.J. Hoover and T.J. McFarland have both performed well enough this year, but their career ERA+’s of 97 and 96 leave me wondering if there’s regression in their future. There’s Rodney, of course, but I think I’ll just have to get used to that feeling of queasiness, because it isn’t going away...

Where will the start of the game against Scherzer rank in team lore?

James: The start of the game will be remembered for quite some time. Had it not been for the way the Nationals chipped away at the lead until the Diamondbacks were forced to win on a walk-off, the entire game might have gone down right alongside the Kershaw schelacking. As it is, I don’t think the game will be talked about too much beyond this season, but it might now be the front-runner for Game-of-the Year.

Makakilo: That game will rank high for three reasons.

  • Peralta, Pollock, and Lamb started the game with three consecutive homers - a rare event especially against a great pitcher like Scherzer.
  • Although walkoff wins are always great, this one was especially sweet because intentionally walking Goldschmidt was ineffective. Loading the bases added to the excitement!
  • The D-backs had been slumping. Although they had previously broken their losing streak, this game had meaning because it was the first game against a challenging team. By winning the game the D-backs showed they can win against the best teams, and they showed they are undaunted by the challenges of playing in the postseason. This game will be remembered as the turning point in a season that surpassed expectations.

Tanner: Forever due to the Back to Back to Back and how infrequently that's happened in MLB.

Keegan: Tough to tell. That game was special to me for documented reasons. Being there at that moment has burned that into my memory. The beat down on Kershaw a few seasons ago still stands out for me.

Jim: The stuff of legends, tales of which will be told to grandchildren in hushed tones: “...and then Jake Lamb went up there, wielding a toothpick.” It was unquestionably epic - but I’m just glad we managed to win the game, or it would be little more than a future Sports Jeopardy question.

Anthony Banda made his MLB debut. Will he be in the 2018 Opening Day rotation?

James: I think so. With Ken Kendrick still cutting the checks, this team is going to need to shed some salary in the offseason. Patrick Corbin is going to be a prime candidate to be traded to accomplish that. Then there is the Shelby Miller situation. We still don’t know what is going to happen there. The team is at the point where it only needs one starter to not return, and Banda is the next man up.

Makakilo: Probably not. Including Banda, I counted 7 possible starting pitchers. It would be 8 if we include Archie Bradley. The current 5 starting pitchers have proven their mettle this season. If one of those five gets injured during spring training, and if Miller is non-tendered, if Bradley stays in the bullpen as I hope he does, and if no starting pitchers are added in the off-season, then Banda will crack the rotation. A lot of “ifs.” The other possibility is that Banda is spectacular in spring training. It could happen, and it would be a welcome development.

Tanner: Wouldn't surprise me. Greinke, Ray, Walker, Godley, Banda would be my bet. Archie being the 2018 Closer in my dream scenario.

Keegan: I believe that it is likely. Shelby Miller should be non-tendered and re-signed to a team friendly deal if possible. Patrick Corbin may need to be non-tendered or traded as well. It's an area where Ken Kendrick can pinch plenty of pennies. Having Banda in the rotation at league minimum makes plenty of sense.

Jim: It may depend on what happens the rest of the season. If this team is a success, that may encourage Kendrick to expand payroll a bit, based on better attendance and revenue. If that happens, then we might hang on to Corbin, who has been pitching a lot better of late. But if the team needs to free up resources, than Banda represents a considerably cheaper option. Would he be as good? He looked impressive through five innings on Saturday - he’ll give up homers to worse hitters than Bryce Harper - so there’s promise. Probably needs to work on making a better adjustment seeing hitters a third time.

The D-back ended their losing streak this week, beating the Reds but lost at home to the Nationals. Have they righted the ship?

James: I think they have done enough to stop the bleeding. They still need to really step things up though. They need to get fat against Atlanta, despite what happened to them coming out of the All-Star break. Then, they head to St. Louis and Chicago. They need to do everything they can to put down those teams for that seven-game stretch. How they perform over the next 10 games is going to go a long way towards determining what sort of fight they will be in for Wild Card positioning.

Makakilo: The D-backs are playing better than their win-loss record indicates. I looked to see whether the numbers confirmed my view. They do! In the last 10 games, D-backs scored 47 runs while allowing 44 runs. Despite the positive run differential, they earned 3 wins while suffering 7 losses - that is just bad luck. Now that Taijuan Walker and JD Martinez are back, they have righted their ship and all hands are on deck!.

Tanner: Enough to settle some stomachs. They put up a lot of fight, but Lovullo needs to stop resting players the way he does. He should never be resting more than 1 of Goldy/Lamb/Pollock on any given day. Resting 2 or god forbid all 3 of them on the same day is just asking for putting up a goose egg.

