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SnakePit Round Table: A farewell to Goldy

No surprise about the main topic in this edition... :(

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MLB: Spring Training-Cleveland Indians at Arizona Diamondbacks Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

What do you think of the Goldschmidt trade? Did they get enough back?

Keegan: I’m honestly the wrong person to ask. Nothing, ever, would have been a sufficient return for Paul Goldschmidt. A less emotional response would be, “I have no idea what other teams offered, so I have nothing to base my answer on.” I’m extremely frustrated with the entire situation and it gets worse the more I think about it.

ISH95: I think they got market value back. It’s part of the reason I wasn’t in favor of trading him. The market is changing. Star power and realized talent isn’t what teams value any more. They value years of control and low arb wages. So if the question is did they get what the market says is a good return, the answer is yes. If the question was it a good return for a player of Goldschmidt caliber, no. No it was not.

Jack: My initial reaction was definitely meh, but the more informed I have become about the players the DBacks received, the more I think that fair value was returned. My initial reaction shows just how powerful the perception of what a return should look like when trading a player of Goldy’s stature, vs what the actual market value was for one year of his production, as I laid out in this article . I might have been a tad low in my dollar value estimate there, as I forgot to add the value of the draft pick. But essentially, it was correct. So measured against objective valuation methods this is a decent return. But no return was ever going to feel adequate, because this is Paul Goldschmidt. If that feeling was the first and deepest emotional reaction that I had, I can only imagine how it must feel for the vast majority that don’t obsess over the underlying details of this stuff as I do.

Turambar: I, like all my fellow Brutes, am crushed and utterly devastated by this trade. The golden beacon of baseball light has gone out in all our souls, and we suffer for it.

Enough on where my heart sits on the trade from a baseball realists perspective I knew it was the time to get something for Goldy, versus nothing next offseason. Rebuilding has finally reached our doorstep after many delays and bandaid transactions; the time is nigh. So as for what I think of our return, it seems “solid”. For a 1yr rental we were never gonna get a top flight prospect, so to get two young players who will start right away seems ok, and could turn toward our favor depending on if Kelly can hit and if Weaver can prove last year was a fluke.

Time shall tell.

James: When it was a bit disappointed that the pitcher included was Weaver, not because of who Weaver is as a pitcher, but because I liked Hudson as a better target. Outside of that, the trade return was pretty much in line with what I posted a short while ago in an article about Goldy trade speculation. I always felt that if the Cardinals were involved, that Carson Kelly would be part of the deal. His presence in St. Louis was creating problems, as he was ready to play,but Yadier Molina threw a fit when the manager tried to give him some days off. The return feels both underwhelming and as though the Diamondbacks received fair value.

As to whether or not they got enough back, they probably did. My concern with the return is that it sure feels like Goldschmidt was traded to address multiple 25-man roster issues in a mediocre was, rather than trying to land a new 4-5 WAR potential prospect, such as Justus Sheffield. The approach works when one is trying to build a 25-man roster on the cheap, but it means the team is still without a future impact player. Drafting those is difficult. Goldschmidt was likely their best option for landing one of those via trade. This probably is not the trade I would have made, but it is a fair trade that can be easily defended.

Makakilo: Two parts follow:

Did D-backs get enough back? In the November 4 roundtable, I wrote about two priorities for this season: improve the offense and add players with flexibility in positions played. In addition, I listed two sustainability priorities:

  • During the off-season, add long-term affordable contracts to increase sustainability.
  • Draft well (especially with first round picks), keep them, and develop them.

In that context, the returned players include a first round pick from 2014, have years of control, are affordable, and will increase sustainability. Assuming Hazen has picked well, the other part of sustainability is to keep-them and develop-them. Time will tell us whether the D-backs got a great return.

Let’s broaden our horizons. It is well known that AZ SnakePit writers, you know them, provide awesome insights. Two examples are here and here. Who from outside the AZ SnakePit has provided insights on D-back off-season trades? My list follows (caveat: my summaries of what I understood may not exactly match what they wrote.):

  • Steve Gilbert:

“The best way to envision what D-backs general manager Mike Hazen and his staff are facing this offseason is to picture a room filled with different sets of domino chains. There are multiple starting points for the dominoes, and whichever one Hazen tips over first is going to set in motion a series of moves that will take the D-backs in one direction or another.” 15 November.

