[D’backs.com] D-backs ready to move on from late 2018 skid - Like most moments in my life, I try not dwell on those which bring back uncomfortable memories. The Arizona Diamondbacks collapse of September 2018 is one such period of time I’ll choose not to remember. Players who remain on the team that were part of that tailspin don’t have that luxury and have to understand what went wrong in an effort to prevent it from happening again.
“Everybody has turned the page, and it’s a new year,” shortstop Nick Ahmed said. “Guys had time to reflect and work on things they needed to do in the offseason. We’ve learned from it, and we’re ready to come out stronger this year.”
[The Athletic] State of the Greinke: Diamondbacks ace shows up, weighs in on the team’s direction - Zack Greinke has been a solid, albeit expensive, ace at the top of the D’backs rotation for his first three seasons in the desert. Now that half of his contract is complete how does he feel about the decision to come to Arizona?
“The writing was on the wall when I did sign here, that we had like three years with the main guys and then there was going to have to be some adjustments,” [Greinke] said. “At that point of time, I’d be pretty happy if this was what the fourth year was looking like.”
[AZ Central] Healthy Socrates Brito looking to win bench spot with Diamondbacks - If there was one player I would recommend you keep your eyes on this Spring, it would be Socrates Brito. He is out of minor league options. This means that if he does not make the MLB roster at the conclusion of camp he will need to be floated on waivers for another team to possibly claim him. The D’backs have a gaping hole in center field following the departure of A.J. Pollock, although the team appears set to try Ketel Marte there. However, if Brito lights the world on fire in the next month there may be no need to move Marte from the infield.
[Arizona Sports] New D-back, former ASU pitcher Kelly hoping to break into majors - It took a few seasons overseas in Korea, but now Merrill Kelly has returned home, literally, in an effort to make his MLB debut with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Kelly went to high school at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale and was originally drafted out of Arizona State University by the Tampa Bay Rays. Mike Hazen has taken a gamble on the 30 year old hoping that Kelly’s success in the hitter friendly KBO will translate to MLB.
“Everyone has their own path and I wanted my path to lead here and we’re almost there,” Kelly said on Friday. “I just have to get through spring and hopefully do what it is they brought me in to do.”
[D’backs.com] Future closer? Confidence runs high for Lopez - Yoan Lopez is another player with an opportunity in March to push the issue for a roster spot. Outside of a horrendous MLB debut last season, the Cuban right hander was dynamic in his final nine appearances of the season. He struck out eleven batters in nine innings while walking only one and allowing four hits. It’s undoubtedly a small sample size, but there is now at least hope he will make good on the contract he signed as an international free agent in 2015.
“As I look back on the full body of work, I watched a young pitcher come in here with a lot of confidence, really get banged around extremely hard in his first outing, and the last time he threw for us I felt like he was overmatching big league hitters,” Lovullo said.
[AZCentral] Diamondbacks’ Jake Lamb taps Paul Goldschmidt for tips on playing first base - Apparently because Paul Goldschmidt is no longer a D’back he is not allowed to workout at Salt River Fields (that’s what this article seems to suggest). When Jake Lamb was informed he’d be moving to first base, he needed a mentor, the most obvious choice being Goldy, and a place to practice. Enter Luis Gonzalez with a full size major league infield in his backyard. Must be nice. I hardly have a patio in my backyard.
“Everything is true about him being one of the best people in the game, one of the best players in the game, one of the best hitters in the game, one of the best defensive first basemen in the game,” Lamb said. “It truly is special the type of person he is. He wants to help others. He’s also always trying to learn. We talked a lot about hitting and all that type of stuff. It was really fun.”
[Roof and Panels Open] Not Tanking When Everybody Else Is - Threading the needle. This is what Mike Hazen has come to be known for entering his third season as general manager. I assumed this season after trading Goldschmidt, and watching Pollock and Patrick Corbin depart in free agency, that Hazen was prepared to tear the team to the studs. However, he has made it clear that he believes the Diamondbacks will still be “competitive”. Most optimistic predictions have Arizona finishing the 2019 season around the .500 mark. A couple breakout seasons from various players could see them on the brink of the playoffs again, but under performance and/or a slew of injuries could result in a very poor season. In tinkering with the roster as opposed to a drastic overhaul, he has given himself a window to evaluate the ballclub with the flexibility to make more moves based on results later in the season.
Around the League
“Commissioner Manfred’s latest comments and his attempts to shift blame and distract from the main issues are unconstructive and misleading at best. Players’ eyes don’t deceive them, nor do fans’. As Players report to spring training and see respected veterans and valued teammates on the sidelines, they are rightfully frustrated by a two-year attack on free agency. Players commit to compete every pitch of every at-bat, and every inning of every game. Yet we’re operating in an environment in which an increasing number of clubs appear to be making little effort to improve their rosters, compete for a championship or justify the price of a ticket.” - Tony Clark
[Yahoo Sports] Giants manager Bruce Bochy to retire after 2019 season - Bruce Bochy has joined CC Sabathia on the Farewell Tour of 2019. Bochy needs 74 more wins to reach 2,000 for his career, and is one of ten managers to win three World Series Championships. I expect Bob Brenly impersonations of the longtime San Francisco Giants manager to be plentiful and obnoxious this season.