This is all kinds of fun. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic spoke with Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart about James Shields. Stewart talked about the budget and about how Shields is a guy the Dbacks may be interested in if the right deal could be reached. Typical stuff.
Not as typical: Stewart’s speculation as to why, maybe, Shields may be willing to take less money to go to Arizona than he might elsewhere:
“I think James is a throwback guy by the way he goes about his business and the innings he pitches,” Stewart said. “I think the fact that Tony (La Russa) is here and that we have more baseball people – he probably sees us as a true baseball team vs. some of the other teams out here that are geared more toward analytics and those type of things.
“Sometimes, there are concessions the player will make to be here. It’s the case that he likes what we’re doing with our organization from our end, all we can hope is that there will be concessions enough that he can be here.”
I realize that a lot of people like to denigrate some organizations for their perceived over-reliance on analytics and things. And I know that some players have had issues dealing with front offices who do things differently than other teams do. For example, there has been some grumbling from certain players about how, say, the Astros go about their business.
But this is the first time I’ve heard someone suggest that those differences make some baseball teams “true baseball teams” and others, well, I dunno, phony ones.
In other news, I suspected that there was a cultural change going on with the Diamondbacks, what with the firing of Kirk Gibson and Kevin Towers and all of the attendant de-grit-ifying going on down there. But I guess maybe not?
Jack Curry of the YES Network reports that the Yankees have acquired righty Chris Martin from the Rockies, who had DFA’d him.
Martin is 28. He has only pitched 16 games in the bigs, all of which came last year. His ERA was sky high but his peripherals were much better than that ERA suggests. He achieved much better results in the minors with similar strikeout, walk and groundball rates, so there is reason to think he can be better than what he showed in that small sample size in Denver. He’s also 6’8″ and can crank it up in the mid-90s, and that’s pretty intriguing.
Why the Rockies DFA’d him is unclear. He has options left. But not he’ll serve as depth — and as a project — for the Yankees.
There was a time early last season when Ned Yost was actually on the hot seat. That was forgotten by the time the Royals were playing in the World Series. And as is typical with pennant-winning managers, his employer has decided it wants to keep him around for a while:
Yost was under contract through the upcoming season, but now has some more security. In his five seasons with the Royals he is 373-402. Overall, including his time with the Brewers, he is 830-904. But like I said: a pennant changes things.
Peter Gammons reports that the Red Sox and Dodgers have been “aggressive” on free agent right-hander Alexi Ogando.
He’s obviously a gamble. Ogando suffered a sprained UCL in his right elbow last June, ending his season. He had compiled a 6.84 ERA and a 22/15 K/BB ratio in 25 innings of relief prior to the injury. On top of that, an American League executive told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe the other day that Ogando‘s medical records “don’t look great.”
So, one assumes that “aggressive” here is a relative term.
As I mentioned yesterday, friends-of-HBT Mark Armour and Dan Levitt have written a book: In Pursuit of Pennants, which examines how front offices have historically found innovative ways to build winning teams. In support of that, they are counting down the top-25 GMs of all time over at their blog. Since it’s slow season, I’m going to continue linking to the countdown as it’s great stuff we rarely read about in the normal course.
That goes for today’s entry — number 24 — which covers John Quinn. Who, I’m assuming, most of you have never heard of. Who was he?
Part of a distinguished family of baseball executives (father Bob Quinn, son Bob Quinn, and son-in-law Roland Hemond were all GMs for multiple teams), John Quinn spent 44 years in baseball front offices, including 27 years as general manager for the Braves and Phillies. He had a hand in creating three pennant winners and (famously) nearly a fourth, and started the building of a team that would bring glory to Philadelphia after his departure.
Go get edumacated.