One thing that doesn’t appear to be on GM Mike Hazen’s radar is a complete teardown and rebuild. Instead of a complete teardown with rash trades, there is a possibility to put the team back together sooner than a complete teardown. 6 December. As an optimist, this idea appeals to me!!

  • Bob Nightengale. He would be “stunned” if Goldschmidt is not traded. The Cardinals are a possible destination. The D-backs intent is full rebuild.
  • Ken Rosenthal. A possible return for Goldschmidt would be Dakota Hudson plus filler from the Cardinals. His interview of Ken Kendrick was very insightful.
  • Zach Buchanan. A consideration for whether to trade Goldschmidt is that “the Diamondbacks probably won’t be playoff- worthy in 2019.” 29 November.
  • Jon Morosi. The D-backs are active sellers and will not package Goldschmidt and Greinke.
  • Buster Olney. The D-backs are intent on dealing Goldschmidt.
  • Jayson Stark. Goldschmidt will be moved.
  • Keith Law. Goldschmidt is likely to be traded.
  • Nick Piecoro. They might be leaning in the direction of trading Goldschmidt. “There are other moves they are considering [not Goldschmidt and not Greinke], as well, but they do not appear to be preparing for a total teardown.”

What’s your favorite memory or image of Paul Goldschmidt?

Keegan: I run into the same problem I had writing his All Time Diamondbacks Review. Too many good memories of him. His grand slam off of Shawn Marcum in the 2011 NLDS was pretty damn special. It was obscene for a rookie to step into that moment, down two games, on the brink of elimination, to put an entire team on his back and make it a competitive series. More personally he has always been willing to sign a few things for me. He signed a special edition gold bobble head and two jerseys for me. I couldn’t help but tell him how much I appreciated everything he’s done and what he’s meant to me as a fan. He was so gracious and never seemed burdened. I’ll always remember Paul Goldschmidt the person.

ISH95: It’s not a moment, per se, but I’ll never forget his ownership of Timmeh. Here was this kid, just up from AA, with slow bat speed, just making one of the best pitchers in the league at the time his b——. It was awesome.

If you want to distill it to a perfect moment, that first home run off him in his second game. I was driving back from Meteor Crater with my family, and my brother and I were pissed that we were missing the game because we had been waiting for Goldy’s debut all season and had missed the game before for whatever reason. We were almost home, right around the Anthem shopping outlets on the I-17 when he launched it. Nick and I lost it. Never forget it.

Jack: More recently, Goldy’s 3 homer game in Wrigley Field last year. Box Score . That game was crazy, two rain delays, DBacks had a 6-1 lead, Cubs tied it up 8-8. After the second rain delay Goldy came out in the top of the 9th and hit the go ahead homer. (JD followed with one of his own). I remember investing the entire day into that marathon, and felt so rewarded and satisfied for sticking it out. Awesome Performance by Goldy that day.

Makakilo: On my bookcase is a baseball that Paul Goldschmidt hit into foul territory. When I see it, I remember to be grateful when something touched by awesomeness rolls into my life. And I remember that more important than getting hits is being a good human being. And I remember my joy in writing about the Diamondbacks. That baseball is full of beauty. I’ll keep it!

James: It comes down to a couple of memories for me. His performance in the Chicago rain game might be one of the best performances of his entire career. The way it all unfolded pretty much made the rain delays and other frustrations all worth it. The other one that sticks for me is one of his early home runs. He had already taken Tim Lincecum yard a few times in his career, and the narrative was just starting to develop that Paul Goldschmidt, in fact, had Timmeh’s pink slip. Lincecum threw one of his nastier pitches and Goldschmidt turned it around and sent it deep into the San Francisco seats. It was not so much the homer that I remember as Timmeh’s immediate reactions on the mound of , “F---ing, come on! Are you kidding me?” The man looked simultaneously crushed and amused. He clearly was impressed by Goldy’s bat and was having to just laugh a bit about the state of things, while also still having a very real, human reaction to getting slapped around, at home, against a newcomer.

