July 2009

Derrick Hall on CNBC

D-backs’ team president and CEO Derrick Hall appeared on CNBC this morning.

Where’s the pot of gold?

I don’t know if this is a rare thing to see here in Queens or not, but spotted this rainbow here at Citi Field during the rain delay. Apologies for the poor picture quality, but it’s from my cell phone.

rainbow.jpg

D-backs quiet at deadline

The non-waiver trade deadline came and went Friday with the D-backs, as expected, remaining on the sidelines.

“It didn’t entirely surprise me,” GM Josh Byrnes said. “There are other times to make a trade and more things could happen for us in August for us and other teams. There just was nothing really in the last several days that were appealing to us so we got to the deadline and it was pretty quiet.”

Names like Doug Davis, Jon Garland and Chad Qualls got bandied about quite a bit, but it doesn’t sound like any of the three was close to getting dealt.

From what I’ve heard there was not a lot of interest in Davis and Garland. Qualls drew a lot of inquiries, but the D-backs did not want to part with him because he they will have him next year at a very reasonable salary.

And just because the non-waiver deadline has passed it does not mean there is not the possibility of a deal being made in August. Players must be placed on waivers and could be claimed by teams wanting to block a trade, but then those teams run the risk of being stuck with a contract they don’t really want, or can’t really afford.

“I think pretty active,” Byrnes said when asked what August would be like. “Again, I think there are a few issues. Teams will be more motivated to complete their roster because they are still in the race and other teams might fall out of it a little bit. And with the economy I don’t think there will be a lot of claiming going on. I think it probably sets up to have a few trades around baseball happen in August.”

D-backs manager A.J. Hinch was happy the deadline had come and gone without a deal.

“I’m glad it’s over for the sense that so much was talked about with Qualls, Garland and Davis and what we were going to do,” Hinch said. “Now we can move forward knowing in the back of our minds that deals can be made until the end of August as well.”

Trade questions and answers

With Friday’s trade deadline approaching I thought this would be a good time to answer some of the more frequent questions that have been showing up in my inbox.

Will the D-backs get a deal done before the deadline?

The situation can always change, but as of right now it does not look like the D-backs will make a deal before the deadline. Keep in mind, the club has already made two deals over the past couple of weeks sending Tony Pena to the White Sox and Felipe Lopez to the Brewers in exchange for three prospects that they feel good about.

The D-backs have received inquiries about pitchers Doug Davis, Jon Garland and Chad Qualls and they’ve let teams know what they would expect in return. As of yet, no team has met that asking price.

Don’t they have to deal Davis and Garland since they are out of the race?

The D-backs are not in a fire sale mode. They do not need to move salary and they don’t feel they are entering into a massive rebuilding period. They feel they can retool this offseason enough to where they can compete for a playoff spot next year, so they are not just going to dump Davis and Garland. If both finish the season with the team they will need to decide whether to exercise the option on Garland’s contract or give him a buyout. Garland also holds an option and should he choose to exercise and the team decline theirs they would owe him a bigger buyout. It’s possible they could offer Davis salary arbitration this winter and if he declines it they could receive draft compensation, assuming he is a Type B free agent.

What about Qualls?

There has been plenty of interest from other teams with regards to Qualls, but the D-backs are not inclined to move him for several reasons. They control his rights next year and even though he is eligible for salary arbitration he would likely only command a salary of $4 million or so, which is not that expensive for a closer.

Should Qualls continue to pitch well next year he could wind up being a Type A free agent following the 2010 season, which means the D-backs would get a pair of high draft picks for him should he leave via free agency.

And again, the D-backs feel they can be competitive next year and finding a closer to take the place of Qualls would be a real challenge.

So while it’s not out of the question that they could deal him, it’s not likely and they would insist on a large return.

If these three are still with the D-backs after the deadline passes, then they can’t be traded?

No. They can still be traded. The only catch is they would need to clear waivers. The D-backs have done their share of post-deadline deals in the past and it’s possible that Davis or Garland might be able to get through waivers and be dealt in August should a contender decide they need one of the two.

What about a contract extension for Davis, and what are the chances they pick up Garland’s option for next year?

The D-backs do have some interest in giving Davis an extension and Davis does want to stay in Arizona. The question is whether  the two sides can agree on the financial aspect of the deal. So far I don’t know that things have progressed much on that front.

Garland’s $10 million option might be pricey given the way the market played out last offseason and the D-backs may be content to let things play out this offseason and see which pitcher falls to them much like they did last year when they signed Garland. Ironically, some of the same pitchers that were on the market last year, like Randy Wolf, will be out there again this year because they only signed one-year deals.

So, to answer the question, they are interested in signing Davis, but only for a price they think is fair, and they will wait to see on the option for Garland.

Davis “of interest” to D-backs

Though his name has been bandied about in trade discussions, D-backs left-hander Doug Davis has made no secret of his desire to stay in Arizona.

Davis’ agent Steve Canter declined to say whether he has had any specific discussions about a contract with the D-backs saying only that he and Arizona GM have a very good relationship and do talk.

