Druw Jones, 19, OF, ARI (A)
131 PA, 2 HR, 6 SB, .252/.366/.351
This year, perhaps no prospect has lost more clout than Jones. A Top 10 prospect entering the season, he’s now at risk of falling off Top 50 lists. Injuries cost his entire 2022 season and most of 2023. Early in the season, he struggled mightily. The good news: there is a silver lining. Since returning to action on August 1, Jones is batting .274/.389/.400 with a tolerable 24.8 percent strikeout rate. His speed and double-plus outfield defense have been on display as well. While Jones has been leapfrogged by other worthy names, he appears to be back on a positive developmental track.
[Inside the Diamondbacks] Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen Linked to Red Sox Opening by Michael McDermott
Arizona has the ability to block teams from talking to Hazen if it’s a lateral move from his current title of Executive Vice President and General Manager. However if it’s for a President of Baseball Operations or Chief Baseball Officer position, which would be considered a promotion, they are obligated to give the Red Sox permission to interview him. Hazen worked in their front office from 2006-2016, starting out as their farm director before working his way up to be their general manager under President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski. Without an opportunity to climb up any further in Boston, he came to Arizona to as the top decision maker in their baseball operations.
[Inside the Diamondbacks] Torey Lovullo Managing His Pitchers Like the Postseason by Michael McDermott
“I am doing things with our starting pitcher that I haven’t done ever. I’m clipping guys at 65-75 pitches, and I feel like there’s a script in my head I’m comfortable with. I want their best effort, but I think this is just a little bit different. I want to match it up to help us win a baseball game the best way I know how.”
The discussions with the front office on the shift in pitcher usage began about a week before Lovullo started putting it into practice. With the D-backs needing to win every series down the stretch, it’s incumbent on the manager to treat every one of them like a postseason series.
“I don’t think of it that often, but people bring it up a lot,” Wainwright said before the Cardinals’ 1-0 win over the Brewers on Monday night at Busch Stadium. “That’s the blessing and the struggle of being a big league player — the highlight of my career happened 17 seasons ago, and I’m constantly trying to make new career moments, but it’s just not easy.”
Spencer’s Spicy Supplement: I’m glad Waino got the number he so desperately wanted, but my memory of him will forever be tainted by his ego in deciding to come back for one more year. His late-in-life “resurgence” was always connected to Yadi’s excellence rather than his own, so it’s been brutal watching him have that belated realization in real-time this season.
[MLB] 10 big offseason additions who have been crucial for contenders by Thomas Harrigan
When teams make major offseason additions, they do so with the hope that they’ll pay immediate dividends in Year 1, helping their new clubs contend for a postseason berth and, potentially, a World Series title.
Each of the players below has done just that, excelling in a new environment and aiding his club’s playoff push.
With the regular season winding down, here’s a ranking of the top 10 offseason additions contributing for postseason contenders, based on personal performance and the overall impact they’ve had with their new clubs. (All stats below are through Sunday’s games.)
Spencer’s Spicy Supplement: There are two catchers on this list, and neither is Gabriel Moreno... Nothing against Sean Murphy and William Contreras, but there are some names on this list I personally would not rank above him.
[MLBTR] Rays To Announce New Stadium Deal by Darragh McDonald
Not all of the details have been revealed, but Topkin relays that the new stadium will be built near Tropicana Field as part of a redevelopment of the Historic Gas Plant District site. It is expected to have a fixed dome roof, seat around 30,000 people and open for the 2028 season, just after the club’s lease at the Trop expires after 2027. It is believed to cost around $1.2 billion, with the exact breakdown unclear at this time. Owner Stuart Sternberg previously stated that he expected the club to pay “half or more,” with other contributions coming from St. Petersburg, Pinellas County and investors who would contribute in exchange for shares of the club.
Spencer’s Spicy Supplement: This...um...doesn’t seem to fix the big issue with Rays’ baseball. The issue is the location of the field, not it’s newness. I don’t think Tampa is going to be leaving the “should the Rays move cities” articles anytime soon.
[Fangraphs] Can Freddie Freeman Re-Open the 3,000 Hit Club? by Dan Szymborski
Two years ago, I wrote about the imminent demise of the 3,000 Hit Club after Miguel Cabrera became a member. Simply put, it was a question of math. The worse the environment is for hitting for batting average, the fewer players there will be who will put up lofty career hit totals. While it would be easy to think there are simply more lousy hitters these days, as league batting average has dropped in recent decades, the spread in individual batting averages has not increased; great players see lower batting averages when league batting averages decline. But while 2023’s new rules didn’t herald a reversal of the trend, one late entrant in the race for 3,000 hits has continued to excel: Freddie Freeman.
What makes the nadir of the 3,000 Hit Club so jarring to a baseball fan is the newness of this phenomenon. The explosion of offense in the 1990s wasn’t just homers, but batting average as well. Even going back 10 years, there were always a lot of players with career hit totals somewhere north of 2,000.
[MLBTR] Edwin Diaz Will Not Return in 2023 by Leo Morgenstern
Mets closer Edwin Díaz will not return to a major league mound in 2023, reports Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. The two-time All-Star has not suffered a setback, and he will continue to throw bullpen sessions, but the team does not want to jeopardize his health by rushing him back for the tail end of what has become a lost season. When Díaz tore his patellar tendon during the World Baseball Classic, the Mets were preseason favorites for an NL postseason berth. Six months later, they find themselves two losses away from a losing campaign.
[MLBTR] Latest on Kim Ng’s Contract Status by Mark Polishuk
The terms of Kim Ng’s contract with the Marlins weren’t made public when she was hired as general manager in November 2020, but Barry Jackson, Jordan McPherson, and Craig Mish of the Miami Herald report that Ng’s deal is up at the conclusion of the 2023 campaign. There hasn’t been any public word about extension talks, though that seems to be by design, as Marlins owner Bruce Sherman prefers for the focus to be on the club’s playoff chase.
Sherman did give the GM a vote of confidence, stating that “Kim and the baseball operations team have worked diligently throughout the year to identify players that can help us succeed. Through continuous investments by our ownership group, our club has been able to make key additions to this promising roster that is now competing for the playoffs. The additions of Josh Bell and Jake Burger at the deadline have been a great spark to our lineup as well as great individuals in the clubhouse.”
Spencer’s Spicy Supplement: Whether its Hazen, Sawdaye or both and more who get plucked from the AZ Front Office, the look of the group figures to be fairly different in a couple seasons unless ownership is willing to promote/resign a lot of talented individuals. Kim Ng is a name to keep an eye on. She’s a brilliant baseball mind who fans should be very excited about landing in that turbulent scenario. If you are unfamiliar, here is a story written in 2016 about her potential as a GM from James here at the AZSnakePit. If you disagree or have further issues with her candacy, I recommend looking up her career since 2016. To each their own, but man I’d be ecstatic to have a mind like hers working within the Diamondbacks system.