Diamondbacks asking around about catching, but finding price is too high

39 Comments

After dealing Miguel Montero to the Cubs in December, the Diamondbacks currently project to go with a combination of Tuffy Gosewisch and Oscar Hernandez behind the plate. Who, you might ask? Exactly. With that in mind, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic hears that the Diamondbacks have asked the Cubs about Welington Castillo and the Blue Jays about Dioner Navarro. However, Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart says the club isn’t making much progress in trade talks.

“We’ve not made a whole lot of headway in that area yet,” Stewart said. “Without really giving up something that’s going to cost us a player that we don’t want to give away, we don’t have a whole lot of motion yet.”

With an obvious need behind the plate, the Diamondbacks don’t have much leverage at the moment, so Stewart says that teams are asking for their “top guys” — meaning top prospects — in return. He’s not willing to budge right now.

Gosewisch, 31, owns a .213/.225/.287 batting line over 55 games in the majors. Hernandez, 21, was selected from the Rays in the Rule 5 Draft in December and batted .249/.301/.401 with nine home runs and 63 RBI over 94 games last season in A-ball. Barring any changes in the coming days, they’ll have to hope that the rest of their lineup makes up for what could be the weakest catching tandem in the majors.

Report: Some MLB teams using outside labs for COVID-19 testing

MLB COVID-19 testing
Jason Koerner/Getty Images
1 Comment

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Zach Buchanan report that the Diamondbacks are one of several teams that have used labs other than the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in Utah to process COVID-19 testing. MLB has encountered delays with its testing, despite promising 24-hour turnaround time, so teams have tried other avenues — with the league’s endorsement — in order to get faster results.

The SMRTL had processed performance-enhancing drug screenings for MLB. The league converted it to process COVID-19 tests amid concerns that having a season and all of the testing that would be required throughout would take away testing resources from the general public. That some teams are utilizing labs other than the SMRTL suggests the league, indeed, is usurping those resources.

In prospect Seth Beer’s case, he tested positive for COVID-19. He needed to test negative twice consecutively to be cleared to return to play. Beer went to a third-party site in the Phoenix area. He received his second negative test and was cleared to return on July 9.

The Diamondbacks said that the labs they have used have assured them that they are not taking away tests from the public. That seems like a claim MLB and the D-Backs should demonstrably prove. Per Rosenthal and Buchahan, the D-Backs have gone to an outside lab about 20 times, which accounts for less than one percent of COVID-19 tests taken by players and staff. Still, those are 20 tests that could have been used by the general public. And if the D-Backs and a handful of other teams already are using outside labs, then the rest of the league likely already is or soon will be doing the same. In the end, there will be a lot more than 20 tests taken at outside labs by MLB players and staff. Considering that “Tier 1” players will be tested every other day throughout the season, the total of third-party tests taken — if things continue the way they are now — could easily reach into the thousands by the end of October.

We all want baseball back, but the players, coaches, and all other staff are no more important than cashiers, teachers, and delivery drivers, so they shouldn’t have more access to COVID-19 testing simply by virtue of being associated with Major League Baseball and all of its influence and financial muscle. It would be unethical for MLB to be cutting in line ahead of other people who need testing just as much as if not more than the players.