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Snake Bytes 2/21: Is It April Yet?

Dreaming of Meaningful baseball

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April Showers bring May Flowers — Weasyl

Diamondbacks News:

[SI] Ken Kendrick and Derrick Hall Address Media at Spring Training

The Diamondbacks television contract, stadium issues, expectations of the team and much more covered in a wide ranging interview session

[AZCentral] Sources: D-Backs open to long-term deal with rookie Corbin Carroll PAYWALL

In recent years, clubs have become increasingly aggressive in locking up young players to long-term extensions. Some of the game’s brightest young stars, including Seattle Mariners center fielder Julio Rodriguez and Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco, signed contracts after relatively little service time.

Rodriguez’s deal came late in his rookie season, after he had already established himself as the frontrunner for the American League Rookie of the Year award. He was guaranteed $210 million over 12 years. Franco signed an 11-year, $182 million deal after a 70-game rookie season in 2021.

Given his relative inexperience, Carroll’s value might be closer to that of players who signed extensions before reaching the majors, such as those given to White Sox outfielders Luis Robert (six years, $50 million) and Eloy Jimenez (six years, $43 million).

[SI] Diamondbacks Spring Training Notes

Pitchers and catchers reported to the Diamondbacks spring training camp on Wednesday, February 15th and today [yesterday] is the first day of full squad workouts with all position players present. Fans are welcome at Salt River Fields to watch workouts and can interact with players.

[B/R] Top 10 MLB Players Most Likely to be Traded in 2023

[Honorable Mention] 1B Christian Walker, Arizona Diamondbacks: It was in the face of real interest that the D-backs chose not to deal Walker, who eventually hit 36 home runs and won a Gold Glove, last summer. Perhaps they’ll relent this year, but it doesn’t seem certain. Courtesy of reinforcements from their strong farm system, Arizona might just contend between now and the end of Walker’s club control in 2024.

[MLB] D-backs GM talks expectations for 2023

1. Madison Bumgarner is in the Opening Day rotation.

2. What constitutes a successful season for the D-backs?

Baseball News:

[MLB] Was it nothing? Bohm reveals untold story from World Series HR

“To be honest with you, we faced [McCullers] at the very end of the season,” Bohm said. “I thought I knew what pitch I was getting first-pitch from him for two weeks. I was taking a chance. I know this guy throws [less than] 80 percent [offspeed], but I think he’s going to throw me a first-pitch sinker. He threw a sinker. You would have thought that we knew he was tipping [his pitches] because who goes up and ambushes a sinker on McCullers? I kept telling Kevin, he’s throwing me a sinker. Slider, slider, slider, but I hit that pitch well. He’s throwing me a sinker. And that’s what he did. I sat slider the whole time we faced him in the regular season. It didn’t work well.”

[theAthletic] Steve Cohen: MLB’s new economic committee ‘absolutely not’ targeting Mets’ record spending PAYWALL

Cohen declined to say exactly how much money the team will lose in 2022 on an operational basis but confirmed the team would lose money.

“I’m not going to give you that number, but it’s bigger than a breadbox,” Cohen said. “I’m not going to get into the economics. You know, you gotta remember, I’m investing in this team. Right now, I’m used to investing in my hedge fund. I’m used to — I take a longer-term point of view, and not a short-term point of view. And you got to remember that we’re holding on to our prospects. And so while we’re spending money, we’re also creating assets, what they consider asset value in baseball. So there’s multiple ways to look at it. And, you know, you don’t always want to just look at it year to year.”

[theAthletic] Rosenthal: Tension over MLB salary arbitration rulings could translate to another battle PAYWALL

The union disputes that the league’s proposal would have paid more money to arbitration-eligible players. And the union is adamant that the current system should remain intact.

“While we often disagree with individual hearing results, salary arbitration is a right that generations of players have fought for and defended despite MLB’s repeated attempts to eliminate it,” a union spokesperson said. “It empowers players who are under club control and their agents to negotiate a salary or, failing an agreement, to have an arbitration panel step in to determine that salary.”

