Archive for the ‘Arizona Diamondbacks’ Category

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Texas Rangers

Despite what some of the soulless ghouls known to inhabit the press box will tell you, “it’s still early” is a false flag. It is never too early to worry. It is never too early to read the writing on the wall.

After just one game, it isn’t too difficult to see the problems that will rear their ugly head for the rest of the season.

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MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks-Workout

Kevin Towers is telling his pitchers to hit batters. This is simple, this is obvious, and Major League Baseball is doing nothing about it.

On March 14th, the Diamondbacks faced the Rockies in a Spring Training game. Rockies minor leaguer Tommy Kahnle, a 23-year-old with no experience above Double-A who has never appeared on a top prospects list and who has next to zero chance at making the Rockies club out of camp, hit Mark Trumbo in the back with a fastball. These things happen.

In response, Wade Miley threw at Troy Tulowitzki. Miley hit Tulowitzki in the calf, and the Rockies’ star shortstop will miss a few spring games as a result. There was concern, thankfully unrealized, that Tulowitzki had suffered a hairline fracture in his tibia.

The Rockies, according to Denver Post writer Troy Renck, were “privately convinced that Miley’s pitch was on purpose.” I wonder where they could have gotten that idea…

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MLB: Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees

Spring Training is probably twice as long as it needs to be. The players universally arrive to camp already in peak physical shape, such that a player who comes to camp out of shape is mocked and derided and roundly questioned.

But the owners like selling tickets and the players like all the off days so, for now, it is a six-week odyssey. All anybody in uniform wants from Spring Training is survival. Just head north (or west) in one piece and the spring is officially a success.

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Division Series - Cincinnati Reds v San Francisco Giants - Game Two

It doesn’t take much to create a lasting legacy. We aren’t even talking about a first impression, just the kind of performance that lines but with the kind of snap judgements that we all use to streamline our lives.

Bronson Arroyo doesn’t throw hard and he sort of looks ridiculous when he pitches. He was never a great pitcher but was an especially bad pitcher in 2011. He gave up about a zillion home runs and was really, really bad. But one year does not a distinguished career as an innings eater make.

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MLB: San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks

The Arizona Diamondbacks are nothing if not newsworthy. One of the most active teams over the last two offseasons, they seem to straddle the line between productivity and activity. Like sharks, in their own benign way. Trading prospects willy nilly and building the most average team an average amount of money can buy.

Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the Diamondbacks want to be players for Masahiro Tanaka, employing an “in for a penny, in for a pound” philosophy after coming up empty on the big ticket free agent market. The idea that the Snakes would go in heavy for an international player jibes with their recent attempts to grow their brand beyond the borders of the lower 48 (though adding fans beyond the borders of Chase Field would be a much more realistic start).

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MLB: New York Yankees at Chicago White Sox

Addison Reed is a pretty good reliever. He was better in 2012 than in 2013 but, by and large, he’s a decent end-of-game option. The White Sox have no real need for just a such a player, heading into a rebuild phase with young players at many key positions. A proven closer one season away from an expensive arbitration payday is a luxury they don’t really require.

It makes sense that Arizona would make a move for a younger pitcher that still has crucial “closer” experience. Their bullpen lead baseball in blown saves last season, tied with the Astros at 29. Somehow, the Snakes’ bullpen in 2013 feels worse than it actually performed. Adding Heath Bell is a sure way to swing opinion the wrong way, but the former Padres and Marlins stopper was quite good in Arizona, earning himself a new job in Tampa Bay to be their end of game guy.

The blown saves are unsightly but David Hernandez rebounded after a shocking demotion to AAA and J.J. Putz was excellent in the second half. Brad Zielger was excellent throughout the season. The blowups live long in the mind Arizona’s general manager Kevin Towers so they got more bullpen depth, more saves and a new pitcher, adding presumptive closer Addison Reed from Chicago in exchange for third base prospect Matt Davidson.

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towers

Early Monday afternoon, the Arizona Diamondbacks acquired reliever Addison Reed from the White Sox for prospect third baseman Matt Davidson in what I think qualifies as our first major post-Winter Meetings move of the offseason. For the White Sox, the move is simple — Davidson is not Jeff Keppinger and can play third base.

But for Arizona, this trade goes down as yet another odd move in Kevin Towers’s quest for not just winning, but winning the Right Way. As such, I can do little but wonder what infractions against the Kevin Towers-Ken Kendrick-Krik Gibson Arizona Way the 22-year-old corner man committed in his time with the organization.

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