James gave his grade for the team’s off-season. What do you think they deserve?
Spencer: While I agree with James on many points, I’d be kinder overall and go with a C-. I feel like we’re going to end up in the same win range using rookies versus over the hill veterans (75-82 wins). Since there’s little upside in SF hasbeens and Davies, I went C- instead of C+.
DBacksEurope: I am with James. It was a very underwhelming off-season and I don’t agree with some opinions that mentioned that it is all okay because they haven’t given out a big and dumb contract. It is pretty sad that an off-season is valued by that. The team is on the rise and what they will do now is waste a year of our young stars on the rise and Zac Gallen by putting very mediocre players around them, while they should have made a push for guys that will instantly deliver and will bring this team to playoff contention. The bullpen hasn’t improved and in the rotation we will see Bumgarner and Davies for another year. We signed a veteran platoon bat who has been often injured the past two years. I think James expressed it rather well how disappointing that is. But I guess we have the best farm system now, yay. But you don’t get a Champions trophy for that.
Wesley: I agree with James on the D+ grade, and his grades for each section. I am a BIG fan of the Moreno acquisition, but everything else the Dbacks have done this offseason is extremely underwhelming or elicits a “meh” at BEST. However, there’s some high reward/low risk acquisitions that could make this offseason look much better in hindsight.
Justin: I agree with most of what James said. To me, there isnt much of a difference between a C+ or C- so I will just say a C. Kind of a “meh.”
ISH95: I agree with the majority of his grades, but I significantly disagree with his assessment of the FA portion. Realistically, the Diamondbacks were never going to truly be in the running for a marquee FA this off season, and instead, got a couple of low risk vets to fill holes, but in such a way that the won’t block deserving promotions. Overall, I’d probably give it a B-, with the biggest knock being the bullpen once again
Makakilo: When I set aside my optimistic view, I remain highly confident that the offseason moves improved the Diamondbacks, especially sustainability at catcher, increased depth in the infield, and an improved bullpen. Therefore, I cannot conceive of a grade lower than a B.
James’ article was articulate and well expressed. Today I started working on an article to express my view of the offseason. Instead of addressing everything in the roundtable, I will limit myself to three points that differ from James’ article:
- For bullpen pitchers, I look at different metrics. For example, I like Sulser.
- The minor league signings, especially bullpen pitchers, are much better than a “big nothing burger.”
- FA signings. The most significant FA loss was Zach Davies, and he was re-signed. In 2022, he had the Diamondbacks’ fifth highest average game score, which was worth retaining. The other signed free agents were low cost, and therefore have little downside risk.
What grade would you give Mike Hazen for his off-season?
This poll is closed
Avnet became the team’s first uniform sponsor. Most people weren’t very happy about it. Were you?
Spencer: Truly don’t care. I don’t watch baseball to look at some dude’s sleeve…
DBacksEurope: You shouldn’t be happy with these kinds of things because it will be just the beginning. But the patch on the sleeve isn’t the worst thing to have if it stays there and is kept in line with the team’s colours.
Wesley: I had no idea that happened, and until reading this question and doing some googling, I had no idea who AVNET is or what they do. After reading about it… I still don’t understand why people are mad other than being baseball purists who don’t want any ads on uniforms. Which is the norm literally every where else in the world.
Justin: I don’t like it per say, but to be honest it was more than likely a matter of time.
Makakilo: Three perspectives:
Having simple, clean, and unadulterated uniforms stands out as a pleasing baseball characteristic. Perhaps baseball drew an imaginary line limiting advertising to give its’ fans a clean and principled game. From this perspective, no uniform advertisement is best; small and clean patches are better than large and gaudy advertisements.
In 2019, Manchester United (a soccer team) made $199.4 Million per year from three sponsors, each of whom had an advertisement on their jerseys. Selling just two advertisements could perhaps double the Diamondbacks’ budget for player salaries - making yearly contention very likely! From this perspective, the Diamondbacks uniforms should be 100% advertisement to allow the team to field the best possible players.
Advertising sponsors should share the same values and characteristics as the Diamondbacks. To do otherwise risks the high intangible cost of embarrassing the Diamondbacks. From this perspective, adding an Avnet patch was a good choice.
Considering all three perspectives, I am happy about the Avnet patch.
ISH95: It looks horrible. It’s clunky, it’s distracting and not in an effective advertising way, and clashes with the color scheme of the uniforms. Hate it.
Rumor on Reddit though it’s getting a redesign so fingers crossed
Which non-roster invitees will make the team?
Spencer: I have no clue. So I’ll guess Familia and Stumpo.
DBacksEurope: I guess we ask ourselves “who will make the team on opening day?” Best chance is always a pitcher. I will go with Brandon Pfaadt, I am not sure what he has left to prove in AAA so I see him making the opening day roster. On the position side I will take Phillip Evans, since he is a versatile infielder who had some stints with success in Pittsburgh.
