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SnakePit Round Table: Mike Hazen cracks a Joc

The D-backs got their man. Or did they?

Syndication: Arizona Republic Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

The D-backs got their DH. What do you think of the Joc Pederson signing?

Spencer: Eh. I’m honestly surprised they signed a name that big and it makes me worry about mid season budget for acquisitions since it seems like they are planning on much better fan turn out in 2024. Personally, I’m skeptical the Arizona fans will turn out, but so long as this is sustained and not abandoned after one bad financial year, it’ll be fine.

DBacksEurope: When I read the article on here I have to admit that I got more positive about the signing. I thought they would have leaned more towards a Justin Turner who can also play some infield. Pederson can play some outfield so I really wonder where the signing leaves Pavin Smith. It is hard to argue that the team didn’t get better with Pederson, so we have to be positive and I think it is a fair contract.

Steak85: Pederson had a down year last year when it comes to the results. But the underlying metrics suggest that he was unlucky. In addition to his hard hit rate, he also draws a lot of walks. Hopefully, his on-base ability will rub off on some of the other players in the lineup. I’m excited about the lineup, particularly against right handed pitching.

Also, it’s funny that Hazen traded for Pham last year and signed Pederson this offseason.

Dano: Meh, but I’m trying to keep an open mind. I am persuadable. Pederson’s not as expensive as some of the alternatives, so there’s that. And per Chronicles of the Desert’s point in the initial post after the news broke, it’s surely better than rolling Pavin Smith out instead. Pederson’s got a track record of hitting fair balls over outfield fences not infrequently. And if he’s a bust, it’s only a one-year deal.

Overall, though, I’m happy the deal got done because the Pederson signing checked one of the last big and important boxes on the Diamondbacks’ offseason checklist. Now we can stop dicking around with the Hot Stove and focus instead on the coming baseball season, which I am incredibly happy is coming soon.

Justin: I agree with DBE, when I read Jim’s article it made me a bit more positive about it. I’ll just wait and see, like it or not he is on our team now.

Makakilo: Acquiring Pederson as DH made sense, for reasons explained in my AZ Snake Pit article, scheduled to post Tuesday.

In addition, I am very happy that the Diamondbacks only committed to one season. That allows for the fortunate possibility that one of the Diamondbacks’ prospects will push Pederson out of his DH roster position.

Wesley: Shameless plug, but I talked about the signing with Michael McDermott on the most recent podcast episode. TLDW: After reading up on his peripherals last season, I’m optimistic he can at least be a productive LHB DH and will have some positive regression. I think playing in games that actually matter should help too. I would have liked some of the more expensive options, but all things considered, not a bad signing..

James: Meh, at best. I’m not a huge fan, but the team adding a bit more pop to the lineup is welcome. Last year was a down year for PEderson. The problem there is, with the rule changes, it should have been a banner year for him, especially with his underlying numbers. Such a severe underperformance has me worried that Father Time has already started to catch up with him. Since the team has to be creeping close to the payroll limit, I am concerned that there were better ways to spend $12.5 million, perhaps on bullpen help or mid-season flexibility.

Is there anything else Mike Hazen needs to do?

Spencer: I wouldn’t mind another reliever, but I’m also not going to be upset if one doesn’t materialize. Hader just got overpayed and Anaheim is buying them up like they are toilet paper in 2020, so my hopes aren’t high.

DBacksEurope: Yes. He should win a World Series.

Steak85: I’m seriously concerned about pitching depth. Everyone has pitched more than they are used to. So much of the team’s success will depend on two out of Pfaadt, Nelson, and Henry taking a step forward, and nobody taking a step back. Especially since the Dodgers have bought just about every pitcher they could. But, at the end of the day, we’ll be going into the season with a team that has a ceiling of winning the championship. Yes, it would be nice to have a floor of 95 wins like the Dodgers, but I’ll take what we have.

Dano: I’m on board with both Spencer and Steak. I’m less concerned about rotation depth, but another veteran starter/swingman/someone who could step in if needed would be nice. Not gonna happen, but it would be nice. As for bullpen arms, also not gonna happen, I don’t think, at least not for real money. Dumpster diving for bullpen help is what we do, and have done for years, and while it’s worked badly for the most part, every now and then we seem to find at least a semi-precious gem amidst the junk.

Justin: I like DBE’s answer the most…But, yeah, pitching depth I suppose.

Makakilo: I’m sticking with what I wrote in the last roundtable:

“Next, I would add relief pitcher depth on minor league contracts with spring training invites. At this point, relief pitcher depth is a good idea – especially pitchers who have the right mental strength to continuously prepare and be ready for their opportunity.” — Makakilo

Wesley: More relief pitching and bench depth seems like the obvious answer.

James: I would like to see more bullpen support and more depth overall. The team is especially thin on the infield and the acquisition of Pederson does nothing to help that.

Adrian Beltre and Joe Mauer made it into Cooperstown. Any arguments?

Spencer: Unbelievable that Beltre wasn’t unanimous and people are arguing about Mauer… both deserving and both have my awe and respect.

DBacksEurope: Not at all, great players. Mauer had terrific stats for a catcher.

Steak85: There are three positions that need re-evaluation as far as how we measure greatness: starting pitcher, relief pitcher, and catcher. By the standards of bygone eras, Mauer wasn’t great for long enough. By the standard of the twenty-first century, he’s one of the best. We’ll have a much more interesting discussion when Yadier Molina and Salvador Perez are on the ballot.

Dano: None. Both are deserving, in my estimation, and I’m happy for them.

