D-Backs reps willing to fly to Japan to meet with Masahiro Tanaka

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Nick Piecoro of AZ Central is reporting that Diamondbacks officials are willing to fly to Japan to court Masahiro Tanaka. Nothing has been scheduled yet but the interest is there.

The Diamondbacks have had an active off-season, getting involved in two separate three-team trades. In the more recent of the two, they picked up Mark Trumbo from the Angels. They also picked up closer Addison Reed from the White Sox in a separate deal.

Aside from the Dodgers, the NL West is relatively weak, so the Diamondbacks are picking up a lot of ground in a winnable division. Adding Tanaka would be a huge boon to their playoff hopes.

Sheldon Ocker named winner of the 2018 J.G. Taylor Spink Award

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The Baseball Writers Association of America has named Sheldon Ocker the winner of the 2018 J.G. Taylor Spink Award. He will be honored with the award that is presented annually to a sportswriter “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing” during Hall of Fame inductions in Cooperstown on July 29.

Ocker began covering the Indians for the Akron Beacon Journal in 1981 and did so until 2013, when he retired. He was national president of the BBWAA in 1985 and served as chair of the Cleveland Chapter 11 times. He named Ohio Sports Writer of the Year in 1997 and 2000 by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.