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D-Backs Potpourri: Solutions in Search of a Problem

On Manfred’s reign, the mystery of three catchers,

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MLB: 2019 Spring Training Media Days Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Manfred has been commissioner for four years, but it somehow feels like a lot longer. Maybe it’s because the pace of his play has seemed so slow. Let’s find a way to speed that up, shall we? Let’s first give him an IV of espresso so that he’s full of energy. If that isn’t enough, we’ll make him inhale helium so that his voice is high and possibly faster. That’s fun!

If that isn’t enough, we’ll upload Rob Manfred’s consciousness onto a supercomputer, so that his tenure as commissioner can be processed at speed that are hard to comprehend. That will fix everything. Sure, this will require us to, in pedantic legal terms, “kill” him, but that’s the price you pay for pace of play.

“Charlie, there’s no real good reason to give Rob Manfred a bunch of stimulants, chemicals, and then kill him and upload his brain on a computer, that’s not really fixing any of his problems!”

You say that, and you’re probably right. However, I can think of no better tribute to the man whose tenure as commissioner has been trying to find solutions to things that aren’t really problems. Games are too long? Well, nobody who watches baseball actually cares about that and generally baseball games are on average shorter than pretty much any football game and- HOW BOUT SOME MOUND VISIT LIMITS, KIDS?

The real problems facing Major League Baseball, dwindling in-person attendance, the cost of going to a game skyrocketing, Byzantine TV blackout rules, a large percentage of the league deciding not to be competitive any given season, free agency coming to a screeching halt, etc. don’t seem to be on the radar of the commissioner’s office, probably cause they, personally, can still make money under any rock they can find it with all of this going on. Future consequence be damned.

You like being able to watch highlights of games? Remember how that used to be really easy on MLB’s website? Try doing that now.

Also: you like being able to go to any outlet and see highlights of minor league games? You think easy access to that would help build an online fan base? Have you noticed that free distribution of highlights in video or gif form is what the NBA allows and they’re doing fairly well now? Too bad.

But hey, games might be three minutes faster on average. Let’s throw a party. With balloons. Hey, hand me that helium tank, Rob’s here.

I don’t really watch D-Backs games with the sound on anymore, or I’ll listen on the radio. The booth, especially Brenly, saying weird, cringe-worthy stuff is a big part of it. And again it happened last night.

Adam Jones is right.

Why is it so necessary for the Diamondbacks to carry three catchers? Seems like two is the ideal number. You can still manage time and rest pretty well with two of them. In 2017 the Diamondbacks handled this pretty well with Chris Iannetta and Jeff Mathis and made the playoffs. In 2018 the Diamondbacks decided to carry three catchers all year and didn’t make the playoffs. Ipso facto ergo etc.

It’s odd too because the Diamondbacks traded for the person who was the presumptive catcher of the future. Carson Kelly. Remember him? Seems like a good kid. You might not quite remember him because he only has 19 plate appearances this season, split into a pretty an uneven third with Alex Avila (21) and John Ryan Murphy (16). He hit a walkoff hit last Saturday? Wears number 18? Ringing any bells?

What’s funny is that there was a lot of chatter after the trade that this would be good for Kelly. He’s a highly-regarded catcher prospect, but had the misfortune of being stuck behind Yadier Molina, an institution in St. Louis. So, if he’s on the Diamondbacks, he can probably get a lot more playing time and develop. Seems logical.

Except, carrying three catchers seems to counteract all that. If the Diamondbacks are competitive for a playoff spot, it seems like carrying two guys would maximize both of them while giving enough rest and would give Kelly a lot of reps to see what he’s made of. If they aren’t competitive, they can carry two and give Kelly a majority of the reps and give him as much a chance to succeed individually now and in the future.

When Avila went on the IL it seemed like a good opportunity to just keep Kelly and JRM around in the short-term, and then maybe call up a guy who could play corner outfield, the team is desperately short on them but, alas, welcome to the party Caleb Joseph. Have a seat! Don’t drink what I put in Rob Manfred’s punch!