Dave Stewart, Tony La Russa and the laughingstock that is the Diamondbacks front office

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ESPN’s Keith Law wrote a column today (Insider only) ripping the Diamondbacks’ front office under Tony La Russa and Dave Stewart, whom he says have undertaken a “Reign of Error” in Arizona.

This is not your typical “Dave Stewart shouldn’t have traded Dansby Swanson or Touki Toussaint” or “The Dbacks never should have signed Zack Greinke” kind of thing. Law accuses Stewart and La Russa of basic incompetence, arguing that they have a limited understanding of the draft, bonus pools and the international signing rules and that they seem to have a poor grasp of the players in their own system, all of which has cost the club dearly.

And then there’s stuff like this:

Stewart’s unfamiliarity with the rules hasn’t just applied to the international pools. According to multiple sources, in early 2015 he tried to make a trade with another team that would have violated MLB rules, and the GM of the other team had to explain to him that such a move was not allowed.

Law says that La Russa has been no better, pointing out comments he made about Shelby Miller which “were totally inappropriate for a club official to make, whatever he was trying to imply.” He says “[t]here are good, competent people in the Diamondbacks’ baseball ops department, but they appear to have no sway over the decisions La Russa and Stewart are making.”

It’s one thing to take issue with the decisions a front office makes. It’s a totally different deal when the matter is incompetence rather than poor judgment. Law is clearly making both arguments here and, if his sources on the matter of incompetence are correct, it’s a pretty damning indictment of the La Russa-Stewart regime.

Not that I expect this to be the end of it. Given La Russa’s recent track record when it comes to criticsand given his past displeasure, however misguided it was, with Law himself — I would expect a sharp retort from the Dbacks brass about all of this.

Someone get me some popcorn.

Fried, Braves go to salary arbitration for 2nd straight year

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pitcher Max Fried went to salary arbitration with the Atlanta Braves for the second straight year, asking for $15 million instead of the team’s $13.5 million offer.

The 29-year-old left-hander went 14-7 for the second straight season and lowered his ERA to 2.48 from 3.04 in 2021. Fried was a first-time All-Star last season, was second to Miami’s Sandy Alcantara in Cy Young Award voting and was third in the National League in ERA behind Alcantara and Julio Urias with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Fried won a $6.85 million salary last year instead of the team’s $6.6 million proposal in arbitration. That was after he pitched six shutout innings in World Series Game 6 as the Braves won their first title since 1995.

Fried, who is eligible for free agency after the 2024 World Series, had his case heard Friday by a panel that’s expected to issue a decision Saturday.

Players have won two of three decisions so far: Pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Miami Marlins. But Seattle defeated Diego Castillo ($2.95 million).

A decision is being held for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe, whose case was argued Monday. About 20 more cases are scheduled through Feb. 17.