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SnakePit Round Table: Mission (two-thirds) accomplished

The D-backs shored up two positions since the end of the season.

Seattle Mariners v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The D-backs signed Eduardo Rodriguez to a four-year deal. What is your reaction?

DBacksEurope: The thing that stood out most to me was that many media outlets described him as an option behind Gallen and Kelly, so we are paying a lot of money to a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher. I didn’t explore the starting pitching options and I am not sure if we should be happy with 4 years of Eduardo Rodriguez: I don’t remember him as THAT reliable. I would have invested in extending Gallen and taking a flier on a Giolito or Flaherty. I have always liked Kenta Maeda too. But you have to appreciate the boldness of Mike Hazen here and E-Rod didn’t cost a draft pick either, so he might have been the best starting pitcher out there in his “category”, considering money, length of contract and QO attached.

Spencer: Well I wanted Yamamoto. But I know that wasn’t going to happen. Rodriguez is about as good as we could’ve expected. I’m wary of guaranteeing 4 years, but that’s inevitable when you’re dipping to free agency now. I like that it’s built like MadBum’s to give us spending power for 2024 still. I don’t know Kendrick’s number, but there’s a chance we still have $20M to spend on 2024 (though likely that’s to include trade deadline acquisitions as well)!

Makakilo: Well done! Eduardo Rodriguez was the right longer-term choice for the Diamondbacks.

Eduardo Rodriguez added stability and consistency to the Diamondbacks rotation. I predict the average ERA of the rotation will be better than last season. Details are in this AZ Snake Pit article, scheduled to post Tuesday.

Alternatives not chosen concerned me - either because their unaffordability or because the uncertain performance of the bounce-back candidates. Nevertheless, I would still be happy if the Diamondbacks give a one-year contract to a bounce back starter (like Giolito).

Steak85: I’m kind of in the “meh” camp on this one. We’re dealing with an inconsistent pitcher and paying him what will work out to almost 20% of payroll. But it’s not the MadBum signing either. There’s a chance that he pitches like a valuable #3 for the duration of the contract.

At the same time, the dollar amount means that the Diamondbacks probably can’t afford to add both another pitcher and an OF/DH via free agency. For those who think we have enough pitching, look at the Dodgers last year. I’m not comfortable going into next year expecting everyone to stay healthy, let alone have no regression among the young arms. But that’s the nature of the beast unless your organization prints money like certain others I could name.

Steven: He’s a pitcher that you’ll be able to start in the playoffs and every 5th day in the season while expecting above average results at minimum. Starting pitchers not named Zac Gallen or Merrill Kelly had an ERA of 5.80 last year and while I think we all expect Pfaadt to improve on last year after his playoff run, I think putting less pressure on him to be a 3rd guy will be valuable for both his development and the team. I think it’s a great signing.

Ben: I’m closer to the positive camp than some of my fellow Pitters. I don’t know if Rodriguez fully moves the needle, but he adds some desperately-needed depth to a starting rotation that was a weak point throughout the season. That depth was stretched to its breaking point during the World Series. I won’t try to suggest that Rodriguez makes the difference in the playoffs, but I suddenly feel much more comfortable with the rotation than I did just a few days ago. I’m hopeful that the downstream effects of the signing - namely on Brandon Pfaadt and the rest of the youngsters - will have a bigger overall impact than his signing.

James: My biggest concern with the signing is that he has a rather lengthy injury history, in addition to some off-field issues that have cost him significant on-field time. That said, he signed for what is a rather reasonable rate for a #3/4 pitcher and did not cost draft pick compensation either. So, from that perspective, and also looking at the dearth of other options that seemed even remotely worth looking at, I think Hazen did about as well as could be expected with the market and funds available to him. The only pitchers on the market that can clearly be classified in a better tier are going to cost too much money over too many years for Arizona to be going after them. They don’t have nearly what it takes to sign Yamamoto. With comparable arms looking to get $25 million or more AAV, this is not a bad contract. I’ll just be crossing my fingers that Rodriguez gives AZ the good version for at least three, if not all four years of the deal.

They previously sorted the hot corner, by trading for Eugenio Suarez. Thoughts?

DBacksEurope: On the outside and at first glance it looks like a good move. I’d have loved to see Matt Chapman there, but trading for Suarez addresses both the output at the hot corner and allows to keep on spending money on other areas, so I give credit to Hazen for making a smart move. Let’s hope it turns out well.

