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Snake Bytes, 2/1: The calendar turns

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The last baseball-free month in Arizona until December has ended.

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Arizona Diamondbacks v Colorado Rockies Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Team news

[The Athletic] Torey Lovullo will stick around, no matter what the Diamondbacks turn out to be - Hardly anyone disagrees that the team’s prospects will be dimmer for the next few seasons than they were in the first two years of Lovullo’s tenure, and that’s with Hazen trying to keep his core together for the most part. They’ll dim even further – even if they brighten in the much longer term – if Hazen ultimately decides to cash in his trade chips at the trade deadline or beyond. That may mean Lovullo is tasked with getting the most out of players who feel like the organization isn’t doing everything possible to give them the greatest chance to win at that particular moment. (If they were, after all, Goldschmidt would still be on the team.) It almost certainly will mean managing the expectations of players who might be traded if the team doesn’t hang in the race this season.

[FanGraphs] The Diamondbacks Will Try to Create a Center Fielder - It’s not hard to figure out how the Diamondbacks wound up in this situation. They weren’t expected to keep Pollock around, and the only other internal, viable center fielder was Jarrod Dyson, unless you’re the world’s biggest fan of Socrates Brito. The perception of the center-field market is that it’s thin, with most good players already locked where they are. So with quality center fielders too hard to pry away, the Diamondbacks are looking to a 25-year-old middle infielder. He has all of 11 games — 94 innings — of professional center-field experience.

[Fangraphs] David Peralta took a step forward in 2018 One of the things that contributed to this increase was that Peralta became much better at hitting sliders. Being able to crush sliders is going to be a nice skill to have in this new era of baseball when sliders are more common than sinkers. Peralta saw nearly 100 more sliders than he had in any previous season. According to pitch values, there were only five batters who hit sliders better than Peralta, and two of them were MVPs.

[AZ Central] Bradley's golf bag stolen at Phoenix Open - Secure the bag has taken on a literal meaning for Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Archie Bradley. On Wednesday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Bradley's day started off like any other. In fact, it was probably better than most... But the day took a devastating turn, when Bradley realized he couldn't find his golf bag. The momentary panic of misplacing it quickly gave way to a more sinister possibility: Bradley believed his bag had been stolen.

[MLB Trade Rumors] Diamondbacks Designate Jake Barrett - The Diamondbacks have designated righty Jake Barrett for assignment, per a club announcement. His roster spot goes to just-signed righty Greg Holland. Though he got off to a promising start back in 2016, when he worked off of a mid-nineties heater to generate a 12.3% swinging-strike rate, Barrett has since taken a step back. His whiff rate has trended down and his walk rate has gone up, leaving him with little in the way of MLB opportunities in 2018.

[dbacks.com] Holland joins D-backs on 1-year deal - Holland, who split the 2018 season between the Cardinals and Nationals, gives the D-backs an additional closer option as well as increased depth for the back end of games. "Torey is going to ultimately decide that," D-backs general manager Mike Hazen said of the closer's role. "[Holland's] got back-end experience. He's going to pitch in high-leverage situations. I think last year you saw Archie close out some games when [Brad] Boxberger wasn't available. The main thing is, Holland gives us depth and options."

[Arizona Sports] Four D-backs named in Keith Law's top 100 MLB prospects of 2019 - Following the release of MLB Pipeline’s top 100 prospects of 2019, ESPN’s Keith Law has released his own version of the rankings in two parts. While three D-backs found themselves in MLB Pipeline’s top 100, four D-backs had their name land on Law’s list. Jazz Chisholm (32), Jon Duplantier (40), Daulton Varsho (89) and Kristian Robinson (93).

And, elsewhere...

[ESPN] Ranking the worst current contracts on all 30 teams - "After a less-than-stellar first season with the Diamondbacks, Greinke topped 200 innings the past two seasons with ERAs of 3.20 and 3.21 in a hitters park. His 10.3 WAR over those two seasons ranks eighth among starting pitchers, so the idea that Greinke hasn't lived up to the contract doesn't really add up. That said, if Greinke's contract was viewed as a good deal, they'd have traded him this offseason -- and that hasn't happened." Uh... No love for Yasmany Tomas?

[Deadspin] How MLB's Luxury Tax Somehow Became A Salary Cap - To understand how the luxury tax went from a compromise to something very like the salary cap it was supposed to prevent, we have to go back to the 1980s and 1990s. To understand what has to be done in order to undo the damage that this new understanding of the luxury tax has done to the mechanism of free agency, we’ll need to imagine a future that’s different from the present in some important ways.

[MLB] Sources: Padres meeting with Harper in Vegas - The Padres' quiet offseason is quiet no more. San Diego brass will meet with superstar free agent Bryce Harper on Thursday night in Las Vegas, sources told MLB.com. MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal was first to report on the meeting. The news comes on the heels of a busy week in which the Padres expressed legitimate interest in signing free-agent third baseman/shortstop Manny Machado, and they've been linked with Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, the top player available on the trade market.