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DBACKS NEWS
Oct 31Cubs hire Maddon as manager, fire Renteria (The Associated Press)
Oct 31The Top 150 Free Agents (Rotoworld)
Oct 30Dodgers, Nationals are early favorites to win 2015 World Series; Giants rank fifth (Big League Stew)
Oct 30Bumgarner a throwback to pre-pitch count era (The Associated Press)
Oct 29List of World Series MVP winners (Reuters)
Oct 29Baseball-List of World Series MVP winners (Reuters)
Oct 29Seven of the most memorable World Series Game 7s in baseball history (Big League Stew)
Oct 27Athletics hire Mike Aldrete as bench coach (The Associated Press)
Oct 23Diamondbacks add Bryan Minniti as assistant GM (The Associated Press)
Oct 23The Write Way: KC coach's lineup cards are artful (The Associated Press)
Oct 22From Mexico to the World Series, Petit shines (The Associated Press)
Oct 21Royals' World Series Game 1 loss eerily similar to Rockies' loss in 2007 (Big League Stew)
Oct 20Giants-Royals: A capsule look at World Series (The Associated Press)
Oct 18List of World Series winners (Reuters)
Oct 16Grace, Green to join new manager Hale's staff (The Associated Press)
Oct 13Daily Dose: Monitoring Molina (Rotoworld)
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OVERHEARD

"It’s nice, yeah, of course. Any RBI is nice."

-- Conor Jackson, after earning two RBIs on two bases-loaded walks.

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  RAMBLINGS
 

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Which direction are they going?

Are the Diamondbacks going up, going down, or just staying where they are: mediocre?

They're in 4th place in the NL West, they are 4.5 games back from the Dodgers, and they are 3 games below .500. Not too good so far.

On the other hand, they are 5-5 over their last 10, have won two of the last three series they played, and that is a clear improvement over their first 10 games, when they were 3-7.

My answer to the first question: They are on their way up. Keep in mind they've shown this improvement without Stephen Drew (hamstring) or Cy Young winner Brandon Webb (shoulder).

When you look at this team, it's obvious they are never going to consistently score a lot of runs-- they haven't done so for over two seasons. But the starting rotation (with the exception of Petit) is excellent, and the position players who have been simply awful in this first month are starting to wake up. We can all agree on one thing, though: Jon Rauch has got to go. Okay, he is scheduled to make $2.5 million this season and $2.9M next year, but for a team who was willing to dump Russ Ortiz and eat $22 million, that's nuthin'. Let him go.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Luis Gonzalez a Diamondback? Not Likely.

Nick Piecoro at the Arizona Republic reports that the Diamondbacks have initiated a dialog with their former star regarding his return, but not as a player. Derrick Hall and Ken Kendrick would like to see him working for the organization in some capacity once his playing days are over.

Even though he's currently available (the Marlins declined to bring back the veteran who played the seasoned mentor role for them last year), Arizona shows no interest in adding him as a player. Piecoro adds that Gonzo still wants to play, but he's on the short list of free agents on the outside looking in, now that Spring Training is in full swing.

Luis has done well in the broadcast booth and could do well there for Arizona. He also seems to have the right temperment to coach young players. Just don't expect to see him on the 25-man roster.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Some gallimaufry while waiting for spring training games to begin

I don't know about you, but I consider this to be the worst time of the sporting year. The NFL is over, MLB spring training games have yet to begin, and we're still waiting for March Madness. So, while I anxiously await the start of the spring training games, here are a few random thoughts ...

Wow, the Dodgers got a pretty good signing of Orlando Hudson for 1 year at 3.4 million. Remember that the Diamondbacks replaced O-Dog with Felipe Lopez at a contract of 1 year at 3.5 million. I don't even think the Diamondbacks will tell you that Lopez is a better player than Hudson. So, for your rival to sign a better player for less money is quite a kick in the pants. The Diamondbacks can take some solace in that Hudson has 4.6 million in performance incentives, which could balloon the contract to 8.1 million (but then again, if Hudson plays well enough to collect that 4.6 million, I don't think the Dodgers will complain). In addition, the Diamondbacks get a draft pick from the Dodgers as compensation.

I've been watching baseball for almost 40 years, and I've yet to figure out the why major league teams needs a dedicated third base coach. I find it rather silly that the manager gives signs from the dugout to the third base coach, who then relays them to the players. Why not just have the manager coach third base? There are only two explanations I can come up with: 1) Having a dedicated third base coach is a way to get one more of the manager's buddies a cushy job or 2) The manager is so involved with planning strategy with his bench coach that he cannot split his attention. I'd bet the official answer would be #2, but I think the reality is closer to #1.

I heard that pitchers in Japan apologize to batters after hitting them with a pitch. This seems reasonable and shows sportsmanship. I once sent in a question to the Diamondbacks fan forum why this practice rarely occurs in MLB. I received one of the most stupid responses ever ... something to the extent that an apology would only be necessary if the beaning were intentional. Of course that's ridiculous ... if I ever accidentally hurt someone, I'm quick to apologize. However if I intentionally hurt someone I rarely apologize (probably because they deserved it). I concluded that the person who answered my question was probably some intern who gave it about 2 microseconds of thought.

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Saturday, February 07, 2009

A Worthy Gamble

The Diamondbacks recently signed right-handed reliever Tom Gordon to an incentive-laden contract. "Flash" Gordon is coming off an injury-riddled season in 2008 and opted against having Tommy John surgery. Therefore, the Diamondbacks structured the contract with a low base (.5MM) and additional payments based on the number of days on the active roster.

The signing of Gordon effectively replaces Brandon Lyon, who signed with the Tigers. Given that Gordon's 2008 was cut short by injury, and that relief pitchers in general are inconsistent from year-to-year, I'll compare the last three years (2006-2008) of each pitcher's performance (omitting ERA because it is a poor measure of a reliever's effectiveness):

Gordon pitched 129 innings over the 3 seasons with a WHIP of 1.36 and a K/9 rate of 8.79. Lyon pitched 202 innings over the same period with a WHIP of 1.33 but a K/9 rate of 5.77. Assuming both pitchers are reasonable healthy, I think a reasonable conclusion that that both pitcher are similarly effective, but Gordon is much more capable of getting a strikeout -- a valuable trait to have when coming out of the bullpen with runners on base.

Moreover, the contract situation favors Gordon. Both players are signed for one year, but Lyon is guaranteed 4.25MM but can make up to 4.75MM. Gordon, on the other hand, is guaranteed only 0.5MM but can make up to 3.0MM.

Given Gordon's injury history, there's no guarantee that the Diamondbacks will get any amount of innings from him. However, I like the structure of the contract, and I like that Flash might be able to get a strikeout in the 7th or 8th inning to get out of a jam. This signing looks like a reasonable gamble.

Now, what will the Diamondback do to replace Juan Cruz?

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