[AZ Central] Diamondbacks' arbitration workload nearly complete - “It was a big caseload,” General Manager Mike Hazen said. “It was a lot of work, and the guys did a lot of good work.” Hazen said front-office execs Sam Eaton, Jared Porter and Amiel Sawdaye did the bulk of the negotiating but added that “there’s a huge group of people who did a lot of the support stuff in the office. It was a full month and a half of work.” All told, the Diamondbacks doled out $42.9 million in arbitration dollars this week. Hazen said the agreements brought the team’s budgeted payroll figure for 2018 up to around $120 million. The team’s figure tends to be higher than reported payroll numbers because it must anticipate additional spending due to things like injuries and promotions.
[dbacks.com] Determining closer next step for improved 'pen - Projecting a bullpen before Spring Training even opens is at best a shot in the dark. For instance, last year Bradley was viewed as a starter right up until the last week of camp. The first order of business will be determining a closer. It is next to impossible to have a closer competition during the spring because you can't simulate the adrenaline and importance of the ninth inning of a spring game. Plus, especially early in camp, the hitters in the ninth inning are typically a team's younger or non-roster players. With all that in mind, it will be interesting to see how the D-backs handle things this spring.
[CBSSports] Diamondbacks pursuing Orioles' Manny Machado - - Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has the scoop [but it's behind a paywall, so I'm going with this secondary source]. "The Arizona Diamondbacks, though, remain engaged with the Orioles on Machado, the most persistent of the teams interested, according to major league sources. No trade appears close, but for the D-Backs, Machado would be a fascinating addition, possibly the right move at the right time for a franchise ready to win now." Machado, in keeping with his stated wishes, would play shortstop in Arizona, which would lead to a shuffle at second base.
[Fanrag] Red Sox And JD Martinez Remain In Stalemate - Miami acquaintances of Martinez say he is willing to “hold out,” certainly into spring training, for what he believes should be his market value. The Red Sox have offered Martinez a five-year deal, and sources suggest at least one other has, too. The Diamondbacks still have Martinez atop their list as well, and while a D-backs person suggested he didn’t believe an official five-year offer was extended, it’s hard to imagine them still being in it for less, and they are in it.
[FanGraphs] J.D. Martinez’s Potential for Falling Off a Cliff - He can be a below-average baserunner and defender and still return a $150 million investment. He just can’t be as bad as his numbers last season or over the course of his career indicate. I think it is fair to expect two more really good seasons from Martinez. After that, the range of outcomes is enormous. Expecting good production in 2020 is a risk that any signing club is going to have to take.
[dbacks.com] Torey Lovullo returns to spring site - Wednesday was Torey Lovullo's first day back at Salt River Fields, but those who went looking for the D-backs' manager would not find him in his office sitting behind his desk. Instead, Lovullo was doing what he loves most, moving around the complex spending time with players who were working out in preparation for the beginning of Spring Training next month. Building personal relationships with his players was a key component of Lovullo's style and the one that drew the most praise from players.
[AZ Central] How should Diamondbacks approach Paul Goldschmidt's contract extension? - Twice this offseason, a pair of Diamondbacks officials were asked about the possibility of extending the contract of first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Both executives gave similar, unenlightening answers. In November, CEO Derrick Hall talked about how glad the Diamondbacks are to have Goldschmidt under contract for two more years, then showered him with compliments. A month later, General Manager Mike Hazen flatly said he would not discuss Goldschmidt’s contract, then quickly shifted the topic to the slugger’s value to the team and community. That neither executive would discuss in detail a topic as sensitive as a star’s contract situation isn’t surprising until you remember how willing the organization has been to talk about it in the past.
[Inside the 'Zona] Extending Paul Goldschmidt Won’t Be Easy (Part II) - It’s not so much that the team can’t possibly afford Goldschmidt, it’s just that if they were to make an attempt to, they’d likely find themselves in the same boat they’re in now — tying up a lot of payroll in one player and limiting their financial flexibility. In trading Greinke to afford Godly, they’d have to surely eat some of the pitcher’s deal... So if the Diamondbacks can’t afford to tie up a huge portion of their team’s salary in Greinke, they probably can’t afford to tie up a huge portion of their team’s salary in trading Greinke and extending Goldschmidt.
[Off the Bench] The Arizona Diamondbacks Appear to Have 2018’s Tommy Pham - I would spoil the surprise by saying who the writer decides it is, but it would be far more fun for you to click on the link and see for yourself. I'll be here, holding a roll of duct-tape with which you can hold together your sides, for I fear they may have split with laughter...
[Gallup] Football Still Americans' Favorite Sport to Watch - The 9% of Americans who mention baseball as their favorite sport to watch is the lowest percentage for the sport since Gallup first asked the question in 1937. Soccer now nearly matches baseball's popularity. Seven percent say it is their favorite sport to watch, the highest that sport has registered to date. Only once before have at least 7% of Americans named a sport other than football, basketball or baseball as their favorite -- and that was auto racing in 1997. (Auto racing is now down to 2% of mentions.)
[Fort Worth Star-Telegram] At 53, Palmeiro wants to play baseball again - He’s 53. He hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2005. But Rafael Palmeiro doesn’t see a reason why he can’t continue his playing career. Palmeiro said he believes he is in better shape than he was late in his career, and he is hopeful that a team will give him an opportunity to show that he still has something left in the tank. Palmeiro’s comeback attempt after a 13-year layoff is real. He insists it’s not a joke. It’s not a publicity stunt. “There’s no specific reason other than I love baseball,” Palmeiro said.
[ESPN] Million Dollar Arm's Rinku Singh signs contract with WWE - Rinku Singh, one of the two baseball players from India who gained worldwide attention as part of the "Million Dollar Arm" reality show in India and subsequent movie about their lives, has taken another major leap by signing a contract to perform for the WWE. Singh, 29, spent the better part of eight years as part of the Pittsburgh Pirates' organization before injuries ultimately put an end to his baseball dreams. After participating in a WWE tryout in Dubai in April 2017, Singh started down a path that ultimately led him to the WWE.