Spencer: Considering the cost of Candelario, both he and Chapman were going to be too costly to be useful in Arizona. So getting Suarez is good! He’s cheaper and still has some value upside! But does he make me excited right now? No. Much like Longo last year, he needs to prove he’s worth it before I get excited about him in Sedona Red and Teal. But I learned my lesson last year: my threshold for “worth it” is now - be better than other internal options.

Makakilo: Although my initial impression was negative, my deeper look was in this AZ Snake Pit article.

A subtle positive is that by adding a right-handed batter in the infield (and/or DH), it lowers the chances of trading away the Diamondbacks’ left-handed outfielders. Those outfielders have considerably high upside!

Steak85: Suarez at 2/$26 (if the Diamondbacks pick up the option) is a far better option than Candelario at 3/$45. Yes, he strikes out a ton. So does just about everyone in the game today. He plays as good of defense as Rivera (better than Candelario) and at least will make people think about the home run risk.

Chapman was a pipe dream and I don’t think would have added any value over Suarez in the long run. Plus the loss of a draft pick. The pressure is still on the Diamondbacks to develop a third baseman, as there’s no one in the system currently that I could say with any confidence will be able both to field the position and provide the offensive value desirable for a corner infield bat.

Steven: When you factor in what we gave up to get him, it was really just a salary dump for the Mariners. Even if you don’t expect a bounce back year, he’ll still provide surplus value at a premium position that is seeing free agents like Candelario getting 15 million a year, and Chapman expecting to get 20-25 million for similar offensive production. Is he a long-term solution at the position? No. But it gives you another year at least to see if your high draft picks can take over the job.

Ben: I see Suarez as a lower-floor version of Evan Longoria from this year. He’s an aging veteran with below-average fielding statistics on his career (-11 defensive runs saved at the hot corner), that strikes out too much, and has limited positional flexibility. You can see the comparison between the two from their respective age-31 seasons below. It’s obviously not entirely fair to make a direct comparison between them, but given that about a third of Longoria’s 3.1 bWAR came from his work in the infield, Suarez could be a slight improvement in 2024. That’s also not taking into account the possibility that Suarez could be a mostly full-time DH and the much more remote possibility that Suarez magically manages to cut down on his profligate strikeout problem. If either of those things come to pass, this could go from a good trade to a difference-maker.

James: I seem to be more bullish than most about this move. I fully expect that the team will end up exercising the team option year for 2025 as well. If they do, they end up with a perfectly capable, sometimes frustrating, incredible clubhouse guy to play third base for 2 years/$26 million. Given that Candelariosigned for 3/$5MM with Cincinnati, I do wonder if there was a comparable deal to be had there. But, Suarez is still less expensive and is only in AZ for two years instead of three. In exchange, Arizona jettisoned two players they will never miss. So, much like with signing Rodrigues, when I look at the market for third basemen, I feel Hazen did about as well as could be managed, grabbing the best combination of upside and cost.

A right-handed bat is still on the shopping list. Who do you want there?

DBacksEurope: Mike Trout lol. The Diamondbacks have lacked a power bat for quite some seasons now. With Christian Walker going ice cold when it mattered most, the Diamondbacks were a bit hapless. Eugenio Suarez will help a bit to offset this, but we’d probably wish more guaranteed power. I’m fine with either JD Martinez, Justin Turner or Jorge Soler, because each signing would mean the Diamondbacks have recognised and addressed that lack of power. Of those 3 I prefer JD or Soler. Soler can play the outfield, so perhaps we should value that. Can Turner play 1B by the way?

Spencer: Ronald Acuna Jr.? Vladdy? Soler I guess isn’t horrendous. I doubt his ability to play in the field. If we’re going for upside with minimal risk though, I want Rhys Hoskins on an incentive laden deal. He’s coming off injury but is a solid bat who garnered comps to Goldy as a younger man. He’ll only want a one year pillow contract and can play DH and some 1B when Walker needs a breather. I prefer McCarthy’s glove with an upside bat to a better known bat (and money), lesser defense in the Outfield and a rotating DH.

Makakilo: Justin Turner. He would be a DH who could play 1B, 2B, 3B, or even corner outfield. Apparently, the Diamondbacks have been interested in him for three consecutive offseasons per the following:

“4:20pm: Arizona executives have had internal discussions about potentially making a run at Martinez or Turner, tweets Jim Bowden of the Athletic. Martinez played the second half of the 2017 season in Arizona, while Turner has reportedly been on the organization’s radar in each of the last two offseasons.” – Darragh McDonald.

