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Snake Bytes, 2/2: Baseball begins THIS MONTH

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Ok, not meaningful in any way, but it will still be baseball! Woo-hoo! And, please treat this as this weekend’s open thread for whatever.

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Arizona Diamondbacks v Detroit Tigers Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Team news

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks news: Arizona signs 2-year deal catcher Alex Avila - Why didn’t they just bring Iannetta back, what with the price being basically the same? “Completely understand the question,” General Manager Mike Hazen said. In Hazen’s mind, though, it came down to one thing: timing.Iannetta signed in the first week of December. At that point, the Diamondbacks were exploring other options at the catching position – trade options, to be specific – players that they hoped would serve as more long-term answers... The Diamondbacks, according to a source, made a two-year offer to Iannetta worth $4 million.

[FanGraphs] Diamondbacks Sign One of Last Year’s Best Hitters - Avila was an above-average framer years ago, and he probably hasn’t forgotten how to do that. The Diamondbacks must not be all that concerned. Or, maybe they know Avila won’t catch well, but they’re happy to have him anyway. The bat is strong, and Mathis is around to be the defensive specialist. I don’t know precisely what the Diamondbacks are thinking. On the defensive side, there are questions remaining, about Avila, but also about the metrics themselves. On the offensive side? That’s where Alex Avila gets to shine. He’s going to give the ballclub something it didn’t have.

[Fanrag] Inside Baseball MLB Notes - The Diamondbacks may have come the closest to a Manny Machado deal. Some around the Orioles said that while no offer was quite good enough, Arizona probably gave it the best shot. He would have been a shortstop for the D-backs. Their offer may have included Brandon Drury and Anthony Banda.

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks, Maricopa County may be close to Chase Field deal - The Arizona Diamondbacks and Maricopa County want more time to negotiate privately over Chase Field, and at least one official is optimistic of a resolution "sooner rather than later." The parties were supposed to give an update in court last week about talks related to the team's desire to seek a new stadium. Instead, both parties requested mediation continue through Feb. 15.

[Inside the 'Zona] D-Backs Prospects Through the Years (Part 1) - The fact that the D-backs only have two prospects worthy of top 100 consideration isn’t a good thing, but it did get me thinking: how often has this been the case? Only Anthony Banda made the lists last year and since the team has traded guys like Dansby Swanson and Touki Toussaint in recent years, this kind of thing has some precedent. When you don’t have much money to spend, you find other ways, I guess. Turning to Baseball America, I decided to look back through the all-time top 100 and look for the Diamondbacks that have made the list over the years.

[Reno Gazette Journal] Talking baseball with Reno Aces and Diamondbacks - The Aces should start the season with some stability at manager as Greg Gross returns to lead the team. Last year, Jerry Narron was announced as Aces manager, but in April, he took over as interim bench coach of the Diamondbacks when bench coach Ron Gardenhire left the team on a leave of absence to recover from prostate cancer surgery. Hazen said Gross has a calm demeanor, which is a big help for the players, and that they play hard for him. Narron will be with the Diamondbacks again this season as a bench coach.

[Arizona Sports] Bradley, Arians team up with Special Olympics at Phoenix Open - For Bradley, the event was an important reminder to keep life in context. “It’s a great way to put things in perspective,” he said. “To know that you can come out here because of a name or a sport you play, it genuinely can change how someone feels. “You hear athletes say it all the time, but we have a great platform. We have a great opportunity to impact people, way beyond baseball. You want to take advantage of that and you want to do it to the best of your ability.”

[AZ Central] Patrick Corbin's caddie jumps in lake after Corbin wins Waste Management Phoenix Open Pro-Am - Archie Bradley commands all the headlines (for good reason), but it was another Diamondbacks pitcher who left the Waste Management Phoenix Open Pro-Am in the spotlight on Wednesday. Patrick Corbin's team – including former Cardinals kicker Jay Feely and two-time defending Phoenix Open champion Hideki Matsuyama – won the Pro-Am. Corbin's brother, Kevin Corbin, who was caddying for him, celebrated the win by jumping into the lake on the 18th hole, a celebration Corbin posted on Instagram, naturally.

And, elsewhere...

[ESPN] Major League Baseball proposes pace-of-game changes with no pitch clock - Manfred was in California for owners meetings Thursday, and he told reporters generally that MLB is willing to defer implementation of a pitch clock for the 2018 season if the players agree to guidelines designed to reduce the average time of game. That was the headliner of a proposal sent to the union in the aftermath of a Jan. 23 meeting between representatives from the union and Major League League, but was just one of many details, according to an official on the team side who described the proffer.

[The Athletic] Remembering the beloved Kevin Towers, the life of any party - Gibson recalls Towers talking about a doctor who asked him at the outset of his illness, “Do you want me to tell you the truth?” Towers replied yes—he wanted to know exactly what he was up against so he could attack it. “You need a miracle,” the doctor said. “Well, I’m your miracle,” Towers shot back. Axelrod shares a similar story, about a time in Chicago a year ago when he and Towers were together and a doctor told Towers he probably had only two months to live. Towers recently had recalled that conversation, Axelrod said, asking, “Remember that? Well, here I am.”

[Bleacher Report] Why Mark Appel, Perhaps the Biggest Bust in MLB History, Is Stepping Away at 26 - The long minor league bus rides, the isolation during midseason injury rehab, the time away from his family—it all started to wear him down. The game he once loved wasn't as fun as it used to be. He'd lost his place in it. The team he was destined to star on was cruising to 101 wins, and he was rehabbing yet another injury. Asking himself the same question, over and over again. Is baseball what he is supposed to be doing with his life?

[The Ringer] The Marlins’ Latest Fire Sale Is Already Record-Setting - After finishing first in every variety of combined outfield WAR last season, the Marlins now project to finish last in the same metric this season, according to data from FanGraphs, which would make them the second team (alongside the 2015-16 Diamondbacks) in baseball’s modern era to go from first to worst in outfield WAR.

[Aeizona Sports] Adam Rosales signs minor-league deal with Phillies - After a stint with the Arizona Diamondbacks, infielder Adam Rosales reportedly signed a minor-league deal with Philadelphia, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. The deal will pay Rosales $1.75 million if he makes the major league roster. The 34-year-old Rosales was acquired at the trade deadline last season in exchange for minor league pitcher Jeferson Mejia. Rosales hit .202/.227/.369 with three home runs and drove in nine runs in 34 games.