A lot of us have ranted and raved at and mocked the Diamondbacks in the past year or so, but that doesn’t really get anyone anywhere. What does is actual information. Nick Piecoro has some real information today in the form of an excellent column that notes the team’s lack of success with their pitchers. Specifically, how good pitchers who come to Arizona tend to do poorly, seemingly poor pitchers who leave Arizona tend to do well and seemingly poor pitchers who stay in Arizona don’t seem to improve.
He talks to Kevin Towers about it and Towers doesn’t necessarily have great answers for that. In one instance — Brandon McCarthy and the whole cutter controversy — he seems to have a somewhat ill-informed answer. It’s a must-read.
There is a good chance that change will be coming to Arizona soon. Tony La Russa is on the scene now and many suspect that Towers isn’t long for his job. Kirk Gibson too for that matter. If those changes to come, observations like Piecoro’s will likely be key in the decisions that put such change into effect.
An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.
As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.
While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.