Steak85: Since there’s been plenty of other pipe dreams mentioned, I’ll go with Willie Mays.

Seriously, I agree with Hoskins as a good option. I’ll throw out a name that would be a bargain: Franmil Reyes. From 2018-2021 he hit 92 home runs with an OPS+ of 121. He fell off a cliff. He’s torn up the Dominican winter league, though, so he’s certainly worth a flyer. He’s also only 28, so if he could recover some form, he could wind up being the solution for two years. Martinez and Soler and Hoskins also all take the Diamondbacks out of the running for any other arms, and I still feel that’s a need.

Steven: Rhys Hoskins provides the most value to me as a younger guy with pedigree that could stick around the team longer term with Walker being a free-agent next year. He takes walks, hits for power, and I think has a lot to prove after his torn ACL last year. I’m still not a believer in J.D’s resurgence, coupled with his age and overall Dodgers decline that usually comes once they leave. We’ve been fortunate not to trade any prospect of note this offseason, go all in and get a left fielder to pair with Carroll. Could you get a Lane Thomas or Anthony Santander to fill that position and move McCarthy to a 4th OF option? If not, just sign Adam Duvall and be done with it.

Ben: I know he’s not a right-handed bat, but Cody Bellinger would be my vote. I would love the idea of a former Dodger choosing to play for us considering that play has been reversed too many times to count. More realistically, I’ll stay in the same vein and go with J.D. Martinez. He tore it up at Chase Field in the second half of 2017 and I was always disappointed they couldn’t sign him afterwards. There would be some poetic justice there in my opinion.

James: I don’t necessarily have a preferred target for the RH bat. I do think I would be targeting high OBP over high power. If they can play the field as well, that’s a bonus. Tom Murphy is terrible at throwing out runners but solid in receiving, so I would give him some thought on a two-year deal. He’s a poor-man’s Mitch Garver without the injury concerns. Steven mentioned Rhys Hoskins above. He would be on my shortlist as well. If they could sign him to an incentive-laden 3-year deal, I think they should.

Anything else you feel needs to be addressed?

DBacksEurope: an upgrade over Jose Herrera and relief pitching. Mitch Garver would resolve both right-handed batting and the back-up catching need. I’d add a guaranteed power arm in the bullpen, to not fully rely on the options we have right now. Left-handed pitching was presented and I think there are interesting opinions being shared. I hope the right-handed options I will present will spark even more debate. I admit quality relief pitching this year in free agency isn’t as abundant as last year.

Spencer: Needs? Not really. Would I like to have another arm of late 2023 Sewald/Ginkel/Thompson caliber? Sure! But that’s a luxury Kendrick can’t afford in any season, let alone one where he’s already pushing a franchise high payroll. Herrera is a perfectly meh option for me. I’d like a Tom Murphy type if possible, but I’d prioritize Hoskins first and see what’s left in the budget after.

Makakilo: A backup catcher to replace Seby Savala, who would have been my choice for backup catcher, but was traded away. Here is Savala’s season review.

Steak85: Pitching. You can never have too much pitching. I’d like another starter for some depth, and the bullpen is a constant need. Backup catcher, as several have mentioned. I think Garver is too expensive for the Diamondbacks. But we’ll see what works out.

Steven: With Hazen limiting Moreno to 110-120 games, you need a capable backup. If you’re looking for a free agent, those guys are getting 5 million at minimum, so you may need to be creative in what type of player you expect. I’d still love another option in the bullpen but I don’t think that’s the best way to spend your limited money. Maybe an older starter that could be a long guy out of the bullpen in case your stable of young pitchers flame out?

Ben: Yeah, I’m on the bullpen bandwagon for sure. There will be injuries or poor performance and I don’t think they have the necessary depth at the moment. It also wouldn’t shock me if the D-Backs mostly make changes around the edges of the roster at this point though. The two biggest needs in my mind coming into this offseason was an additional starter and an upgrade at third base. Both of those needs have been nominally checked off, so there could be additions, but I would be surprised if they’re major ones.