Wesley: I think Pfaadt stands a good chance to make the roster out of spring training. He has little to prove in Reno like DBE said. Familia and Stumpo stand a good chance too. Coincidentally, Michael McDermott and I launched a podcast over the weekend talking about exactly this question, as well as the Diamondbacks farm system, top prospects, Corbin Carroll, and the NL RoY race. We’re calling it the Baby Backs Banter Podcast. You can find the first episode on YouTube here. Please like, subscribe, and leave a comment!
Justin: I think Pfaadt, Familia or another pitcher. I always look forward to how the non roster guys fare. I remember Ryan Roberts was a non roster invite that made the team in 2009. But, I suppose for every Ryan Roberts there are a dozen, “Who?”
Makakilo: During this season’s major rebuild of the bullpen, non-roster pitchers (invitees) could make the team, either because of their break-through performance or due to an injury of a rostered pitcher.
Let’s look at two power pitchers (impressive speed on fastballs) who have not mastered their control. Impressive velocity is a rare talent that opens up real possibilities of success beyond deus ex machina.
They could be considered project pitchers – perhaps one tweak away from dominating as a reliever. Both non-rostered pitchers are on the 40-man roster, which makes it easier to move them to the active roster. Playing the odds, one of them will make the team!
They are Luis Frias and Ryan Hendrix.
Luis Frias. He could be the Diamondback whose fastball has the highest average velocity (Miguel Castro looks like his main competitor). In the Majors (2021 and 2022), despite his fastballs’ high velocity, he was excellent in preventing home runs. With no runners on base, his .523 OPS was great. A weakness showing his control issue was that his 22 walks exceeded his 17 strikeouts. ZiPS projected Luis Frias’ FIP will be 3.99.
Ryan Hendrix. His fastballs’ average velocity could be third or fourth highest in the bullpen. In the Majors (2022), he faced 38 batters and achieved some excellent stats: .237 SO/BF, .154 whiffs per pitch, .263 (balls-in-play + HR) per strike. A weakness showing his control issue was 8 home runs with 142 batters faced in 2021. ZiPs projected Ryan Hendrix’s FIP will be 4.49.
ISH95: I’m hopeful Familia earns a spot. If we get something close to what he used to be, that will be a huge get for the team.
Who was your favorite closer in team history?
Spencer: Fernando Rodney. The arrow shot is iconic and will live in my heart forever.
DBacksEurope: I actually never saw him pitch in a game, but if so, I am pretty sure it would have been Kim. That was some nasty pitching, with a very characteristic delivery, and if it wasn’t for the blows in the WS he would be chosen unanimously on here, I am sure.
I can live with Rodney too. Probably not the strongest closer, but the entrance music was electric and he will always be remembered for both his time here, the way he wears the cap to honour his father and the “flecha”.
It would be nice to have a fixed closer again, one you can rely on. The Mets have Diaz who is terrific and has a kickass walk on music. Let’s hope we get to experience that with the Diamondbacks.
Wesley: Byung-Hyun Kim. Yes, he gave us multiple heart attacks in ‘01, but people forget how good he was during the regular season in 2001, and the following season in ‘02. Valverde is probably second for me, but Rodney’s arrow shot IS iconic.
Justin: Yeah, I am with Wes. Kim was an allstar for us in 2002. I always thought his submarine style was awesome and unique. Valverde is a second for me too.I remember the 2007 season with the 1-2-3 lights out Pena-Lyon-Valverde combo. I dont think we have really ever had that before or since. Now watch someone point out such and such player and making me go, “How’d I miss that?” Speaking of 2007, I was at the NLDS game 1 against the Cubs. There was a Cubs fan shining a sign right when Valverde was delivering his pitches. I was on the 1B side, so I couldn’t see why the umpires called time and pointed at a fan. I texted a friend of mine that I knew was watching on tv.
Makakilo: There is a one-time, all-time favorite event when Randy Johnson, after pitching seven innings for the victory in Game 6 of the World Series, on the following day he entered the game as a reliever to pick up the final four outs of Game 7. He was credited with 3 wins in that World Series, which the Diamondbacks won.
Looking beyond that event, I’m going for showmanship! My favorite closer is Fernando Rodney. He celebrated saves by pretending to shoot a bow and arrow toward the sky.
ISH95: PAPA GRANDE. 2007 was my first season of being an actual fan, rather than just being aware there was a team and watching when I could. Even though he was a heart attack waiting to happen, his presence on the mound was just a blast
Wesley: Randy’s appearance in the world series was awesome, but closing a game once doesn’t make him a closer. Totally cheating there Makakilo!
Can Team UK avoid being mercy-ruled in the WBC?
Spencer: It’s nearly spring. My baseball hope is high. Sure they can!
DBacksEurope: I hope so, because seeing a baseball game end after 5 or 7 would be a terrible thing for fans in the stands and the WBC organisation who has expanded the number of teams participating. I believe GB has a better chance to avoid the mercy rule than Australia and China. They can pull from guys playing in the US unlike those teams so I am sure we will see Jim more than once pulling the Union Jack over his head.