“Doug is a player of interest to the organization,” Canter said of the D-backs. “How things play out with respect to the future remains to be seen.”

Davis is in the final year of a three-year $22 million extension he signed after being traded from Milwaukee to Arizona prior to the 2007 season.

Last month, Davis said he would consider returning to Arizona next season if he were to be dealt.

A couple of weeks ago, KTAR 620 AM in Phoenix reported that the D-backs wanted to re-sign Davis rather than trade him and The Arizona Republic reported Saturday that Davis was drawing little interest in the trade market.

D-backs react to comments by Reynolds

DENVER — One day after first baseman Mark Reynolds called out his teammates for a lack of effort, the D-backs seemed to be a team with some internal turmoil.

D-backs manager A.J. Hinch left second baseman Felipe Lopez and center fielder Chris Young out of the starting lineup, but was not specific about whether he did it to send a message about a lack of effort.

When asked if anything should be read into who was in the lineup and who was not, Hinch said, “It’s your call.”

It sure seemed like Hinch was trying to send a message because while a manager generally will not say he is sending a message, if he is not he usually makes it pretty clear that he’s not.

Meanwhile in the clubhouse, Reynolds stuck behind his prior comments.

“I had cameras in my face nine minutes after the game and I was real mad about how we played, about a lot of stuff,” Reynolds said Saturday. “Stuff came out pretty hot, but everything that I said I felt needed to be said.”

What’s interesting is that Reynolds chose to share his feelings about his teammates to the media rather than address them during one of the many meetings the team has had where players have spoken or directly to the player or players he thought were responsible.

“When we have team meetings I don’t say anything,” Reynolds said. “I don’t have a lot of time in this game. I just haven’t felt like it was my place, but like I said I was pretty hot last night and when you’re upset and you have things on your mind and you have an outlet to say it, it just all boiled over.”

Count catcher Chris Snyder among those that was in agreement with Reynolds had to say.

“Everything that was said was dead on,” Snyder said. “I think there’s a lack of a lot of things. The main thing being heart. Guys around feel like they should be owed something, everything should be given to them, they don’t have to fight, they don’t have to compete. They just go out there, put a smile on their face on every first and 15th of the month and other than that it’s ho hum. Winning doesn’t matter as long as they get to the first and 15th they’ll be happy.

“You can’t play that way and expect to compete. We lack certain things, heart being one, at certain times brains and more times than not guts. Those are three things that are needed to win.”

Snyder, who is on the disabled list with a lower back problem, was asked if he had expressed that to his teammates.

“I’ve been quiet,” he said. “I’ve been real quiet because I’m at the point where I’m tired of saying. It’s time to do. You can say all you want. Right now I can’t do so I’m not going to say. There’s been enough saying.”

Young took the opposite approach and instead defended his teammates and by extension, himself.

“I care, the guys in the clubhouse care,” Young said. “We don’t like losing, we’re not accepting losing. It’s not something where we’re going out there, we’re not lacking effort. It may look like that if you watch the game, I’m in the outfield, I know what it looks like. It looks like guys aren’t giving effort, but that’s not the case.

“Everybody is busting it. Everybody wants to win. Nobody in our clubhouse is accepting losing, is taking the year and going through the motions. I don’t know how people are reacting to the comments Mark said or how the fans are taking it. I just want to make it clear that we’re busting our butts, nobody’s slacking. Guys want to win and guys care. Everyone is just trying to find their own way to make it happen.”

Ace Dan Haren was asked if he thought that effort was the issue.

“I don’t know if it’s a mental thing,” Haren said. “It’s hard for me to judge that. But like I said after starts I can look in the mirror and tell myself that I’ve given that effort and I hope that everyone else can.”

Listening to Young, though, it sounded like there was plenty of caring in the clubhouse.

“There’s plenty of guys in this clubhouse that don’t sleep at night because we don’t win ballgames,” Young said. “There are plenty guys who are [mad] when we have a sloppy inning. There’s plenty of guys who are angry when we lose consecutive games, when we don’t win a series. Our entire clubhouse cares.”

It’s hard to know where the D-backs go from here. Maybe Reynolds’ comments will prove to by a catalyst. It appears as though the meetings have not helped and the team has a worse record since the managerial change so that was not a cure all either.

“Who knows what the next step is,” Snyder asked before answering his own question. “Grow up, be a man.”

Snyder making progress

Catcher Chris Snyder hit off the tee Friday for the second time since going on the disabled list June 23 with a lower back strain.

Snyder also walked the stairs at Coors Field in the afternoon.

Whereas in the past the rotation from swinging the bat led to tightness in the back he did not feel that Friday.

“I had felt it for about two or three weeks before going on the DL,” he said. “But it didn’t bother me on rotation until the last game I played in Kansas City. Then it started bothering me when I swung the bat. If it was a different kind of injury, I would probably play through it, but because of the position I play and the way I play it I can’t.”

Snyder said that an MRI taken of his back showed a slight bulge in the left disc and a slight strain in the ligament. He is hoping to be able to maybe catch a bullpen session just prior to the All-Star Break.

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