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Snake Bytes 3/20: That Was Ugly

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Those bullpen options were looking bountiful up until yesterday.

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MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Diamondbacks News

[Arizona Sports] D-backs’ pitchers get shelled in loss to the White Sox - So much for those Round Table questions and answers. Kris Medlen, Neftali Feliz, and Albert Suarez combined to surrender 13 earned runs in a 15-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Monday. Feliz failed to even record a single out and allowed all 5 batters he faced to reach base via a hit. On the other hand, Fernando Salas, another name in the bullpen mix, went 1 13 scoreless surrendering only 1 hit.

“We love what we see out of him,” manager Torey Lovullo said of Salas after the game. “He’s been throwing the ball very well, locating the ball, changing speeds. The things we need him to do, he’s been doing. What I keep telling everybody is ‘keep doing your job and making these decisions as hard as possible for us.’”

[D’backs.com] Greinke officially out of running to start opener - Not much of a surprise here that Greinke is not on track to start on Opening Day, but he will likely be available for the first series against the Colorado Rockies barring any setbacks. Torey Lovullo has no shortage of options to take the mound on Opening Day. Greinke has two more starts lined up before the regular season to ensure he is 100%.

“Every staff has a number one, and he fits the bill perfectly,” Lovullo said of Greinke. “He started last year. He won 17 games last year. He was our staff ace. He carried us numerous times in numerous situations, and he would have deserved the Opening Day start.”

[D’backs.com] Competition for closer’s role heating up - The closer role is yet another position still up for grabs with less than two weeks until Opening Day. Competition remains between Yohsihisa Hirano, Brad Boxberger, and Archie Bradley. Boxberger has the most experience at the Major League level of the three, but Bradley is perhaps the most versatile of the group given his ability to pitch multiple innings if needed. It might be best to start Yoshi in lower leverage innings to get him acclimated to the game in the United States.

[Arizona Sports] Diamondbacks get festive with 2018 holiday uniforms, hats and socks - Designs have been released for 2018 holiday games. Black and olive green has always been one of my favorite color combinations, so I am particularly excited about the Memorial Day hat. Not quite sure about that color combo paired with Sedona red for the jersey as I think they could have scrapped the red altogether and made it look more appealing. I am sure Charlie is dusting off his spreadsheet as we speak.

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks’ Steven Souza looking to trim back on strikeouts - Steven Souza Jr. had the 8th most strikeouts in the entire league last season at 179 and was only 1 away from a three way tie for 6th on that list. Paul Goldschmidt had 147 and Jake Lamb 152 for comparison, both with more plate appearances than Souza. Strikeouts are inevitable for players capable of hitting 30 home runs in a season, but Souza would benefit from putting the ball in play more in 2018.

“Pitchers are going to make great pitches, I’m going to get fooled, it’s going to happen,” said Souza, who struck out 179 times last year. “It’s eliminating the ones where I’m going out of the zone. That’s the biggest thing I want to pay attention to. You look at all the power hitters in the game, they all strike out. But if I can cut down 30 of those, that’s 30 opportunities I could homer, a walk, a base hit, something productive. That’s my goal. If I can take 10 to 30 of those away, that’s a huge success for me.”

[The Athletic] Jeff Mathis, career .198 hitter, has joined the launch-angle revolution - At nearly 35 years old, the chances of Jeff Mathis demonstrating any ability at the plate outside of what he has in his career is slim to none. For his career, he has been 48% worse than the league average hitter in terms of OPS+. Mathis’ value undoubtedly comes from his defensive ability behind the plate. However, he realizes that he still has a few years left to give to the game and is at least willing to put in the effort to better himself with the bat. Mathis hopes that changes in his swing will allow him to be more productive at the bottom of the lineup.

“I’m not playing this game just to be half-assed or mediocre,” Mathis said. “Any opportunity there is to get better, I’m going to try to jump on it.”

Around the League

[The New York Times] A Curveball From the New Tax Law: It Makes Baseball Trades Harder - I am mainly including this because it led to some interesting discussions on Twitter yesterday. Personally, I highly doubt that the Internal Revenue Service is going to levy capital gains tax on teams after a trade, but the recent change in tax law apparently has caught the attention of professional sports leagues.

The law changed a corner of the tax code that mostly applies to farmers, manufacturers and other businesses that until recently could swap certain assets like trucks and machinery tax-free. But by adding a single word to the newly written tax code — “real” — the law now allows only real estate swaps to qualify for that special treatment. That change is meant to capture more federal revenue, in order to partly offset reductions in business and personal income tax rates. It forces manufacturers, farmers and others to pay more in capital gains taxes, if they trade an asset for something more valuable. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the change will raise $31 billion over the next decade.

[CBS Sports] The Braves demoted Ronald Acuna and it’s a reminder that baseball is still a business - The Atlanta Braves stand to earn an additional year of control over Ronald Acuna by starting him in the minor leagues to begin the season. They will have to keep him down there for two weeks if that is their true intention, similar to what the Chicago Cubs did with Kris Bryant in 2015. The Braves of course state that they are doing what is in the best interest of Acuna’s development.

[Forbes] Ranking All 30 Of MLB’s Ballparks: First To Worst - It is that time of year again. Chase Field subjectively checks in at #27 on Maury Brown’s list. I am a man of simple requests and only ask for a functioning air conditioning in the stadium or weather pleasant enough to open the roof and panels. Functioning bathrooms are optional. Fun fact: by the time the Texas Rangers begin play in their new ballpark, Chase Field will be the 13th oldest stadium in the league.

[ESPN] Dodgers adding ‘Kirk Gibson seat’ to commemorate 1988 homer - Tack a run on the board for the bad guys. The Los Angeles Dodgers will be donating some of the ticket sales proceeds of the seat where Kirk Gibson’s infamous game winning home run of the 1988 World Series landed to the Kirk Gibson Foundation. Gibson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s after his managerial stint with the Arizona Diamondbacks and now does broadcasting work with the Detroit Tigers.