[Arizona Sports] Productive day for D-backs’ non-roster pitchers in loss to Rockies – Monday served as a bit of a showcase for players attempting to make the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Opening Day roster out of the bullpen. It was announced shortly before the game against the Colorado Rockies that Zack Godley would be throwing on a back field, so non roster invitee Kris Medlen took the start. He threw two innings and allowed a hit, walk, and one strikeout. Medlen, Antonio Bastardo, Neftali Feliz, and Fernando Salas all prevented the Rockies from scoring any runs. Unfortunately, Andrew Chafin was less productive than that quartet and failed to even complete his inning of work. He allowed two walks and two doubles en route to surrendering three earned runs. As camp progresses, it becomes increasingly likely that at least one of the names above in consideration will make the roster, possibly even more.
[D’backs.com] Veteran De La Rosa showing he’s still effective – If Chafin fails to make the team as one of the left handers out of the bullpen, Jorge De La Rosa could be another non roster invitee to break camp with the club. Chafin does have one option remaining according to Roster Resource. It is unlikely that Arizona would start Chafin at AAA Reno to begin the season considering his experience, and adding De La Rosa would require someone to be bumped from the 40 man. De La Rosa was exceptionally tough against left handed hitters last season allowing only a 45 OPS+ against them.
“He attacks hitters, whether it’s a left-handed hitter or a right-handed hitter,” Lovullo said after De La Rosa faced the White Sox Sunday. “The heartbeat is fantastic. He doesn’t get glossy-eyed in any situation.
[AZ Central] Arizona Diamondbacks’ A.J. Pollock soaking up his time as he enters final year of his contract – A.J. Pollock is on track to join next offseason’s massive free agent class. In six seasons so far with Arizona, he has exceeded at least 130 games played only two times, 2013 and 2015. Considering how this most recent offseason went for free agents, it is feasible to see him getting lost in the shuffle which could boost Arizona’s chance to re-sign him. The Diamondbacks do not have an heir apparent for centerfield should he decide to leave. It would be a stretch to think that the Diamondbacks could afford him at a contract similar to the one Lorenzo Cain signed with the Milwaukee Brewers, but extending him for two or three seasons could expand the Diamondbacks contention window.
“We’ve talked about finding ways to extend our window if we can,” Hazen said. “Small deals here or deals that give us more years of control, we’re going to continue to do those things. Signing guys (to extensions) could be a function of that, too.”
[The Athletic] New addition Steven Souza Jr. could be a difference-maker in right – Steven Souza Jr. hit a few more home runs over the entirety of the 2017 season than J. D. Martinez did in just the second half alone with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Although it would be difficult for him to replicate the performance Martinez put on, nor is anyone asking him to, he will be a more complete player in right field. He has already made a handful of spectacular plays in the outfield, and has dedicated his time to becoming a better defender.
“There were just a couple balls in the first couple years in Tampa where it was like, How did I not get to that ball? I should have been able to get to that ball,” Souza said. “And it cost us a run. From that point on, I started working on it.”
[For The Win] D-backs pitcher Taijuan Walker gave fans free tacos in the spring training parking lot – Taijuan Walker and his wife, Heather, were handing out free tacos to fans at Salt River Fields Monday afternoon. He bragged about them on social media this offseason a handful of times, so it was rather nice for him to share with fans. It would be a great idea for the Diamondbacks to open up a “Tai’s Tacos” stand in Chase Field for the regular season. You know, for those of use who do not want nacho cheese, whipped cream, ice cream, jalapenos, and a hot dog on a sesame seed bun.
Around the League
[Baseball Essential] If MLB Expanded Tomorrow – Jim actually discussed who he would protect on the Diamondbacks in the event of an expansion draft last season. Always interesting to see this exercise expanded (ha ha) to all thirty existing teams. I would be willing to say that an expansion could be on the horizon in the next decade. Most of the current obstacles in preventing a league expansion currently involve a handful of stadium disputes which includes the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks’ front office might have to make difficult decisions on which players to protect in an expansion draft eventually, which should lead to some fun discussions here at the Pit!
[ESPN] Orioles start program to let kids come to games for free – The Baltimore Orioles will be giving parents, who buy an upper deck ticket, two free tickets for children under the age of nine. The Diamondbacks would benefit greatly from something similar. Outside of Opening Day, holiday games, promotional games, and contests against popular teams, the Diamondbacks struggle to fill the upper deck. Not only would it put more young fans in the stands, it would likely boost concession sales because more families would be eating at the ballpark.
[Bleacher Report] Predicting MLB’s Biggest Busts in 2018 – Busts. You never know which player or team it is going to be, but they are always there every season. Which players would you predict to be a bust this season? My personal selection is the entire Colorado Rockies bullpen.