James: A better back-up catcher and at least one more reliable bullpen arm, preferably one with options left. I would think that guys like Garver and Murphy are already being considered (and maybe discarded for all I know) as they address both getting a bit more pop from the right side and address getting a back-up catcher so that Moreno can slide back to around 100 games started behind the dish instead of getting run into the ground like he did in 2023. I wouldn’t mind seeing the team take a run at one of the foreign arms for the bullpen, maybe someone like Woo Suk Go. So far, Hazen has been pushing the right buttons, so I’ll be patient and see who he targets next.

The D-backs lost only Deyvison De Los the Rule 5 draft. Surprised?

DBacksEurope: I don’t think I had Deyvison de los Santos as Rule 5 eligible either in my Excel, but I am very surprised he was picked and I am not surprised that no one else got picked. The other kids that were eligible are in a De los Santos situation i.e. they are too far away from the Major Leagues and they all have their issues. That is why I think Deyvison will be returned to Arizona soon. Of all those that were eligible at the beginning of the season Dominic Canzone was most likely gone if not added to the 40-man.

Spencer: I was only surprised it was Cleveland who took him. He’s a gamble worth taking if you are desperate and/or confident. But I am confident he’ll be returned. My guess is even before opening day. He’s blocked by the best third baseman in baseball and by a quality 1B prospect (plus an underrated MLB 1B too in Naylor the Older). No one taking Pope surprised me a bit though. I’m actually glad he is still here as bullpen depth. I think we’ll need it and he’s the type of guy who’s always needed to keep performing to get rostered. Those players make me happy (the David Peralta as I call it).

Makakilo: Yes. He is at the AA level. It’s likely he will not be retained on the active roster and offered back to Dbacks. On the positive side, it’s a great developmental experience for him.

Steak85: I was surprised no one took Kristian Robinson, although I wouldn’t expect either to stick, and there were plenty of relief options.

After his stint on the development list last year, DDLS was among the best in the Texas League. There’s a chance he’ll stick, but I’d say it’s less than 30%. If he does, though, he won’t be playing the field much, which means the Diamondbacks will have missed on the right handed DH they had in-house. And not protected him despite having the spot. It was a gamble; we’ll see if it’s worth it.

Steven: Not really. He’s at least 3 years away from being playable and if the Guardians think they can get away playing a guy who’ll strike out 50% of the time then so be it. His physical tools are great, but the questions surrounding those tools were too great to waste a 40-man spot on.

Ben: I was a little surprised, but it makes sense someone took a flyer on him. Even though he’s unlikely to make his debut until 2025, he’s still incredibly young and filling out his frame so there’s plenty of potential. Having said that, he was not exactly a household name even among diehard D-Backs fans.

James: I thought there was a chance they might lose one player, but I expected that player to be Pope if they lost anyone. That Cleveland took DDLS surprised me. It’s a massive upside swing on a lottery ticket at best. I would not be surprised if he ends up being returned, perhaps before they even get well into spring training.

Shohei Ohtani is a Dodger on a $700 million contract.. How do you feel?

DBacksEurope: Crazy. But I am a bit disappointed in his free agency trip because it seems from the beginning that there were just a handful of teams eligible and there was a huge lack of gossip surrounding it all. What could have been the sensation story of the decade for MLB has been a rather dull one. As for the Dodgers: let’s hope spending all that money on Ohtani keeps them from spending in other areas.

Spencer: insert words Jim won’t allow us to publish.

I got the news while at the MLS Cup where I watched Columbus Crew handily destroy the Los Angels FC. The chants were perfect for the Ohtani news; you can imagine the wording yourselves (or find a video online)! LA can buy players but they’ve shown regularly they can’t always buy the flag.

ISH95: Like most of the baseball world, I was shocked and saddened when Ohtani announced that, to paraphrase Alexander the Great, there was nothing left for him to conquer and immediately retired. Simultaneously the greatest career ever and the biggest question of what could have been.

At least that’s what Jon Morosi told me happened.

(UPDATE) **** this

Makakilo: The Dodgers?! Always the optimist, I see three upsides:

  • Diamondbacks’ fans will see Ohtani play at Chase Field.
  • The Dodgers could have acquired several awesome players, but instead acquired one awesome player (Ohtani). The alternatives that will not happen could help the Diamondbacks be more competitive.
  • If Ohtani’s performance falls at the end of the contract, the Dodgers keep paying him the full amount (the yearly average exceeds half the total salary of all the Diamondbacks).

Steak85: The Dodgers bought the biggest name on the market. Add the Yankees adding the second-biggest name on the market, and this is just a normal offseason.