Turambar: I’ll always remember very fondly sitting at a bar in Philly after a day of sales calls watching the D-backs vs Brewers in the playoffs and Goldy, then still a newly minted player, crushing majestic dongs deep into the night sky. So early in to his career I knew he’d be something special.

Not to mention I LOVED watching him crush Lincecum’s soul each and every time they faced. Seriously. Has a batter ever so thoroughly owned a pitcher?

Will his departure impact your support of the D-backs?

Keegan: Let me make it clear that I will always be a die hard fan of the D’backs, but his departure has changed how I feel about the state of the franchise. I think both of those things can be true at the same time. I’m becoming cynical about this organization I fear. I don’t think this current ownership group, and a handful of others around the league, take winning a championship seriously. The D’backs are now 18 years removed from their last title, and to be honest I don’t see one on the horizon for a substantial period of time. I don’t believe that it’s been a serious priority over the past decade that we’ve had Goldy. That’s what happens when you rip through 4 different GM’s. Too many contradictory moves during Goldy’s tenure. I’d like to believe that Hazen is going to be given a long leash to tear this structure down and build a sustainable product for the future. I’m not optimistic about the owners’ patience or sincerity in allowing him the years it will take to accomplish.

(I’d like to add a few more thoughts after sleeping on this topic). A lot has been made about Goldy’s potential decline throughout his 30’s. A reasonable concern, but I haven’t seen as many point to the other end of the spectrum. What if Goldy were to age more gracefully as Jeff Bagwell did? What if he signs a 6-8 year deal with an AL team, the Astros, Red Sox, or Yankees and wins 2 World Series rings in his twilight years? If that were to happen, and it very well could, I will guarantee you that his hat in Cooperstown will not have an Arizona Diamondbacks logo. You think fans are hurt now? Seattle Mariners fans were infuriated when Randy Johnson went in as a D’back. He won a World Series here. Fans need to brace themselves for that potential outcome, and it will hurt as much if not more than his departure.

Finally, I see this being potentially damaging to the franchise’s ability to acquire and retain elite talent. Both their own homegrown stars and top of the market free agents. Who is going to want to sign or stay here after this ownership group has shown no serious desire to retain top talent? Goldy’s introductory press conference was pretty telling. He mentioned the success of the St. Louis Cardinals organization and how he doesn’t know many players who would not want to play there. And sure, that could just be Goldy being the type of guy he is having nothing negative to say, but I believe there is truth in his statements. Who honestly feels or can say with a straight face the same things about the Arizona Diamondbacks?

ISH95: yes and no. It’s going to change my view back to how it used to be. I had just started to believe that maybe, just maybe, Hazen had convinced KK to actually run this ship like a real baseball team, with a real payroll and real attempts to make a run at the NL West title. But once again, like so many times before, another cornerstone traded for middle infielders and middle relievers that don’t cost Kendrick his precious Honus Wagner baseball cards. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me two, three, four, eight, ten times? Message received.

Jack: I remained a rabid D-Back fan even when

  • In a cost cutting move, the day after Thanksgiving 2003, World Series Co MVP & 2 time Cy Young runner up Curt Schilling was traded to the Red Sox for Casey Fossum and Brandon Lyon.(And Jorge De La Rosa, who was flipped in the Sexson trade, but we won’t go there) Happy freaking thanksgiving !
  • In a bitter power struggle that would take a dozen years to smooth over, Ken Kendrick took over as managing partner from team founder Jerry Colangelo mid season 2004
  • The 2004 team lost 111 games. That was fun.
  • 4 time shoulda been 5 time DBacks Cy Young and World series hero Randy Johnson was traded to the Mother f…...g Yankees after that nightmare of a season
  • Luis Gonzalez became a free agent after 2006 season and signed with the Mother F…..G Dodgers (a very acrimonious split with the team, he vowed to come back and stick it to the DBacks.)
  • The team changed uniform colors from Purple to Red prior to the 2007 season. A LOT of people jumped off the bandwagon after that, at least temporarily.
  • The team let Randy Johnson go a second time, to get his 300th victory in a freaking Giants uniform. (I actually tried hard to make the case for resigning Randy to JB, but to no avail)
  • After months of denigrating him in public and private by the front office and ownership , Justin Upton was traded after playing the 2012 season injured, for a group of players that took 6 years to finally produce more WAR for the Diamondbacks than Upton produced the first 3 years after leaving Arizona. (The years he was under control for) For those keeping score, Ahmed’s big year brought the total to 12 for Ariz, 10 for Upton.

