[D’backs.com] D-backs, Marte agree on 5-year deal - In an unexpected move, the Arizona Diamondbacks signed middle infielder Ketel Marte to five year $24 million dollar extension. There are also two club options at $10 million and $12 million, respectively, with $1 million buyouts for each option, so the deal could potentially become a seven year agreement. Marte will earn a $2 million signing bonus, $1 million in 2018, $2 million in 2019, $4 million in 2020, $6 million in 2021, and $8 million 2022. My talented co-writer, James Atwood, offered valuable insight in stating that the Diamondbacks have essentially protected themselves from a breakout performance by Marte as he could easily earn more than that amount through arbitration with a few strong seasons. Conversely, there is also risk assumed by the Diamondbacks should he not progress or suffer injury going forward, but that is no different than a multiyear contract extension with any player. Marte has worked extremely hard this offseason in his native Dominican Republic, so this deal could potentially be team friendly just as Goldschmidt’s 2013 extension currently is.
“I stand firm on that by saying he’s continuing to grow,” [Torey Lovullo] added. “Given what we know of him and the process that he’s following, that if he continues on that, he should be a very, very special player.”
[Arizona Sports] D-backs to start season with numerous Opening Day pregame festivities - Folks, we are two days away from the start of the 2018 regular season. Two more sleeps. Those of you who will be attending the game in person, as I will be, will want to get there early to take in all of the festivities. Awards from the 2017 season will be given to recipients, there will by a flyover courtesy of Luke Air Force Base, and Roger Clyne will emerge from his slumber in the crypt of Chase Field to perform the National Anthem.
[AZ Central] Arizona Diamondbacks’ lineup construction looks beyond the traditional archetypes - Torey Lovullo has a plethora of options available to insert as a leadoff hitter. He could go with a speedster such as Ketel Marte or Jarrod Dyson. Alternatively, he has well rounded players David Peralta and A.J. Pollock at his disposal for that role as well. All four men are capable of getting on base, perhaps the most important trait of a leadoff hitter, and can cause havoc on the basepaths for opposing ballclubs when they do. Regardless, having all four men in the lineup could make for an offense that is tough to get out.
“Certain people have different skill sets,” Pollock said. “Dyson, he can fly. When he gets on base, he disrupts a lot of things. So that’s a different element. He’s got world-class speed. David’s really well-rounded. He can hit, he can run, hit for power. There are just different types of players, and it all fits together for a pretty dynamic lineup.”
[The Athletic] With a few new tweaks, Taijuan Walker is finding his zone - The entire Diamondbacks’ starting rotation went through a change last season, relying more heavily on successful secondary pitches, which led to dramatic success as a staff. Taijuan Walker was part of that revolution in scrapping his cutter for a slider variant. That resulted in an offering which looked like a fastball coming out of his hand, but fooled hitters with vastly different movement after the “decision point” to swing. Continuing to improve that pitch, along with the installation of the humidor, could possibly take him to the potential he was suspected to have as a prospect in the Seattle Mariners organization.
“I know our guys are making subtle adjustments all the time, but I know he bought into what we’re trying to do and talk about as far as pitch selection and what his repertoire was,” Lovullo said. “I know that it’s coming. It’s a year later, a year more improved and I know that he’s bought into what he needs to do to be effective with all of his pitches.”
Around the League
[MLB.com] White Sox rehire man who wrongly spent 23 years in jail - Nevest Coleman was incarcerated for 23 years after being erroneously convicted of first degree murder and aggravated sexual assault. Prior to being sent to prison for a crime he did not commit Coleman was a member of the grounds crew at Cominskey Park. DNA testing aided in proving his innocence, and after a job interview with former coworker Jerry Powe, Coleman once again finds himself as a member of the grounds crew.
“I was angry in there. I was upset that I was locked up,” Coleman said. “But once I got out, I realized that you can’t take that anger back to the streets and to your family. If I’m miserable, then everybody else around me will be miserable. If I’m angry, everybody else will be angry. Why be angry? It’s time to live my life now. I have my son, daughter, three grandbabies, sisters and brothers. I don’t need them to be miserable and angry because I am. I live day by day and do the best I can. There isn’t any sense being angry anymore.”
[CBS Sports] Ranking all 30 MLB teams’ official Twitter hashtags for the 2018 season - I do not really care for subjective rankings of this kind too much, so this is mainly included so you can sort through the various hashtags around the league and come to your own conclusions. #KeepCubsFansAwayFromPortillos
[Fanrag] Kingery extension illustrates dark MLB reality - What the Philadelphia Phillies did with Scott Kingery, and what the Arizona Diamondbacks did with Ketel Marte, signing a player to a multiyear contract prior to being eligible for arbitration, is not a new phenomenon. Kevin Towers and the Diamondbacks used the same strategy with Paul Goldschmidt in 2013 as did the Houston Astros with Jose Altuve prior to the most recent contract he signed last week. There is no given that these deals heavily favor an ownership group because a career ending injury results in dead money on the books for multiple seasons. It is not as black and white as owners being cheap and trying to pocket as much money as possible. It is as much about players wanting to guarantee life changing money in the face of uncertainty. Two parties have to come to an agreement, so this represents a meeting of the minds and a compromise for all involved. However, the MLBPA needs to find a way to get more money in the hands of young players.
[Sporting News] Tweets, trolls and time: An inside look at what it’s like to run an MLB social media account - Rarely ever do we get the opportunity to learn about the body responsible for our favorite team’s social media accounts. Often I am honestly convinced that some people think that it is Ken Kendrick, Derrick Hall, Mike Hazen, or even Torey Lovullo himself responding to fan questions on social media based on the questions being asked. There are times when that is true, #DHallChat for example, but teams actually have an employee on payroll who is in charge of the social media accounts. Social media is a blessing and a curse because it has changed how and when we receive our information, but we are also rubbing elbows with others who want to be difficult for the sake of attention.