It’s too bad. Ohtani is fun and good for baseball. Now I have to hope that this deal becomes the Bobby Bonilla deal for the next generation. I don’t like that. But it will make it that much sweeter when they still don’t win.

Steven: Good for them for taking advantage of an idiotic league that allows any team to spend as much as they want.

Ben: As a baseball fan and one of those that enjoys seeing additional wealth transfer from ownership to actual players, I like it. I’m also interested to see if the “deferrals” included in the contract that the media continues to mention becomes more commonplace for some of these “mega deals.” I love the idea of stars making deliberate choices to get their well-deserved pay while also trying to help the franchise be competitive in the long-term. As a D-Backs fan, it definitely kind of sucks to see him go to a divisional rival, but there are plenty of upsides: there are fewer divisional games now, Ohtani was always going to go somewhere that would annoy me, the Dodgers need pitching more than they need a super-DH, and the size of the contract probably precludes them from other signings.

James: I could have done with him signing elsewhere. Of all the teams in baseball, the Dodgers were the only team I wanted to see miss out on him. Anyone else would have been fine. As for the money, the Dodgers have plenty of it. This is a legacy signing. The intent isn’t to get $70 million of value out of his playing. It’s about making several statements all at once. While he was playing for the Angels, seeing him in Tempe was easy enough. Now, instead of inexpensive Spring Training games, I’ll see him at Chase Field instead. The Dodgers will be paying out luxury tax penalties for some time now, so that helps hamper their draft somewhat, though not nearly as much as it used to.I suspect the Dodgers will be just fine, no matter how this contract turns out. That’s not good for the Diamondbacks’ hopes of a NL West title, but it is good for the game. AZ is just going to have to find the right times to get hot again.

What streaming services do you use, and why?

DBacksEurope: I have for obvious reasons and also have a subscription to Disney+. More than anything “for the kids”, but they have a fair amount of interesting documentaries. Other than that I switch on and off between HBO Max and Netflix. That’s it, I don’t use music streaming.

Spencer: Between friends and family I use most. My biggest are probably Paramount and Apple though. I think both are underrated and I’m seriously worried Paramount won’t make it in the grand scheme… as for why those two? Apple makes high quality television (movies are…um…not up to snuff yet) in the vein of what HBO was before Game of Thrones was massive and Discovery ruined the company. Paramount also makes high quality shows but they aren’t quite as good; I like their catalog of comedies and crime dramas. I’m a sucker for a sitcom binge of Frasier (new and old!) or Ghosts or a night of Criminal Minds.

Makakilo: For one month, I subscribed to Fubo to watch the World Series. As I waited for my subscription to expire, I was delighted by two pickleball tournaments. I recorded them and watched significant portions in small time segments. I extended my subscription by a month, but intend to cancel it.

To watch the Diamondbacks’ regular season games, I subscribe to MLB.TV.

I know local people who have appeared (and will likely appear again) on NCIS Hawaii and Magnum PI, so I subscribe to Paramount (NCIS Hawaii) and Peacock (Magnum PI).

For entertainment, I subscribe to Netflix and BritBox (Death in Paradise). Also, I watched one movie on Amazon Prime Video because it was the easiest way to see it.

Ben: Between my in-laws and my parents, we have most of the major streaming services, but we mostly go between Hulu and Apple TV. We’ve been on a string of hit shows from the latter (For All Mankind, Severance, and Black Bird all being excellent examples) and Hulu has plenty of comfort shows. There are definitely times we’ll use Disney+ for the Marvel/Star Wars content, but that’s decreased significantly over the past year or so.

James: Back when I began cutting the cord over a decade ago, I had pretty much all of them. Then, as prices increased over time and the catalogues got smaller, we have let subscriptions lapse. We have Amazon Prime for the shopping. That there is a thriving streaming service as part of Prime is just bonus for us. It isn’t why we have Prime. Right now, we have the Disney+ legacy bundle, which gets us ad-free Hulu and ESPN+ in addition to Disney+. We’ll probably keep that for now, since there is plenty of soccer on ESPN+ and the family enjoys some of the shared DIsney/Hulu content. If they increase their price again though, especially if they do so in a way that breaks up our bundle, we will likely let it go as well. For baseball, we purchase the annual MLB package, though I cancelled it a few years ago, I ended up picking it back up last season because the Diamondbacks were actually doing good things. Now, if I could just find a single reliable streaming service for soccer, I’d be all set, but that coverage is too fractured, so I’ll stick with what I have.