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Snake Bytes, 2/9: It’s the Final Countdown

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Pitchers and catchers report NEXT WEEK...

FBL-RUS-WC-2018-TICKETS Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images

Team news

[dbacks.com] Diamondbacks eager to build on 2017 season - What the D-backs do not want to do, however, is repeat their path after surprise postseason appearances in 2007 and '11, when they dealt prospects in an effort to go all in. It didn't work either time and the moves made after the '11 NL West Division title in particular set back the farm system. Since his hiring following the 2016 season, Hazen has stressed sustainability as the organization's goal, and the moves he's made, as well as the ones he hasn't, this offseason reflect that. Outside of reliever Brad Boxberger, who will compete for the closer's spot this spring, the additions Hazen has made have been done with dollars and not young talent.

[Arizona Sports] Nightengale: J.D. Martinez still of D-backs' interest as Red Sox hold out - Unless things take a drastic turn, J.D. Martinez won’t be with the Arizona Diamondbacks come the start of the 2018 season. Still, Arizona is holding out hope and remains in the mix to retain the free agent outfielder. A lot of things just have to happen for that patience to pay off. “I still think he’s destined for Boston,” said USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, who joined Doug & Wolf of 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Thursday. “I know Arizona’s talked to him about a short-term contract, a one-year deal, and they say there’s still talk about long-term.”

[Fanrag] D-Backs Join Red Sox In JD Martinez Stare Down - Although the Boston Red Sox have been seen as the main competitor to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the J.D. Martinez derby, for now the bigger threat could be a holdout (or at least a decision by Martinez to remain unsigned). With two teams believed to be at very similar levels – word is, both have signaled a willingness to go to five years at more than $100 million (how much more isn’t known), and agent Scott Boras says an earlier report of Arizona only offering a one-year deal is “not accurate” – and a belief and resolve in his position, Martinez has told people close to him that he intends to remain unsigned unless something changes.

[dbacks.com] D-backs enter camp aiming to fill closer role - The team has declined to name a closer, but in his one year on the job, manager Torey Lovullo expressed a preference for having one designated ninth-inning pitcher. Lovullo steadfastly stood behind Rodney when the right-hander had a couple of tough stretches during the season. "I don't know that we'll walk into Spring Training with a declared closer," Hazen said. "We'll probably save that for walking out of Spring Training. I think we have an opportunity to take a look and see what roles best fit everybody."

[Arizona Sports] ESPN: Diamondbacks' Ketel Marte could be the next breakout player - Not only has Marte improved as a hitter during his time in Arizona, but he has also taken a large leap forward in his defense. In 2016 with the Mariners, Marte led the MLB with 21 errors committed as a shortstop. Last season, the 24-year-old Dominican player only had nine errors. With the Diamondbacks’ first spring training game against the Colorado Rockies only a couple of weeks away, Marte will be a player that fans will keep an eye on throughout the season.

[Baseball Prospectus] Cold Takes: Command and Conquer - Where this leaves Godley as a breakout star is a matter of outlook. Godley isn’t exactly an outlier in any one of these areas, but combining them all is a bit of a tightrope act; it’s easy to envision one piece of the foundation giving out, and the whole structure crumbling down. Or, for the optimistically inclined, you could counter that Godley has accomplished all of this without actually really handling the most basic element of pitching, throwing strikes, and thus is afforded plenty of room to grow as he gets older.

[dbacks.com] Inbox: Will D-backs look to improve OF depth? - If the D-backs trade a middle infielder, which one and for what piece of the puzzle? My guess on the middle infielder who is most likely to be moved would be Brandon Drury, for a couple of reasons. First, I think he's probably a better third baseman than second baseman, but with Jake Lamb there, third is not really an option. Second, I think of all those middle-infield guys, he would probably bring the best return. (Ketel Marte would also likely bring back some nice players, but I think they want to hang on to him.) Owings is unlikely to be traded because of his versatility and leadership in the clubhouse.

