After confirming the signings of Xavier Nady and Henry Blanco earlier today, Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers told Steve Gilbert of MLB.com that he is essentially done with his offseason shopping list.
“I’d say there’s a good chance,” Towers said about making no more moves this winter. “We’ve kind of addressed all our needs. Our last two were backup catcher and we needed a right-handed bat. It’s not to say that we won’t add any more pieces before the start of the season, but if we had to start today we’re pretty comfortable with where we’re at.”
Towers has certainly put an imprint on his new team in a short amount of time. Though he received more attention for not trading Justin Upton, he swapped Mark Reynolds for David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio, acquired Juan Miranda from the Yankees and Zach Duke from the Pirates and signed J.J. Putz, Melvin Mora, Geoff Blum and Wily Mo Pena, as well as the aforementioned Nady and Blanco. That’s quite a bit of turnover.
The Diamondbacks don’t look like a playoff contender as currently constituted, but it’s hard to imagine them being worse than they were in 2010. I mean, how many games could they have won if their bullpen ERA was the league average (3.98) instead of an obscene 5.74? I’m guessing quite a few. If there’s anything we know about Towers, the bullpen will be better.
We’ve heard the back and forth between players and owners on money, on safety, on the size and the shape of the season. But not until now have we heard just how little baseball Major League Baseball and its owners actually want: 48 games.
That’s all they want, at least if they have to, as agreed, pay players their prorated salaries on a per-game basis. That’s the report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan, who writes this morning on the state of the current negotiations.
Passan’s article has a lot more than that. It contains a number of financial calculations about how much teams say they stand to lose per game played under any given scenario. That said, given the near total opacity when it comes to owner finances, we have no real way to evaluate the claims. The players have a bit more access to league financials, but even they are reported to be unsatisfied with what the owners have shared in that regard. So, while interesting, nothing Passan presents there is really convincing. It stakes out the positions of the parties but doesn’t really tell us much about the merits.
Which is to say that a 48-game schedule sounds like either (a) a bluff aimed at getting the players to offer financial concessions; or (b) a declaration from the owners that they’d prefer almost no baseball if it means that they have to lose any money. The whole “we’ll happily take the benefits of a good market but won’t bother if there’s a chance we might lose money” approach I’ve lambasted in this space before.
We’ll see soon which it is.