Justin: Both were great players and deserving.

Makakilo: My opinion is that Mauer and Beltre were not the best two players in this year’s voting.

Wesley: Just to address what Makakilo said first, I personally only care about performance enhancing drug use if they did it after testing was implemented, and/or lied under oath about it. So thar disqualifies guys like Palmiero, Alex Rodriguez, and Ryan Braun, but wouldn’t disqualify Beltre. I think linking hin to steroid for his career 2004 season is spurious, at best. Beltre and Mauer are first ballot Hall of Famers in my opinion.

James: I have more issues with who was excluded and how the voting panned out than I do with the former players who were selected.

Todd Helton is in Cooperstown, but not the SnakePit Hall of Fame. Should he be? Why or why not?

Spencer: He’s about 3-4 years late in his induction. He’s not only a top 1B of his era, he’s the (basically only) icon of an entire team. Additionally he is one of the last players to play his entire career for a single team. His legacy in MLB is cemented. Now so is his face in Coopertown. There is no argument for keeping him out other than personal bias.

DBacksEurope: He wasn’t a great defender and Coors Field was his home. People on here don’t respect that combo.

Steak85: The argument against him basically comes down to his not being great on the road. But his road OPS was still higher than the OPS of Mauer or Beltre. Helton was an on-base machine. Among active players, only Juan Soto has a higher OBP. Of the 28 players in baseball history who have a higher career OBP than Helton, 21 are in the Hall of Fame. The seven who aren’t? Soto, of course. Barry Bonds and Shoeless Joe, for various behavioral reasons. Bill Joyce and Ferris Fain played fewer than ten seasons. That leaves Max Bishop (who played 12 seasons in the 1920s and 1930s) and Cupid Childs (a pre-modern era player) as the only two who played ten seasons and aren’t basically ineligible who aren’t in the Hall.

Dano: I honestly don’t know what the specific criteria for the SnakePit Hall of Fame are, so I’m not sure. Helton was a great ballplayer, though, and was a feared adversary for us for many years, so yeah, assuming there’s not something in the bylaws to forbid it, I’d say, sure, put him in.

Justin: I have voted for Helton every year.

Makakilo: My view is Todd Helton did not use performance enhancing drugs. That is because he vigorously defended himself when accused.

“Todd Helton’s good name was so important to him that he went on a national campaign to refute statements made by a former Colorado Rockies broadcaster that the prolific first baseman was, at one point, “on the juice.” — Michael Smith, ESPN

However, his two incidents of intoxicated driving (2013 and 2019) made him a bad role model. Therefore, he is not the best use of a vote.

Wesley: Same thing applies with Helton re: performance enhancing substance use allegations. He just barely meets my qualifications for a HoF first baseman, but I give him the nod largely due to the impact he had playing for a very young franchise.

James: Todd Helton is a player who I always felt was in the borderline category. I have no issues with people supporting his candidacy.

If you could put one team MASCOT in the Hall of Fame, which one would it be?

DBacksEurope: I hate mascots. If I had to pick one I’d take the Philly Phanatic because it’s the funniest one.

Steak85: The Phanatic and the San Diego Chicken really made the whole mascot thing happen. I don’t think that’s a good thing, but some people like them.

Daano: The Phanatic, hands down. There can be no other choice.

Justin: I have no opinion, and generally ignore them, but I’ll go with the Phanatic. Do we get batteries?

Makakilo: I enjoy watching the giant-sized Legends race around Chase. Put the Legends in the Hall of Fame! Yes, it’s four mascots instead of one, but they are like the four musketeers.

Wesley: Youppi! That is all.

Justin: I will admit, I did think about Youppi before my previous comment. (For those that don’t know, he is now the Montreal Canadiens’ mascot. The Canadiens announced he would be their mascot in September 2005.)

James: Despite my dislike, the Philly Phanatic.

What’s the best Saturday Night Live character/sketch of all time?

DBacksEurope: No idea, I watched just a couple on YouTube. I like Key & Peele more. Ask me what my favourite is of those.

Dano: Wow. That’s tough. Chevy Chase’s Gerald Ford was brilliant in the first season. Also from season 1, the Landshark skit. I quite liked Kate McKinnon’s takes on both Sean Spicer and Rudy Giuliani (and Jeff Sessions) during the Trump administration. Overall, Weekend Update has been the best part of the show for me for its entire run. But I would have to give it to Eddie Murphy’s recurring Mr. Robinson’s neighborhood bit. That was savage, every single time, and Lorne Michaels allowed it/he got away with it on network television in the 1980s, which was also a very low point for SNL.

Justin: I have always liked Weekend Update.

Makakilo: The More Cowbell sketch is a rock band in a recording studio. One band member (Will Farrell) is hugely all-about playing his cowbell. At one point, the producer (Christopher Walken) says, “I got a fever. And the only prescription is more cowbells.” So, I like cowbells.

Dano: “More Cowbell” is an excellent choice.

Wesley: I would have said the Cowbell sketch, but I’ll go with Old Glory Insurance instead. Sam Waterson’s affectation (or lack thereof) really sells that “actor in a commercial scamming old people purely for the paycheck” vibe. ‘Papyrus’, ‘Matt Foley’, and ‘Schmitt’s Gay” are also up there.

James: I stopped watching SNL with anything resembling regularity many, many years ago. Heck, now that I think about it, it has been over 25 years since I paid any sort of real attention. Though less of a running skit, my favourite act of the show is likely one of the bigger old school ones, The Blues Brothers.