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SnakePit Round Table: Are They Who We Thought They Were?

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After a strong road trip, the Diamondbacks returned home, only to be swept by the Rockies and lose two out of three to the lowly Giants, needing extra innings to walk off the final game of that series.

Why can the D-backs not win at home?

Makakilo: Half the home losses (12 of 21) happened against NL West rivals. At home, win-loss records:

  • against Rockies was 0-3.
  • against Padres was 1-3.
  • against Giants was 2-4.
  • against Dodgers was 1-2.

The D-backs have not had good results against NL West rivals, at home or away. Winning percents:

  • 20% vs Rockies.
  • 29% vs Dodgers.
  • 30% vs Padres.
  • 56% vs last place Giants.

What is the underlying cause? Do these teams know Chase better than the D-backs? Do these teams play harder against the D-backs? I don’t have answers.

Dano: For me, that’s one of the bigger mysteries and frustrations that’s bothering me right now. Like Makakilo, I don’t have answers. Our pitching woes seem pretty consistent wherever we’re playing; our offense not scoring runs seems far worse at home. Humidor? Climate change? I’m kinda kidding, but kinda not. Something about the park seems to be inhospitable to our bats in particular.

Rockkstarr12: Between playing teams that have been on hot streaks & our offense being lackluster lately, I think we may be cursed. At least it sure seems like it. If the pitching is good, the offense isn’t. If the offense is good, the pitching isn’t. Dare I say Murphy’s Law?

Justin: @Not enough Veteran Presence and grit@ I don’t know, but it does seem strange that they are 14-20 at home and 24-19 on the road. Random trivia, in 2017 they were 52-29 at home.

Jack: They haven’t done nearly as well with situational hitting at home as they have on the road. I’m not sure why. The high leverage number below is stunning. They actually moved batting practice to a later time Saturday to try to help out with getting them in hit mode closer to game time, and they did come out scoring in the 1st and got some key hits. But it didn’t last. I think most of it is random. It’s not like we have a rabid fan base that fills the stadium and howls at every miscue to make them nervous.

James: Hard to say. I think the Arizona front office would like to hear from anyone with a definitive answer to that. They do like scoring on the long ball, so maybe the humidor is coming into play. I also tend to agree a bit with Bob Brenly, who thinks that there is something to having on-field batting practice closer to game time in order to help with mental focus. Arizona being done with BP 2-2.5 hours before game time has them away from the focus of the field for a considerable period of time before games. I have a feeling that some of it is just sequencing and that we will see things shape up more to expectations as the number of games increases..

It’s time for Arizona to enter sell mode. #ChangeMyMind. Or not.

Makakilo: In the last week, the number of NL teams competing for a wild-card increased to eight (Rockies, Brewers, Phillies, Cards, Padres, D-backs, Nats, and Reds). Will the D-backs be able to step-out and pull away from the other contenders?

Based on 2 statistics, the Reds and the Diamondbacks stood out as underperforming (2.5 and 3 games back through 21 June) the other wild-card contending teams. Those two stats were 1) low win percentage for 1-run games, and 2) high run differential (RS-RA). Those stats give me some hope.

The D-backs have done well despite more than a fair share of injuries/underperformance, especially in the rotation and bullpen. That problem gives me some hope mixed with some concern.

On the other hand, the six-game losing-streak and needing to outperform 6 of 7 competing teams reduced my optimism to less than 20%. Therefore if a trade greatly improves the team at the cost of losing this season’s last bit of optimism, the trade would be worthy of support. In summary, it is time to weight trades in favor of future seasons, albeit that is much different than full sell mode.

Dano: I tend to think, honestly, that the idea that we were contenders this year was dubious at best. Selling at this point seems like the way to go. Except that I’m not sure who we could sell who would bring a sufficient return to make it worthwhile. We’ve signed Marte and Escobar to team-friendly extensions, and I’d want a lot back if we were going to move them. The only pieces of our bullpen that I’d imagine any other team might find desirable would be Holland or Lopez, and relievers don’t tend to bring much in return. Greinke’s contract is expensive enough that moving him would more likely result in salary relief than it would in a good return in prospects. Maybe Jones and/or Peralta could bring us back something...trading the Freight Train though, in particular, would absolutely break my heart.

Rockkstarr12: If we don’t get it together by All Star Break, then yes, by all means.

Justin: Definetly sell. I think they should have this past offseason. I don’t care what the casual fan thinks. They’ll be back in our next playoff year. I’m fed up with the pseudo-contention thing. Yeah, let’s put all our eggs in a one game playoff basket only to lose to the Dodgers in the next round.

Jack: If not now, then pretty close. There are a lot of teams on the bubble, and the teams that want to buy will mostly be waiting to see who decided to sell so they can have their pickings of the most desireable players. It takes two teams to make the trade. Even if Mike Hazen decided to sell tomorrow, he has to find a willing partner to take what he is selling. If there were teams clamoring now for his tradable assets, then he probably has little to lose by waiting another week or two at least to actually pull the trigger on a trade.

James: I think the team is now in the market as a seller over being a buyer, but that the players they are shopping will not be numerous. I don’t picture much of a tear-down. I do expect Greg Holland to be one of the major pieces moved. Beyond that, I would rate Robbie Ray as the next most likely to be moved. There is one problem with that though. The team is currently looking for at least two starters as it is - just to fill out the rotation. That makes moving Ray much more difficult. I do expect Ray to still be shopped, but I think the return will have to be pretty damn big for a move to actually be made.

