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Snake Bytes, 11/13: Rumblings and grumblings

And that was just the bathrooms at the GM meetings...

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Toilet bowl with lid and toilet seat up photo by: Godong/ Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Team news

[AZ Central] The Diamondbacks are back on fans’ radar after World Series run. Can they stay there? - “We see there's an opportunity here for us that we need to capitalize on,” Hazen said. “And that means us doing our job and putting a team on the field that is worthy of the fans coming and supporting it. That's the way I look at it. That's on us as an organization — me — to put that team together, to have players that are exciting to come watch, that they want to come watch. I think having young star players is a part of the recipe for that. I think having veteran star players with name recognition is a part of that. And having a team that wins consistently — not necessarily getting to the World Series, I guess, all the time — but winning consistently is a part of that.”

[SI] D-backs Need More Velocity and Strikeouts from Bullpen - Following the 2022 season Diamondbacks pitching coach Brent Strom made an appeal to the organization to add more velocity to bullpen. The Diamondbacks were coming off a season in which they once again ranked near or at the bottom in both fastball velocity and strikeout percentage from the bullpen. That had been the case nearly every season since Mike Hazen took over as GM in 2017. That situation only improved marginally in 2023.

[Arizona Sports] Who is 3B Jeimer Candelario? Diamondbacks reportedly showed interest in free agent - Candelario is a 29-year-old switch hitter coming off a season in which he hit a career-high 22 home runs with an .807 OPS. He also hit 39 doubles after leading the AL with 42 in 2021. John Gambadoro said on Burns & Gambo he heard it was doubtful the Diamondbacks go for Candelario. There is not a deep pool of third basemen on the free agent market, though. Other free agents include Matt Chapman, Justin Turner (played more first base in 2023), Gio Urshela and Josh Donaldson. The trade market could yield more results.

[NBC Sports] MLB Team Roundup: Arizona Diamondbacks - You may look at the above rankings and think, “How did this team make the World Series?” Well, in addition to some timely clutch performances in the playoffs, the keys for the Diamondbacks were contact, speed and defense. Arizona finished 4th in baseball in Defensive WAR (Wins Above Replacement) and 2nd in OAA (Outs Above Average). They committed the fewest errors in all of baseball with just 56 and had the highest fielding percentage in baseball. They also threw out the 7th-most basestealers, and Gabriel Moreno had the best caught stealing percentage of any starting catcher.

[AZ Central] Diamondbacks General Manager Mike Hazen outlines team's offseason priorities - Is third base atop your offseason wish list? Hazen’s answer was both simple and instructive. “No,” the Diamondbacks’ general manager said. “I would say starting pitching is probably equal, if not more than third base. But third base is a concern. Not a concern, a goal. But starting pitching is probably up there at number one for me... We’re going to do what we can continue to improve this roster any way we can. And that involves both trades and free agency.” Beyond third base, the Diamondbacks seemingly have a hole at a corner outfield spot and at designated hitter, though Hazen said he likes the flexibility to use multiple players in that role as a day off from playing in the field.

[Cronkite News] His home runs will go on: Céline Dion’s song highlights Diamondbacks prospect Ivan Melendez’s journey - Melendez spent the last month of the 2023 season rehabbing in Arizona, before joining eight Diamondbacks prospects in the Arizona Fall League, where MLB’s future stars compete against each other. “(He’s a) really cool guy. He’s a good guy to be a teammate with,” said Diamondbacks prospect A.J. Vukovich, who also played with Melendez on the Sod Poodles. “He works hard and loves the game, so I have a lot of positive things to say about him. I’ve had a lot of fun experiences with him already.”

[Arizona Sports] Newly-extended Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo reflects on key moments - The skipper also pointed to the 13-inning epic at Chase Field vs. the Chicago Cubs in Game 150 where the D-backs were down to their final strike on their final out down 5-6 with runners on the corners. Moreno was down to the final strike in his at-bat before hitting a single to bring home Evan Longoria for the win. “I felt like the loser of that game was gonna slide. The winner of that game was gonna take off,” Lovullo said, also raving about the celebration in the clubhouse that followed. “That was a proud parent moment where I just sat back and enjoyed that celebration.”

[FOX] Mark Melancon finds silver lining in Diamondbacks’ World Series loss: ‘The experience is there now’ - "I felt like it was going to be a really big step for this group, just getting into the playoffs and getting playoffs experience," Melancon explained. "Teams that I’ve been on in the past that just get that year of experience under their belt, that next year always seems to be a little more confident and, ‘Hey, we’ve been there before. We have higher expectations because of that.’ Just getting into the playoffs was big for this group, let alone getting all the way to the World Series. That only enhances the confidence and experience and know-how going forward."

And, elsewhere...

[SI] MLB Cancels Remainder of GM Meetings After Virus Sweeps Through Executives - more than 30 of the roughly 300 executives in attendance for the unofficial launch to the 2023 MLB offseason had come down with a stomach ailment, which was initially believed to stem from food poisoning. The league requested that the staff at the Moni Montelucia Resort wear masks and gloves while serving food, and for executives to report any illnesses so they could track the outbreak with the assistance of the Arizona Diamondbacks' team doctors. More people developed symptoms later in the day, however, and it was determined that the cause of the sickness sweeping through Scottsdale, Arizona, was a virus. That led to the league calling off the rest of the event.

[AP] Oakland A’s fans are sending MLB owners ‘Stay In Oakland’ boxes as Las Vegas vote nears - Boston Red Sox owner John Henry will soon receive a special “Stay In Oakland” box from Bay Area fans packed with a green Athletics cap, a baseball card featuring his likeness and a note telling him all the reasons he should vote no on the team’s planned relocation to Las Vegas. They will try to sway Hal Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees, too — another owner identified as someone who could be convinced to vote against Vegas.

[FOX Sports] Why the universal DH hasn’t fulfilled expectations in two MLB seasons - In a somewhat surprising development, though, many teams are struggling to get much production from that spot. The next generation of big-bopping DHs like David Ortiz, Edgar Martínez and Frank Thomas hasn’t materialized, with just three players logging at least 110 games at designated hitter during the 2023 season. That trio includes Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani, Atlanta Braves slugger Marcell Ozuna and the Washington Nationals’ Joey Meneses. The consensus at this week’s general managers’ meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona, is that filling the position — and getting production from it — is harder than it looks.