[USA Today] Diamondbacks offseason report: Out to prove 2017 was no fluke - The Diamondbacks were one of baseball’s bigger surprises in 2017, winning 93 regular-season games and advancing out of the National League wild-card round with a rousing win against the Colorado Rockies. Knowing they’re bringing back much of their team, they focused on rebuilding the bullpen. Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic gives an inside look at the team

[Inside the 'Zona] D-backs Prospects Through the Years (Part 2) - It’s fun to look back with the benefit of hindsight. The D-backs have traded high profile guys like Upton, Bauer and Swanson in the past with mixed results. They’ve also traded away guys like Max Scherzer but traded for guys like Luis Gonzalez. Just like very organization, there’s some good, some bad, and plenty in the middle.

[Suns.com] Phoenix Suns to Host D-Backs Night on March 20 - The Phoenix Suns will celebrate D-backs Night on Tuesday, March 20 when they host the Detroit Pistons at Talking Stick Resort Arena at 7 p.m. D-backs Night will feature appearances by a number of Arizona Diamondbacks players and personalities, who will interact with fans and participate in various game night activities. The special evening celebrates the Suns’ downtown Phoenix neighbor and creates a unique opportunity for players, coaches and staff from both teams to interact and engage with each other. Last September, the D-backs hosted a Suns Night at Chase Field.

ColllusionGate

[For The Win] FTW Explains: What are MLB players so mad about? - Wait, the baseball players are mad? Yes, some of them are. Most of the sport’s top free agents remain unsigned less than a week before spring training starts, and the unusual lack of apparent interest from teams has led to suggestions of collusion and threats of a spring-training boycott from agents, players and the MLB Players Association. The MLBPA distanced itself from talk of a spring holdout, but many of its players are still speaking out on behalf of their unsigned brethren.

[Kansas City Star] Why baseball’s unemployed stars should blame themselves and prepare for a bigger fight - Baseball’s internal and escalating war is between millionaires and billionaires, between men rich enough to charter their own jets and men who own jets. The fight is over relative crumbs in an industry worth billions of dollars from a game so many of us love and played as kids. That money is a direct product of that love. There are no sympathetic characters here. Not the ballplayers unimpressed by nine-figure contract offers, and not the owners who assume no real risk and certainly won’t use falling payrolls to lower ticket prices.

And, elsewhere...

[Brew Crew Ball] Brewers to hold Wisconsin resident only ticket presale for Chicago Cubs games - "Starting tomorrow, Wisconsin residents will be able to purchase tickets to all of the games against the Cubs ahead of regular game sales opening on February 17. The effort here is to get more fans of the Brewers into the stadium and mitigate the impact that the Cubs fans have when playing at Miller Park. While this idea might help get more Brewers fans into the seats for those games, it’s also has several flaws. Cubs fans are not limited to Illinois alone." Guess it's not just us! Never ceases to amaze me how many proud residents of Chicago appear to have fled the actual city...

[MLB Daily Dish] Padres sign Tom Wilhelmsen to minor-league deal - The Padres have signed right-handed reliever Tom Wilhelmsen to a minor-league deal with an invitation to major-league spring training. Wilhelmsen was forced to settle for a minor-league deal with the Diamondbacks last offseason, and though he made the Opening Day roster with an impressive spring training, he was designated for assignment in June. After getting cut by the Diamondbacks, Wilhelmsen joined the Brewers on a minor-league deal in late June and posted an alarming 13.15 ERA and 2.62 WHIP with 11 strikeouts and seven walks through 13 innings at Triple-A Colorado Springs. He was released from the Milwaukee organization on August 5.

Pitcher List – Every Pitcher Visualized - Pitcher List is a baseball analytics site created by Nick Pollack. It houses the Pitcher GIF database, which features GIFs of every pitcher’s repertoire in the majors, and weekly rankings of the top fantasy players each week.