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Snake Bytes, 6/17: Dark Days

Hopes for a 2020 season look bleaker than any time so far.

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The strawberry full moon, as part of a penumbral lunar... Photo by Jesus Merida/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Team news

[Arizona Sports] Diamondbacks still confident in former top-10 pick 1B/OF Pavin Smith - D-backs director of player development Josh Barfield discussed Smith’s ups and downs on the D-backs BP Show Tuesday. “It wasn’t that bad, it was just the expectations you have when a guy is picked that high,” Barfield said. Barfield credited a change the organization saw from Smith heading into the spring of 2019, aka the last time the D-backs had spring training. “He really, really worked hard on not only his swing but also his body and getting himself into better shape,” Barfield said. “And when he showed up into spring training, he looked different, carried himself different.

[Cronkite News] College Arms, Bloodlines Tell The Story For Diamondbacks In MLB Draft - The first time Deric Ladnier, the Diamondbacks' director of amateur scouting, saw Bryce Jarvis, he knew he wasn't ready for the big leagues. "The stuff that was coming out was very marginal. And I remember telling (his father Kevin Jarvis), I said, 'I like him. He's not where he needs to be,'" Ladnier said about Bryce in high school. "This is the perfect guy that I think needs to go to college and prove that he's going to be something. And his dad was adamant about he's going to be something."

[dbacks.ciom] D-backs' top manager: Gilbert's take - With so many players in the latter stages of their careers, Brenly did a marvelous job of mixing and matching his lineups. He used 123 lineups during the regular season and had a different lineup in 15 of the team's 17 postseason games. "He knew how to handle us," Gonzalez said. "He had a good feel for when a guy might need a day off and how to keep everyone involved. He guided us, but he knew he didn't have to control everything we did." In the end, Brenly's style paid off in a World Series title, and it is that success that has him atop the list of D-backs managers.

And, elsewhere...

[LA Times] Dr. Anthony Fauci says MLB should consider not playing into October - If the sole factor is minimizing risk for the novel coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the major leagues would be wise to wrap up the postseason in September. “If the question is time, I would try to keep it in the core summer months and end it not with the way we play the World Series, until the end of October when it’s cold,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a telephone interview with The Times on Tuesday. “I would avoid that.”

[The Athletic] Stark: If you think Major League Baseball is ugly now … - “Here’s what I see,” said an official of one team. “I see people really upset at baseball, who say, `A pox on all their houses. In a time of great need, with great social unrest, all you cared about was fighting over money.’ And now we’re playing, but we’re competing with the NBA playoffs, MLS, the NHL, the NFL. People will have happy sights to look at, but every time they look at us, it will just remind them of our fight. And we’d be playing a 50-game season or whatever it would be, which creates credibility issues. I think you could have a lot of players who won’t play. So you’ll have people constantly asking, ‘Is it even a legitimate season?’ And it would all be eroding our sport. That’s honestly what I see.”

[] Six MLB owners don't want to play 2020 season, per report - According to SNY's Andy Martino, there are at least six owners who don't want a 2020 campaign. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich, for their part, quoted a player agent who said "there are definitely more than eight owners who don't want to play." Whether that's the case or simply speculation is unclear. None of the suspected hardlining owners are named either way. The exact number is more significant than it seems. If there are six or seven owners who are taking an anti-season approach, that's one thing; if there are eight or more, then the dynamic changes. Eight hardliners could, in theory, sink the ship. That's because Manfred needs clearance from 75 percent of the league's owners in order to impose a schedule.

[USA Today] MLB: Handshake deals with underage prospects draw interest from feds - There was another fear weighing upon Santin. Over the last 12 months, he had preached to the public, the news media, baseball officials — and even U.S. federal agents — that Major League Baseball and the players’ union had a massive problem in Latin America: the exploitation of hundreds of underage prospects who make verbal agreements with big league clubs in exchange for the promise of a lucrative signing bonus once they turn 16. These handshake deals, many for hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions, are in violation of baseball’s rules, and possibly U.S. law, depending upon what federal investigators uncover as they probe these transactions. [H/T Mrs. SnakePit]

[Yahoo] MLB, team employees worry that league is risking their livelihoods - Team and league employees who are still working after furloughs hit are nervous about all the uncertainty, annoyed at the lack of internal communication, and disillusioned by the impression that the people in position to save the sport aren’t motivated to do so. “I say this with the respect and understanding that 112,000 people have died and millions are still unemployed, there are livelihoods of working class people at stake,” said one employee of a National League team.