In nine days, the Arizona Diamondbacks will get on a plane and head to Sydney, Australia for the opening of the 2014 regular season. The team has not decided on a shortstop, a closer or a backup catcher. Much could be determined between now and the time this column returns next week. There was other team-related news to share this week plus the loss of someone who, while he never played a Major League game, made just a big of an impact on baseball as any Hall of Famer.
The folks at insidethezona put together their offseason report card for the D’backs’ front office. They not only rated player transactions but also non-player personnel moves like contract extensions and management moves. Their highest grade was for the organization hiring Dave Duncan as a special assistant and they gave the Mark Trumbo deal the biggest thumbs down, not so much for the player (that factors, too) but for what they gave up. It’s quite obvious that the pitchers love Duncan already. As for the Trumbo deal, I hated parting with Tyler Skaggs as much as the next guy. However, I think that maybe a change of scenery will be beneficial for the slugger much like Paul O’Neill (though Trumbo is not the same player as Paulie) when he was traded to the New York Yankees (future post alert).
While Archie Bradley‘s tremendous debut on Monday night got all of the attention, the pitcher that followed him in that game also turned some heads. Azcentral’s Nick Piecoro wrote that pitching coach Mike Harkey and GM Kevin Towers were impressed with right-hander Bo Schultz. He matched Bradley on the gun at 96 MPH and has gained a lot of confidence over the last year. He was one of the pitching stars of the Arizona Fall League among the leaders in innings pitched, ERA and strikeouts. The organization seems to be high on Schultz and although he seems ticketed for Triple A Reno again, don’t be surprised if we see him in Arizona during the Summer.
All of us are hopeful that Miguel Montero can bounce back from a tough 2013 season. Trey Warren at bleacherreport has a column out that states that Miggy is the team’s biggest “X Factor” in 2014. Warren points out that Montero hits really well with runners on base and will be in a position to see better pitches if he hits in between Paul Goldschmidt and Trumbo. There is also the lack of a solid backup in place in the event that Miggy’s injuries of 2013 creep into this season.
Finally, Dr. Frank Jobe died Thursday at the age of 88. Dr, Jobe performed an arm surgery on Tommy John in 1974 that allowed the Dodgers’ lefty to prolong his career by another decade. The procedure bears his name and it was Dr. Jobe who pioneered this surgery on John and hundreds of other pitchers who might have had their careers cut short. He was with the Dodgers’ organization for 50 years and was honored during Hall of Fame weekend last year. Over the last 40 years, Dr. Jobe has had one of the biggest impacts in Major League Baseball and did it without taking a swing or throwing a ball.
Happy weekend to all. Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead, except for you, Arizona and Hawaii.