I have had a lot to say about how the team is run over the years, sometimes I agreed, sometimes I haven’t. This is my team.

Makakilo: My choice would have been to extend Goldschmidt, albeit that extension may not have been a realistic option. That said, I will continue to cheer for the Diamondbacks and write about the Diamondbacks. It’s what I do. It’s my passion.

James: I’m not going anywhere. Goldschmidt getting traded was simply the business side of baseball on full display. My fandom for the Diamondbacks is not wavering a bit. Now, the fact that the Diamondbacks “had” to trade Goldschmidt, that irritates me a great deal and makes me detest ownership even more. But my problem is with ownership, not with the team. This is not a matter of Marge Schott with the Cincinnati Reds, George Steinbrenner with the Yankees, or Ted Turner with the Atlanta Braves, where it was essentially impossible to separate ownership from the team. If you disliked Schott, your dislike spread to the Reds, it’s just the way it was. The same held true in New York and Atlanta. Thankfully, Ken Kendrick is not that guy. I can dislike Aroizona’s ownership and be infuriated with their running track-record of mediocrity all I want, it doesn’t do a thing to my fandom of the Diamondbacks.

Turambar: I’m in the Brute Squad. Nuf said.

Does this make Zack Greinke’s departure inevitable?

Keegan: It should. It would be highly insulting should he stay with his salary while Goldy was pushed out. That to me signals ownership values Greinke over Goldy, and it’d be hard for me to forgive that.

ISH95: What Keegan said.

Jack: By all reports, they have been looking to move him, but there are a lot of moving parts, (The money involved, his no trade clause, limited potential trade partners, etc) and it just may not be that easy to find a match. What is clear as mud is exactly what is their goal here ? If they move Greinke, unless they eat a ton of money, they aren’t getting a good prospect back. All they will get is salary relief, (driving payroll UNDER 100M by the way). So what do they do with that savings ? Why do they need that savings ?

Makakilo: Yes for three reasons:

  • Greinke is 56% of the Diamondbacks pitching budget (starters and bullpen combined). What if he is injured? 56% is too many eggs in one basket! Better to trade him and spread the risk.
  • It appears the D-backs can trade Greinke for prospects if they eat part of the money, which would increase the sustainability of the team.
  • Goldschmidt’s departure weakens the D-back offense. Because this season the playoffs are unlikely, it would be better to spend the 2019 Greinke dollars in future seasons.

James: The short answer is yes. The longer answer is, Greinke is gone at some point, what remains to be seen is just how long it takes to move him. His salary and his no-trade list complicate things a great deal. While I still expect Greinke to be traded in the next few weeks, I would not be 100% shocked if he was a member of the opening day roster, with the team gambling that he can stay healthy so that they can move him at a later date for a deal they find more palatable.

Turambar: He gone. So yes, I totally see him getting moved. The bigger question, as all my fellow writers above noted, is how they’ll do so. I hope they at least pay a portion of his salary to ensure some solid returns. For as we’re now rebuilding, we gotta stock up on those prospects pronto.

What do you want to see the team do now?

Keegan: Tear it all the way down. The 79 win projection is too optimistic in my opinion. I see this current team struggling to win 70. The Arizona Diamondbacks will not be successful while Peralta, Ahmed, Lamb, Ray, Greinke, and Bradley are still under team control. Go all the way and trade for maximum value to restock a poor farm system. Shorten the length of time it will take for this team to be competitive with a combination of homegrown prospects and free agents.

ISH95: Burn it to the ground, pour gas on the ashes, and burn it again. No 79 win, 14th overall draft pick crap. If you’re really going to cry poor, three straight 100 loss teams and give me hope for something after the draft picks mature.