Wesley: DBE is right, it’d be great if they did, and I’ll be rooting for GB just to hopefully maybe increase the European fan base a tiny bit.
Justin: Are they mostly English players? If yes, then they deserve it lol. Seriously though, I don’t want to see any team get mercy ruled. I am echoing DBE’s response.
Makakilo: Three thoughts:
This year is the debut of Great Britain in the WBC.
The WBSC recently ranked Great Britain as #22, which is the lowest rank of all the teams in group C. However, that rank does not carry as much weight as who plays for each team and how well they play in the WBC. As the lowest ranked team in group C, every game won is cause for celebration!
When the WBC was played in 2017, only 4 of the 36 games in the first round were stopped early because of the mercy rule. Therefore, despite being the lowest ranked team in group C, Great Britain is slightly more likely than not to avoid the mercy rule. The chances are good that Jim will be celebrating!
ISH95: The beauty of baseball is every team has a chance every single game. No such thing as a scheduled loss here :)
What Cartoon is a 10/10 in your opinion?
Spencer: This is vague. Are we talking serialized “Saturday Morning Cartoon?” Cause that’s probably the OG Teen Titans for me. If I branch that out to include adult cartoons, I offer Young Justice. But if we’re talking animated media? Attack on Titan. Shout out to Onward, Coco and Inside Out from Pixar. All. Da. Feelz.
DBacksEurope: Doraemon The Cosmic Cat is a great cartoon. I never saw it as a kid, but as an adult now, with my kids, as it is broadcasted here. It’s about a blue cat from the future who ends up living with this kid in Japan in the present. The cat pulls all kinds of gadgets from the future out of his belly pocket. The kid he lives with and his “friends” abuse the inventions too many times. It’s really funny! To give an example: in one episode there is a false magic mirror that tells everyone they are beautiful and then tricks them into pulling ridiculous faces showing them they are even more beautiful that way. And then the kids run around in the village that way thinking they are beautiful while they are actually ridiculous. It’s innocent and fun and at the same time gives mini-lessons to kids.
Wesley. Cowboy Bebop. The animation, soundtrack, everything. The English dub is arguably better than original Japanese voice cast. Batman: The Animated Series, Spectacular Spider-Man are two extremely good superhero cartoons that hold up. Disney’s Gargoyles is another that’s great, especially if you’re a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation, most of the TNG cast has a voice role in the series. Jonathan Frakes, who played Ryker on TNG, is excellent as the series Main Villain David Xanatos.
As far as animated films, anything by Studio Ghibli is good, but I’m going to give a shout out to Grave Of Fireflies in particular. That movie is… 10/10, but also something I don’t think I’ll ever watch again.
Spencer: I adore Grave of the Fireflies… but yikes. Yeah that’s a one time watch
Wesley: I actually laughed out loud reading Spencer’s response to my answer. Just for those who don’t know, Grave Of Fireflies is a movie involving war orphans surviving the aftermath of the atomic bombing in Japan. It is absolutely a beautiful film, but it is truly hard to watch. Harder than Schindler’s List or pretty much any other film that I’ve seen. I’m impressed Spencer has seen it! For a less depressing answer for an animated film, I’ll go with Loving Vincent. It’s a film that was animated with OIL PAINTS. It has a very heartfelt story, and the animation is absolutely gorgeous. Every Frame Is Literally A Painting. That movie should have won an Oscar.
Justin: I love Family Guy and the older Simpsons, Southpark. I watched pokemon and played some of the video games as a teen.
Makakilo: Lower Decks – an animated series about young low level Starfleet officers with menial entry level jobs, serving on a ship that is intended to perform routine missions. The senior officers and commanding officers are supporting characters. In the last 3 years, it was nominated for 14 awards with one actual award. Ironically, or perhaps appropriately, instead of the main characters, the award was for a supporting character: Dawnn Lewis won Outstanding Actress Animated Program for her role as Captain Carol Freeman.
ISH95: Can I just say I love our group of writers? We’ve got everything from an animated movie about orphans after a nuclear bombing to Family Guy lol
I’m going to answer Scooby Doo for best Saturday morning cartoon, adult animation the first… four seasons of Archer, and animated movie Up.
Wesley: As far as Scooby-Doo goes, I gotta throw out Mystery Inc. It’s a great reimagining of the series with some supernatural elements thrown in.
Jim: I’m just going to chip in on this one. I grew up adoring Tom and Jerry, and to me that remains the finest example of “classic” cartoonery. I don’t have much time for most of the modern Western genre, which seem too intent on imitating real-life, when the benefit of animation you can draw whatever you want. I did go through a big anime phase in the nineties, and some of those remain favorites. Studio Ghibli, Wings of Honneamise and Akira are all awesome. But I’m with Wes and Spencer: Grave of the Fireflies is the ultimate, “That was amazing. I never want to watch it again” film. Early Pixar stuff is also great, before they got Disney’d. Love, Death and Robots is mostly good to excellent.