What players do you think are most likely gone by the trade deadline?

Makakilo: Two high-value players who will be free agents at the end of this season are Greg Holland and Adam Jones. Although it would hurt to lose them, perhaps they are the most likely to be traded.

Dano: Like Makakilo, I’d put Holland and Jones at the top of the list. Greinke’s having a banner year for us, too, so I’d expect him to be gone as well, and/or perhaps Robbie Ray. Starting pitching seems to be one of those particularly desirable commodities at the trade deadline, and there are legitimately contending teams that will want them, if we put them on the block.

Rockkstarr12: Possibly Peralta & Ray. I really don’t think they will trade Greinke unless a team makes an offer to take on Zack’s salary & have something decent to send back in a deal.

Justin: As much as I hate to say it, I wonder if David Peralta will be a Dback on August 1st. I also think that maybe some team might go after Robbie Ray. Left handed starter? Maybe Hazen can convince the team that takes him Ray just needs a change in scenery.

Jack: The 2020 free agent list is the first place to look, but those aren’t going to be the players most sought after by other teams. Well maybe Holland. Team’s always need relief help. But teams are going to want Ray, Ahmed, and Peralta. They’re the best players the DBacks have and still have one year of control beyond 2019. They have the most trade value among guys they would consider trading. (Marte and Escobar et al not going anywhere of course)

James: I think Greg Holland can probably start packing already. Beyond that, it is a possibility that Robbie Ray could be traded. However, as I indicated above, there big problem with moving Ray is that the team is woefully short of starting pitching. Never mind fielding a contending rotation, this team is currently running with three MLB starters in a five-man rotation. That is going to make parting with Ray far more difficult come the end of July. The team may simply elect to wait until November to move Ray, just so they have enough arms to fill out the rotation. Andrew Chafin is a dark horse I could see possibly being moved.

Should Arizona be looking to add major-league players, almost ready prospects or low-level prospects?

Makakilo: The D-backs should be open to all opportunities that improve the team. The focus should be broad.

Dano: I don’t have a great deal of confidence in the player development ability of our minor league system, but I also recognize that, should we indeed go into a full-on sell mode, we’re not going to be contending anytime soon. I would prefer almost-ready prospects, because they tend to be less of a lottery ticket. I didn’t love the Goldschmidt trade when it was reported, but Weaver and Kelly (to a lesser extent) have proven to be at least close to what the label on the package indicated, so I’m inclined to lean toward that being a sort of trade to emulate.

Rockkstarr12: Major leaguers. We need experience!

Justin: It depends on the scale of the rebuild. I think if it is a total tear down get low level prospects. That said, I am not entirely sure we should do a tear down. I think almost ready would be best.

Jack: They should get the best possible return they can, regardless of where the player is in the development stage. However this team’s M.O. seems to be to go for guys with some MLB experience under their belts.

James: Jack beat me to it on this one. Take the best deal available. Whether it is MLB-ready talent of prospects in A-ball, take whatever return the talent evaluators rate the highest.

What are your expectations and hopes for the second-half?

Makakilo: I look forward to the D-backs playing aggressive/exciting baseball, with excellent defense; each player always playing their best.

Dano: My expectations are low, sadly, especially if we have a fire sale. I would hope that we get to see a good, long look at some of our prospects, and are able to give them consistent playing time so that we can see what we’ve got at the upper levels of our minors system, and also let them get comfortable enough in the majors that we can see who can adjust. To put it another way, do something that’s more than the Reno-to-Chase-to-Reno revolving door. Give the Britos and the Brachos and the Leybas and the Clarkes and Duplantiers and the rest a long (relatively) visit to the majors, so we can determine in a better way who’s doomed to sink and who might conceivably learn to swim.

Rockkstarr12: Expectations: To do better especially offensively. Hopes: about the same and not trade my pitcher!

Justin: We would need to go 47-38 to get to 85 wins. I don’t think that is very likely, and I don’t think that that will put us in the Wildcard Game. The Houston Astros in 2015 with 86 wins was the lowest win total since the WC game started. My hope is, “Don’t suck.”

Jack: Unfortunately my under bet on 75.5 wins is back in play.

James: More games than I would care to see where the team is not putting the best possible talent on the field. I don’t know the specific reasons that some of the relievers in Reno have not been called up. I do know there is a bias against some of them, but I will be damned if I know the reasoning. I expect the team will be forced at some point to make a move out of desperation to fill out the rotation. I’m hoping it is a short-term deal and doesn’t impact next year’s roster. It’s time to start giving ore playing time to guys looking to make the team next year.

We had our first weedcap this week. What specialty recap would you do?

Dano: I don’t think I’m actually qualified to pull it off, but perhaps a memecap. Maybe crowdsource it in the Game Day Thread between innings, kind of like a collaborative recap effort? Or Rockkstarr12 should do it, because she is truly a master of memes...I would read the hell out of that, and even if the game wound up being absolutely wretched, I know that I would laugh my ass off.

Rockkstarr12: Coke Zero Recap!

Justin: DC would say I would do an OE800 cap, but I don’t think I would want to. Nothing really comes to mind.

Jack: I wanted to answer Pizza Cap, but then I realized, A.) I’m on a diet, and B.) I always order double pepperoni and nothing else anyway.

James: I’ve already “sort of” done it already, but I would be willing to do a tequila-cap or a vodka-cap. Last time I did a recap, it started out tequila, then the game ran a bit long so it became amaretto and hot chocolate by the end.