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Snake Bytes, 12/14: Cat-bites, more like...

Today’s selection was brought to you around fluffy interference.

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Team news

[Forbes] Arizona Diamondbacks Did Their Heavy Lifting Early - “Contact would be certainly something that would be a skill valued,” D-backs general manager Mike Hazen said of adding to the position group. “You know how much we value getting on base and driving offense. We’ve lost some power with Goldy. Certainly trying to replace some of those skills not with one person but in pieces, those would be the areas we would focus on. I think power is probably the least of the attributes that I would probably race out to first. Being more of a complete hitter, driving on base.”

[] D-backs refocus at Meetings after busy month - "There was probably going to be a little lull for us, because we kind of wanted to step back anyway," Hazen said. "We focused so much of our time and energy in this offseason on the Goldschmidt trade -- pretty much every waking minute on it for the last two months. We've paid attention to other things and obviously had some conversations around other things, but other areas of our roster that teams have interest in, or that we might want to add, we didn't spend a lot of time on that stuff. So, this gave us this opportunity to do that. That's what we focused this week on."

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks back home after quiet week at MLB winter meetings - Their only addition this week came on Thursday morning with their selection of right-hander Nick Green in the Rule 5 draft. Green will be given a chance to win a bullpen spot in spring training. “He’s got a good cutter, good curveball, he’s up to 93-94 (mph),” Hazen said. “We’ve liked him in trade discussions in the past. It’s a little bit of a flier given that he only has three starts in Double-A, but he’s going to be 24 years old and we like a lot of things that he can do.”

[The Athletic] The Diamondbacks have work to do in maximizing their return for Paul Goldschmidt - Kelly hasn’t been catching all that long. He’s a converted third baseman with enough arm to get the job done. The transition from third base to catcher has been surprisingly smooth. “I think the last time I caught (before professional baseball) was eighth grade,” Kelly said, “but every year my dad has said ‘we work on every position’ just in case something were to happen. So I always had seven or eight gloves in bag, one for every position. My dad was also a catcher and he played college ball out in Chicago, but it kind of runs in the family, the leadership aspect of it, and ultimately it was my decision with the Cardinals to become a catcher. They said it was 51 percent my vote and 49 percent their vote, so ultimately I had the upper hand and it was a good opportunity at the time and it propelled my career to where I am now.”

From the #DHallChat on Twitter.

[The Athletic] The 2019 draft will be huge for the Diamondbacks – as long as they get it right - Ladnier said he already has some broad impressions of the talent pool – a bit deficient in high-impact catching and left-handed pitching, he said – but otherwise has yet to draw conclusions about what strategy he should employ. “I do think even though we have all these picks, expectations are going to be higher,” Sawdaye said. “We’ve raised the expectations, too, amongst ourselves. And we know that. It probably drives us to get more information and ask more questions and push our analysts to do more and push our scouts to do more. It’s a unique opportunity for the organization, and we obviously don’t want to miss that.”

And, elsewhere...

[ESPN] Ban the shift? Not if managers have any say - Whether or not baseball moves forward with a shift ban in some form or another, the sense you get from baseball's managers is that the move back toward a collectively more holistic approach to hitting is already underway. For example, the Cardinals took off last season when new manager Mike Shildt began to refocus his club's hitters on a more contact-oriented, use-all-fields approach, a change that St. Louis is pushing to perpetuate during the offseason. Still, it remains to be seen how quickly this recognition of the need for countershift strategies can take hold to the degree that the raw number of shifts begin to trend downward.

[Wikipedia] Phantom ballplayer - A phantom ballplayer is either a baseball player who is incorrectly listed in source materials as playing in a Major League Baseball (MLB) game, or a player who spent time on an MLB active roster without ever appearing in an MLB contest during his career. A modern-day phantom ballplayer is generally caused by the player being removed from the active roster by a subsequent action (such as being optioned to a minor league team) or the team reaching the end of their season, and the player not having later opportunity to play in a major league game. Many of these phantom players were September call-ups in backup roles.

[SI] Bryce Harper is no easy sell for agent Scott Boras - Let it be recorded that when Scott Boras made his annual winter meetings performance art Wednesday, this time to argue that Bryce Harper is such a great investment he “will pay for himself”, he stood not on a soap box but an equipment box for a Washington television station. It was an unintended master stroke for the Maestro of Metaphor... Boras ascribed to Harper leaps made by the Washington Nationals in his years there in attendance, viewership and franchise value.

And, finally, on a personal note, can I get a “Hell, yeah”?

#TeamMothra #AllAboutTheLepidoptera