Not every player sees it that way. Bichette called arbitration, “an incredibly flawed process, one that isn’t very good for the game,” adding, “there’s no reason to pit owners and executives against players, just no reason.” Cardinals reliever Ryan Helsley, after losing his case, indicated an openness to the kind of formula the league proposed, saying, “Maybe come up with some kind of algorithm for first-, second, third-year (arbitration-eligible) guys so you can avoid that confrontation … maybe we’ll see that in the future, who knows.”

Not likely. The union first gained the right to salary arbitration under Marvin Miller in 1973. Arbitration was a key issue in several work stoppages, and the union wants no part of any formula that will operate as a cap and eliminate negotiating rights. Tucker would have earned $8.5 million under the league’s pay-for-performance proposal, $1 million more than he requested in arbitration. But the union believes a short-term boost for individual players, or even the group as a whole, would not be worth losing the long-term ability to negotiate upward.

For now, with the current CBA running through 2026, those on the players’ side have a more immediate issue — trying to figure out why they lost so many big decisions in arbitration this year.

[B/R] Angels’ Shohei Ohtani Has ‘Earned the Right’ to Test Free Agency, Agent Says

Nez Balelo, who is Shohei Ohtani’s agent, made it sound as though the two-way star will not sign an extension with the Los Angeles Angels before the 2023 season at the end of which he’ll be an unrestricted free agent.

“I’ve always been open to it,” Balelo said when asked about negotiating during spring training, per Alden Gonzalez of ESPN. “But there’s several layers to this one, and Shohei’s earned the right to play through the year, explore free agency, and we’ll see where it shakes out.”

That Ohtani and his representation would be interested in exploring free agency doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

[MLB] Marlins’ No. 1 prospect throws heat in 1st live BP

During the 25-pitch live BP, Pérez maxed out at 99 mph and threw everything in his arsenal, focusing on landing his slider and changeup in the zone. The day before, he watched his mentor [Sandy Alcantara] do the same thing while facing the likes of Jazz Chisholm Jr. on the same back field.

According to MLB Pipeline’s scouting report, Pérez’s slider (60) and changeup (70) are plus offerings on the 20-80 grading sale. His upper-80s changeup generated a 61 percent swing-and-miss rate in 2022 due to its fade and tumble, while the mid-80s slider debuted and showed more consistency than his curveball.

International News:

[MLB] Martinez rejoins Team USA as starter: ‘It’s incredibly special’

Martinez agonized, then made the only logical choice. He withdrew from the WBC — all while holding out hope that a starting opportunity would emerge.

Sure enough, a starting job became available — and it now belongs to Martinez. Following the recent withdrawals of Clayton Kershaw [medical insurance issue] and Nestor Cortes [hamstring injury], Martinez will pitch for Team USA at the World Baseball Classic next month. It’s not yet clear which games Martinez will start, but he’s been assured he’ll be part of the rotation.

[] Tecos, Mexican Baseball legend revisits historic career

Cuauhtemoc “Chito” Rodriguez is an eight-time champion, a Mexican Baseball Hall of Famer and one of two Mexicans to ever be named King of Baseball by the minor leagues.

Rodriguez was part of the Tecolotes’ return to Nuevo Laredo in the 70s as well as their eventually foray into playing for the first time in the U.S. And with a lifetime of passion for the game as well as his impressive work as a general manager and director in the Mexican League, Rodriguez has had a legendary career.

[Baseball America] 2023 China World Baseball Classic Roster PAYWALL

Angels righthander Alan Carter is the lone player on Team China’s roster who plays in the U.S. minor leagues. Ray Chang, long Team China’s stalwart, returns. The 39-year-old also played on China’s 2009, 2013 and 2017 WBC teams. Pitcher Chaoqun Zheng and catcher Li Ning both played on Team China’s 2017 World Baseball Classic team.

Yosuke Masago, an outfielder with experience in the Nippon Professional Baseball league, gives the team some veteran savvy in the outfield.