Jack: Sign Manny Macha……….sorry, just kidding. I have no clue at this point. If they are rebuilding, they should fully commit to a rebuild. If they are going for it, they should pour money into the payroll and actually go for it. As a fan I am so tired of straddling the fence, and trying to explain to people there is just as much downside risk of having multiple consecutive losing seasons by trying to straddle as there is by embarking on a down to the studs rebuild. It’s just the difference between 62 wins and 75 wins, and with the latter there is no payoff at the end. You are left grasping for the occasional flukey season every 5 years or so.

Makakilo: At the top level, increase sustainability. Pick well when adding players (both in trades and in the 2019 draft), keep them, and develop them. My immediate focus would be trade Greinke for prospects (my reasons were listed in previous question). After that, instead of a complete teardown, I would carefully look for key opportunities that balance risk and sustainability.

James: The team needs to finish what it has started. This team, as constructed, cannot compete. It won’t compete in 2019 and almost certainly will not compete in 2020. With that being the case, tear it down and get on with the process of the rebuild already. Move Greinke. Move Peralta. Either extend or trade Robbie Ray. Trade away or let walk, the rest of the impending free agents. Sign Yosei Kikuchi (not going to happen). Be more diligent with the draft process and land some successful picks. Take all that money that has been saved and invest it in a jumpstart to the rebuild in 2021. The team is going to be well-below $100 million in salary if/when they move Greinke and will drop even lower with the departures of other veteran players like Peralta,Chafin, Hirano. That should put them in a position where they can, much like the Cubs did a few seasons ago, build around their new youth movement and fill the gaps with some impact free agent signings.

Turambar: Burn this mother $&@!er to the ground! Unload contracts we don’t need and dive full in to the youth movement. Rebuild the farm systems as best we can this upcoming draft and see what we got in our young prospects. It’ll take several years, but sometimes that reset button needs to be triggered. Prepare thyselves to embrace the suck, these next few seasons will be rough.

The team non-tendered Chris Owings, Brad Boxberger and Shelby Miller. Do you agree?

Keegan: Yes, with all three. Too easy of a decision.

ISH95: two of the three probably should have been non-tendered a while ago, so yeah.

Jack: I’m on record for calling for Miller to be non tendered last year. Non tendering all 3 this year was the pretty obvious move, easily identified by most.

Turambar: Yup, especially Miller. That was a no-brainer and I still fume about how much that trade screwed us.

Makakilo: Yes. In the October 7 roundtable, I wrote that I would non-tender those three. Also, I considered a non-tender for Souza, but changed my mind. “Souza is exactly the kind of player that my new hitting coach/consultant can fix! Souza is a keeper!” -- Makakilo

James: I am in the same boat as Jack on this one.

What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

Keegan: Bad Santa with Billy Bob Thornton.

ISH95: It’s a Wonderful Life. Always have to make sure I’m cutting onions while I watch it.

Jack: The first Home Alone. Before the repetitive sequels, and the somewhat disturbing teen and young adulthood years of Macaulay Culkin, the first movie was fresh, funny, and yes cute. (Context: My two oldest boys were 7 and 3 at the time) Pesci and Stern were comedic gold. You gotta remember this was right after Pesci did Goodfellas , and somehow the juxtaposition of those two roles made it even funnier to me. I miss John Candy. I don’t apologize for this choice.

Makakilo: On my office wall, I have an autographed photo of Jimmy Stewart. Often, I see the best-in-people, which is on display in It’s a Wonderful Life.

James: This is a rough one for me, largely because movies I think about as Christmas movies really aren’t, they just happen to be shown more around the holidays. For an actual Christmas movie, I would have to go with Miracle on 34th Street (preferably the Maureen O’Hara version) or A Christmas Story if I am just looking for mindless fun to have on in the background. If I go with a holiday season movie that isn’t really a Christmas movie, I’m partial to the original version of The Bishop’s Wife.

However, I am one of those crazy people that classifies Die Hard as a Christmas movie. That one takes the cake for me.

Turambar: Die Hard.

Jim: I’ll just leave this here.