Keegan: When the calendar month turns to August, I can no longer defend how often Lovullo rests the starters. The Diamondbacks’ lead has shrunk considerably, and I fear that we’ll have to travel for a one game play in should we be so fortunate. They are going to have to prove that they are not a fluke these last 2 months.

Jim: I’m a little happier, but we need to get back to winning series. We need to do much better in the upcoming series against the Braves than we did in Atlanta, and the hitting in particular needs to do better with runners in scoring position. That will cure a lot of ills, and I’m fairly confident it’s just random fluctuation, regression after a couple of months where it seemed everything was dropping in when we needed it. As long as our starting pitching continues to perform well, we’ll be in with a chance, almost every night.

Who do you think are the biggest threats to Arizona for a post-season spot?

James: Unless something changes, the Rockies are clearly the biggest threat to Arizona in terms of holding the top Wild Card berth. If Arizona is fighting for the second WIld Card, I think the Brewers are the biggest threat. Despite having 18 games left against the Dodgers, Nationals, Twins, and Cubs, their schedule is easier than Arizona’s. I still think the Cubs wind up winning the NL Central. They have gotten healthy at the right time and have really started to play better. Pittsburgh has also been quietly re-positioning themselves to be relevant, but I think they wind up falling off after the deadline passes.

Makakilo: They D-backs are in control of their postseason destiny. Their players need to stay at the peak of their mental habits. Assuming the Rockies earn a wild card slot, which team is the biggest threat to drop the D-backs out of a wild card slot? The Cubs and the Brewers, who are fighting for their Division, are the biggest threats. In August, the D-backs will play 6 games against the Cubs. That is fortunate because by winning those games the D-backs can assert their postseason destiny.

Tanner: Cub, Brewers, Nationals, and even the Rockies still. The Nats are pretty locked up in their division, but should they falter, they still are a threat to beat us in a series. And if it's the wild card, I don't expect Scherzer to falter twice.

Keegan: The Cubs will win the NL Central. I still don't believe the Rockies can sustain long enough, but they've hung in all season and will likely continue to do so. My biggest concern are the Brewers and the Rockies, my two most hated teams in the Senior Circuit for reasons I don't need to explain to Arizona fans.

Jim: Right now, the Dodgers and Nationals appear to have spots all but locked up, despite both suffering injuries to their aces on Sunday. There’s no-one in the East closer than three games below .500, so rule them out. That leaves us and the Rockies from the West, plus the Brewers and Cubs in the Central, all above .500 and looking at three spots, the Central winner and two wild-cards. The Cubs appear to have finally got their act together, and look good for the division title, so it may well be the Brewers who end up closest to us and the Rockies in the wild-card hunt. Not sure they’ll be able to hang around, but I’d be a lot happier if we were playing better ourselves.

Player of the Week (and a bit!)

It has been a while! The last poll took place as the first half came to an end, and was one dominated by pitching. Greinke won it, with 56% - not enough to make a move on the leader-board, but he did close the gap considerably on the two players above him. There is a new leader though, Ray just peeking in front of Goldschmidt. Here are the full standings through that week 14 poll.

  1. Robbie Ray: 211%
  2. Paul Goldschmidt: 208%
  3. Zack Greinke: 192%
  4. Jake Lamb: 129%
  5. Archie Bradley: 84%
  6. Chris Owings, 75%
  7. Fernando Rodney: 75%
  8. Patrick Corbin: 57%
  9. Brandon Drury: 52%
  10. David Peralta: 51%
  11. Randall Delgado: 41%
  12. Taijuan Walker, 37%
  13. Chris Iannetta, 34%
  14. Nick Ahmed: 30%
  15. A.J. Pollock: 30%
  16. Jeremy Hazelbaker: 25%
  17. T.J. McFarland: 19%
  18. Chris Herrmann, 16%
  19. Zack Godley, 11%
  20. J.J. Hoover: 7%
  21. Yasmany Tomas: 7%
  22. Daniel Descalso: 6%
  23. Andrew Chafin: 2%

This time round, we cover a full ten games, including the partial week which followed the All-Star break. And it’s the turn of a trio of hitters to shine... Who has been the best for Arizona in the second-half so far? All stats cover July 13-23.


Who was the Player of the Week, July 13-23?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Jake Barrett: 6.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 8:2 K:BB
    (3 votes)
  • 22%
    Patrick Corbin: 12.1 IP, 2.19 ERA, 12:2 K:BB
    (13 votes)
  • 8%
    Jake Lamb: 7-for-31, 3 HR, 12 RBI, .978 OPS
    (5 votes)
  • 27%
    A.J. Pollock: 11-for-33, HR, 2 RBI, 1.025 OPS
    (16 votes)
  • 36%
    David Peralta: 14-for-38, 2 HR, 6 RBI, .990 OPS
    (21 votes)
58 votes total Vote Now