[D’backs.com] Corbin, Delgado impress in instrasquad game - A handful of the Diamondbacks’ projected starters were absent from last evenings’ frigid Spring Training contest against the San Diego Padres at Peoria Sports Complex. While the Brute Squad and myself were freezing our rears off out in the West Valley, Patrick Corbin and Randall Delgado got their reps in over at Salt River Fields. For Delgado, it was the first game action he has seen so far this year. The Diamondbacks have been taking it slowly with him to prevent him from re-injuring his throwing elbow that kept him out of the second half of last season. Brad Boxberger is also expected to make his first game appearance this Thursday against the Milwaukee Brewers.
[D’backs.com] D-backs sign catcher Recker to Minors deal - Add another name to the seemingly endless amount of depth options the Diamondbacks have at catcher. The team announced yesterday the have signed 34 year old Anthony Recker to a minor league contract. He has never played in more than 58 games in an MLB season, and that came in 2014 with the New York Mets.
[Arizona Sports] Diamondbacks expect to have ‘a really, really strong bench’ in 2018 - The further that Spring Training drags on, and the more that Torey Lovullo is asked about position battles and bench roles, it becomes increasingly unclear which players will occupy the final roster spots. My expectation before players reported to camp was that the club would once again carry three catchers due to the fact that Chris Herrmann was even tendered a contract. When asked about that prior to Monday’s contest, Lovullo was non-committal.
“We haven’t yet determined that. We’ve been bouncing back-and-forth with a lot of different thoughts. Having that third catcher is a great luxury to me as I manage through the game,” Lovullo said, before the D-backs played the San Diego Padres under the lights at Peoria Stadium. “We’re going to try to just pick the best 25 and talk about combinations and if that lands at two or three catchers, we haven’t yet determined that.”
[Arizona Sports] Veteran pitcher Kris Medlen hoping to land job with Diamondbacks - Non roster invitee Kris Medlen can opt out of his minor league contract if he is not added to the 40 man roster by March 27th. Because of the lack of depth options who can make an emergency spot start, Kris Medlen could possibly be the person who pushes Chris Herrmann from the active roster. He was a an effective starter with the Atlanta Braves in 2013 before Tommy John Surgery sidetracked his career.
“I’m at the point in my career where I want to play baseball and I want to do it healthy and wherever that it is, that’s kind of where it’ll be,” [Medlen] said. “But, I’m confident I can make the team and I’ll maintain that until they tell me otherwise. “I’m just fortunate to have the career I’ve already had. Just trying to hang on as long as I can because it’s so much fun. It’s cool to bounce around and see different organizations and meet different guys and stuff, so it’s just all positive from my standpoint.”
[The Athletic] Before he could develop, Steven Souza Jr. had to grow up - Steven Souza Jr.’s story of his turnaround is nothing short of remarkable. After testing positive for Ritalin and being banned for 50 games in 2010, he left the game entirely in 2011 when he had a well documented argument with manager in the batting cage. He was difficult to approach in the clubhouse due to his attitude, and it prevented him from building many meaningful relationships. Brent Lillibridge worked with him for a few offseasons, and one day asked if Souza would like to attend church with him. At that point, he asked and was granted permission to return to the Washington Nationals in 2012, but it would likely be his last shot with the organization. His newfound faith and maturity allowed him to finally reach his goal of becoming a Major League Baseball player.
Around the League
[Washington Post] As chasm grows between MLB teams and players, Cardinals and Paul DeJong may have found a bridge - In sort of a quasi SnakePit Round Table yesterday evening, at Hooters of all places, Jim, ISH95, and myself all discussed the changed free agency market and what it could mean for the league going forward. If like minded front offices are going to continue showing an increased reluctance to offer multi-year nine figure contracts to players in their 30’s, that money could likely make its way to the younger players in the league. What that could possibly look like is anyone’s guess. Shortening the length of control a team has over a player prior to him entering free agency would be a disadvantage to teams like the Diamondbacks who rely on retaining players when they are young and cheap. I personally suggested expanding a player’s number of arbitration years without altering the span of control in an effort to increase earnings for a player in his prime. Another alternative is the route the Cardinals just took with Paul DeJong, similar to what the Diamondbacks did with Paul Goldschmidt prior to the 2013 season. It is undoubtedly a risk should that player perform poorly or become injured, but as we have seen with Goldy it can also pay enormous dividends.
[MLB Daily Dish] Mariners, Ichiro close to deal - One of the greatest hitters of all time is heading back to where his career began, at least in the United States. The Seattle Mariners are working to finalize a one year Major League deal to reunite with future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki. This might be the 44 year olds’ farewell tour as he could have possibly remained unsigned had the Mariners not been dealing with injuries to Mitch Haniger and Ben Gamel.
[Houston Chronicle] A definitive ranking of every MLB mascot - Baxter checks in at #25 according to the Houston Chronicle with a score of 21 out of 50 points. As always, he was docked for having no relation to the team name. Seriously, who thinks a giant snake would make a good mascot? Even more interesting, I was not aware that not every team even has a mascot. The three teams without a mascot? The Yankees, Dodgers, and Angels. How would you rank some of the best and worst mascots?
[ESPN Insider] Yankees, Dodgers top Astros in MLB Future Power Rankings - This is different than the in season power rankings that are usually done in that it attempts to project a five year outlook for all thirty teams based on current talent, future talent, financial support, and the front office. I am not entirely surprised to see the Diamondbacks at #21 on this list. Mike Hazen will have his work cut out for him the next two offseasons because A.J. Pollock, Patrick Corbin, and Paul Goldschmidt are all scheduled to reach free agency, and the farm system of replacements behind them is not particularly a strong one. However, quite a bit can change in those next two seasons.