Following Tuesday’s loss to the Cubs, the Diamondbacks fell to 5-18, worst in baseball. They had lost 10 of their previous 11 games and had the worst run differential in baseball, by far, at -62.
They are now on a three-game winning streak, but still have a .663 OPS which ranks in the bottom-third of the National League. Their 6.49 rotation ERA is by far the worst, and the 21 errors they’ve committed ties for the third-worst in the league.
Knowing that, it’s not surprising that the D-Backs players stood up for manager Kirk Gibson and GM Kevin Towers as they faced increased scrutiny with the awful start. Via Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona:
“The kind of start we got off to, I don’t know if you can explain it other than we have just played horribly,” veteran third baseman Eric Chavez said. “It’s completely on the players. We take full responsibility for our lack of production on the field. We have to get it done in here, in this clubhouse.”
“I think sometimes there is too much blame that goes in other directions. You have to look at the players, because they are the ones who are playing,” Chavez said. “The numbers don’t lie. Whatever categories we are falling into has nothing to do with ‘Gibby’ or anybody. If somebody wants to pass that on” and blame someone else, “there is going to be some issues with that, because you have to look at yourself as a player.”
Chavez wasn’t the only one to speak up. Catcher Miguel Montero said that blame shouldn’t be cast on Gibson and Towers because “they don’t play the game for us”. Second baseman Aaron Hill said he and his teammates shouldn’t be pressing as much. Although their players came to their defense, Towers’ and Gibson’s seats should continue to be hot for the duration of the season. Non-player personnel are always the first to go when a team doesn’t live up to expectations.
The best thing about minor Thanksgiving week transactions is that they are almost certainly done by GMs frantically looking for some work to do rather than go pick up their in-laws at the airport. I mean, sure, the player in question could very easily be an important player who fills a key role in the organization, but it’s not like it couldn’t have waited until Monday, right? This is the GM equivalent of you pretending you have to run into the office on Wednesday afternoon and, in reality, driving around in your car, listening to Neil Young and promising that NEXT YEAR you’re just doing a small Thanksgiving dinner with no family and, maybe, might even go on a little trip, just you and the wife.
Or is that just me? OK, maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, that’s how I’m choosing to view the Pirates activity today. First they traded for Allen Webster and now they’re signing minor league free agent first baseman/outfielder Jake Goebbert, according to Adam Berry of MLB.com.
Goebbert, 28, hit .294 with an .844 OPS and 10 homers for Triple-A El Paso last season. He has 115 plate appearances in the bigs, all for San Diego in 2014. Overall he has a line of .282/.386/.465 with 30 homers in 997 Triple-A plate appearances in the Astros, Athletics and Padres organizations.
Not a bad depth move, especially given that the Pirates are looking to trade Pedro Alvarez and otherwise re-jigger their first base situation.
Matt Hague got a cup of coffee in Toronto this year after winning the International League MVP, but the 30-year-old first baseman/third baseman found a better opportunity in Japan and the Blue Jays have sold him to the Hanshin Tigers.
Hague hit .338 in 136 games at Triple-A this past season and is a career .301 hitter in eight minor-league seasons overall, but his lack of power limits his opportunities in the majors and he’s received a grand total of 91 plate appearances as a big leaguer.
Ben Nicholson-Smith of Toronto Sportnet reports that the sale price for Hague is $300,000, which goes to the Blue Jays. And then Hague will no doubt sign a deal for a lot more than he could have earned at Triple-A and perhaps more than the MLB minimum salary.
The Arizona Diamondbacks just announced that have traded righty Allen Webster to the Pirates for cash considerations.
Webster, who turns 26 in February, was DFA’d by the Dbacks a few days ago. He pitched in nine games, starting five, in 2015, posting a 5.81 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 17/20 (eww) in 31 innings. Before that he pitched 89.1 innings for the Red Sox over two years with numbers not too terribly more impressive than that.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees “have let teams know Ivan Nova is available” in trade.
Nova returned from Tommy John elbow surgery in May to throw 94 innings with a 5.07 ERA and will be a free agent after the 2016 season, so it’s tough to imagine his trade market being particularly robust.
Despite that, Sherman writes that the Yankees “are not selling low” on Nova and might try to package him with other players to bring back a young starting pitcher under team control for multiple seasons. In other words, they’d like to trade Nova for a pitcher who can step into his rotation spot in 2016 and beyond.
Nova has had some good years in New York, but he’s 29 years old with a career 4.33 ERA and just 6.7 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s more middle-of-the-rotation starter than front-line starter and even that might be in question following elbow surgery.