Tag: Allen Webster

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Trevor Cahill, Chase Anderson win rotation spots with D-Backs; Daniel Hudson to bullpen


According to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com, Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale announced today that right-handers Trevor Cahill and Chase Anderson have claimed the final two spots in the starting rotation. They’ll join Opening Day starter Josh Collmenter as well as offseason acquisitions Jeremy Hellickson and Rubby De La Rosa.

Daniel Hudson, who has missed much of the last three seasons with two Tommy John surgeries, was in the the mix for a rotation spot this spring and has compiled a 4.22 ERA and 8/4 K/BB ratio over 10 2/3 innings while showing good velocity. However, his workload would be limited as a starter and Hudson told Gilbert that the decision to move him to the bullpen was a “mutual” one.

Anderson, 27, posted a 4.01 ERA and 105/40 K/BB ratio in 114 1/3 innings across 21 starts as a rookie last season. Cahill had a rough 5.61 ERA across 17 starts and 14 relief appearances last season, but he’s still owed $12 million this season and has changed his mechanics in hopes of better results.

While this is the rotation the D-Backs will go with to begin the season, it should have a very different look as the year moves along. Arms like Randall Delgado, Allen Webster, and Vidal Nuno linger as alternatives. Archie Bradley is under consideration for the final bullpen spot with the big club, but he’s likely to head back to Triple-A to pitch as a starter in hopes of making an impact in the rotation this season. Patrick Corbin and Bronson Arroyo are in rehab mode from Tommy John surgery and could be ready to rejoin Arizona’s rotation around midseason.

Read more about the Diamondbacks in my 2015 season preview.

2015 Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks

Chip Hale, Dave Stewart, Tony LaRussa

Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2015 season. Next up. The Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Big Question: There’s nowhere to go but up, right?

Since winning the National League West in 2011, the Diamondbacks have turned in three straight disappointing seasons and finished last season with the worst record in the majors at 64-98. Tony La Russa was hired as chief baseball officer early on in the year, which essentially signaled that Kevin Towers and Kirk Gibson were living on borrowed time. Sure enough, they were both fired in September.

Tasked with taking the franchise in a new direction, La Russa hired one of his former pitchers from the Athletics, Dave Stewart, to serve as general manager while De Jon Watson was brought over from the Dodgers as senior vice president of baseball operations. Chip Hale, who has coached with the Mets and Athletics in recent seasons, was then brought aboard for his first managing opportunity in the big leagues.

Stewart was outspoken when he was an agent and he has already said his fair share of interesting things as Arizona’s general manager. Most notably, when the Diamondbacks were briefly courting right-hander James Shields in free agency, he said they were more of a “true baseball team” as opposed to teams which are more geared toward analytics. This was likely just an attempt at a sales pitch to appeal to a player they only had a small chance of actually signing, but it’s not the first impression you want after the grit-centered philosophy of Towers and Gibson fizzled out.

Getting back to contender status is going to be a process. The team’s big offseason move was signing Yasmany Tomas to a six-year, $68.5 million contract, but the third base experiment has been a bust so far and he’s still learning to hit major league pitching. Interesting arms like Jeremy Hellickson, Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, Robbie Ray, and Yoan Lopez were brought in over the offseason, but this is a team that is going with Josh Collmenter as their Opening Day starter. He would be a back-end starter on a good staff. After dealing catcher Miguel Montero to the Cubs, Stewart didn’t seem so keen (or didn’t have the budget) to acquire a suitable replacement, so Tuffy Gosewisch stands to get most of the playing time in the early going. Peter O’Brien, who Stewart was hoping could be a solution behind the plate, was having trouble throwing the ball back to the mound this spring and could be bound for the outfield. Barring a last-minute move, this could be the weakest catching situation in the majors.

This lineup has a couple of interesting pieces in place, which I’ll get to in a minute, but expectations are understandably low for 2015 in a division which also has the Dodgers, Giants, and Padres.

What else is going on?

  • After finishing second in the NL MVP balloting in 2013, Paul Goldschmidt was well on his way to a comparable follow-up last season by hitting .300/.396/.542 with 19 home runs and 69 RBI across 109 games before he suffered a broken hand on a hit-by-pitch in early August. He’s back to 100 percent now and remains the shining light on this roster.
  • Aside from the excellence of Goldschmidt at first base, the infield is in flux. Assuming Tomas doesn’t work out at third base, young Jake Lamb is a possibility there, but Aaron Hill could also get some time at the hot corner if the D-Backs go with Nick Ahmed at shortstop and try Chris Owings at second base. Trading Hill, which has been rumored, could clear the way for all of the youngsters to get playing time. I’m guessing we’ll see that configuration sooner or later.
  • This outfield has a lot of moving pieces and not all of them are ideal fits. A.J. Pollock is locked in as the starting center fielder while Mark Trumbo appears set to start in right field, but David Peralta, Ender Inciarte, Cody Ross, and Tomas are also in the mix. Trumbo and Tomas in the corners might not be pretty. They also have similar offensive profiles. Which is to say, power without much patience.
  • This rotation doesn’t look particularly strong right now, but it figures to get better as the season moves along. Patrick Corbin and Bronson Arroyo are both working their way back from Tommy John surgery and should be ready to return by mid-season. Things didn’t go as planned for top prospect Archie Bradley last year, but he could surface in the majors soon with a good showing in Triple-A.
  • Perhaps my favorite story to watch with this team will be Daniel Hudson, who has lost much of the last three seasons due to a pair of Tommy John surgeries. The 28-year-old returned for three relief appearances down the stretch last year and has flashed mid-90s velocity this spring. It’s unclear if he’ll be used as a starter or reliever, but here’s hoping he can finally stay healthy and deliver on the promise he showed in the early part of his career.

Prediction: This could really go either way with the Rockies, as they look like two of the weakest teams in the majors, but I’m going to say a repeat of Fifth Place, NL West.

The Dbacks and the Dodgers were at it again yesterday

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The Dodgers and the Dbacks played yesterday. They’ve had a bit of a feud going for a couple of years. One would think that with a new GM and new manager in Arizona — the old management was pretty pro-hitting guys — that it would die down a bit, but I guess not. Or maybe it was all accidental. It’s pretty hard to say. All I do know is that lots of guys were plunked and lots of guys were ejected in their matchup yesterday afternoon at Camelback Ranch.

In the first inning Dodgers starter Chris Anderson hit Mark Trumbo on a high and inside pitch. After the game Don Mattingly said it wasn’t intentional. I’ve seen Gifs of it (look here) but there’s no video on MLB.com. Seems maybe purposeful, but it’s hard to tell what people are doing in spring training. Maybe he’s just working on brushing guys back. Maybe he was possessed by the spirit of Don Drysdale.

Then, in the bottom half of the first, Daniel Hudson hit Justin Turner.  Turner was then plunked again in the fifth inning by Allen Webster. Here’s the second one:

The dumb thing there? Webster and manager Chip Hale were ejected because, after the stuff in the first inning, both benches had been warned. This despite the fact that the home plate umpire knew that the second plunk was not intentional:

Viva la Zero Tolerance.

Things didn’t stop there, as Dbacks pitcher Derek Eitel plunked Dodgers hitter Dillon Moyer in the bottom of the eighth. That led to more ejections, this time of Eitel and D-Backs bench coach Glenn Sherlock who had replaced Hale:

Was that intentional? Kinda looked like it? But who knows. We’re dealing with anonymous dudes at this point. Which could either mean (a) their control isn’t fabulous; or (b) they’re trying to impress someone.

It’ll be interesting to see if this is a harbinger of a continuation of bad blood between the clubs or if it’s just a spring training blip. I’d bet on the blip, but then again, I never would’ve bet on all of the nonsense between these two teams over the past couple of years in the first place.

D-Backs GM Dave Stewart doesn’t plan to deal for a catcher

Oscar Hernandez, Robbie Ray

The Diamondbacks have a glaring need for a catcher as Tuffy Gosewich is slated to open the season as the everyday backstop. Oscar Hernandez, taken in the Rule 5 draft from the Rays, recently suffered a broken hamate bone and will miss six to eight weeks. As far as internal back-up options go, the D-Backs can choose from Gerald Laird, Peter O’Brien, and Blake Lalli.

GM Dave Stewart doesn’t sound like he’s going to make a deal to bring in a catcher. Per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Stewart said, “We’re not going to trade for a catcher. Some people think we are. We’re not.”

The D-Backs currently have a surfeit of starting pitching depth, as they’re auditioning Chase Anderson, Trevor Cahill, and Allen Webster for the final two spots (as well as Daniel Hudson, potentially). Vidal Nuno was also in the running until today. It would seem like an obvious strategy to trade from surplus (specifically Cahill, who can become a free agent after the season) to address their catching problem.

Daniel Hudson will make D-Backs’ 25-man roster

Daniel Hudson
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Pitcher Daniel Hudson was informed by Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale that he will make the 25-man roster, Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona reports. It’s still unknown how Hudson will contribute to the team, whether as a starter or as a reliever. The plan going in was to use Hudson as a starter in the spring before using him as a reliever during the regular season.

Hudson, 28, made only three appearances (all in September) after undergoing Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career in June 2013. He owns a career 3.75 ERA and a 306/98 K/BB ratio in 384 innings, but he has pitched a full season just once in five seasons.

Vidal Nuno, Chase Anderson, Trevor Cahill, and Allen Webster are competing for spots at the back of Arizona’s rotation. So far, Nuno and Webster have struggled while Anderson and Cahill have had decent early showings. Per AZcentral.com’s Nick Piecoro, Cahill threw well in a B-game and Hale said the right-hander is in a “good position” for a rotation spot. [Update, 9:15 PM EST: MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert reports that Nuno is no longer in the running for a rotation spot.]

Hudson has allowed three runs on three hits and two walks while striking out three in four innings. One can never have too much pitching depth, but adding Hudson back into the competition as a starter could also give the club the flexibility to explore trading Cahill.