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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Morosi: Diamondbacks’ growing gloom might mean doom for manager or GM

Grit ain’t grocery
Eggs ain’t poultry
And Kirk Gibson ain’t the man

The Arizona Diamondbacks were supposed to lead the league in grit. Purportedly, that was the rationale behind the Justin Upton trade two offseasons ago. The swashbuckling leadership team of Kevin Towers and Kirk Gibson wanted their guys to play hard, drill opposing hitters when necessary and teach Yasiel Puig a few lessons in major league decorum.

Now they have the worst record in baseball, 5-18. With a 9-2 loss to the nearly-as-woeful Cubs on Tuesday, Arizona dropped to 1-4 on a road trip that could determine the fates of Towers and/or Gibson. And if the Diamondbacks are resolved to save their bosses’ jobs, they aren’t playing—or even talking—like it.

...McCarthy, a nine-year veteran, said he had played on bad teams before. Each seemed to have some positivity and “rays of hope,” he said.

As for the ‘14 Diamondbacks . . .

“This is different,” McCarthy said somberly.

Chavez’s statements were perhaps even more damning.

“I’ve never seen anything like it, to be honest with you,” Chavez said. “I’ve been on teams that weren’t very good, but at least I felt like we were competitive. So, it’s a bitter pill to swallow.

“It definitely wasn’t what we anticipated. We had a couple pitchers [ace Patrick Corbin and reliever David Hernandez] go down early, which was disheartening. But everybody’s had injuries. This is about as bad of a start as anybody could imagine.”

We would expect a “gritty” team to come from behind and win. The Diamondbacks haven’t. They’ve won only two games this season in which they trailed—and one was way back on April 1. In fact, the Diamondbacks are 1-15 when the opposition scores first. What happened to the steadfastness they displayed last year, when, according to STATS LLC, they ranked fifth in all of baseball with 42 comeback wins?

Repoz Posted: April 23, 2014 at 10:23 AM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: diamondbacks

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   1. scareduck Posted: April 23, 2014 at 11:14 AM (#4691909)
It's astonishing. It seems unlikely the Snakes will stay this bad, but it does seem possible -- probable, even -- that Gibson will lose his job before the season's over. And the season could be already over, at least as far as their chances of going to the postseason are concerned. Cue the "you can't win the division in April, but you can lose it" arguments ...
   2. JE (Jason) Posted: April 23, 2014 at 11:50 AM (#4691977)
When even Morosi rolls his eyes when describing "grit," you know that Brian Kenny's influence on the set of MLBN is being felt.
   3. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: April 23, 2014 at 12:16 PM (#4692010)
Not a good sign when veterans are trashing their team in the press in April.
   4. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: April 23, 2014 at 12:29 PM (#4692040)
Chavez said the team didn't hold a meeting after the loss Tuesday.

"Can't," he said. "We've had so many meetings. Talk is really cheap at this point. We need performances on the field. We've had more meetings, and people saying stuff, than (any team) I've ever been a part of. We need some guys to step up and have some big days. ... We've used up all the words in our vocabulary, with the meetings. ... We need guys to go 4 for 4, go seven, eight, nine innings."
   5. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 23, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4692042)
Firing Gibson makes all the sense in the world but he will probably slag some arms on his way out. Managers don't have a ton of influence over the day today record of their teams but he took every opportunity to hurt them. Constantly running the team out of games, forcing struggling starters to give him the hundred pitches "they owe him" which destroyed his two best starters, his Willy Bloomquist fetish, etc, etc.

Hopefully Gibson is fired soon so Towers could be fired next.
   6. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 23, 2014 at 12:39 PM (#4692059)
I have to say, if they did buy into the Gibson/Towers plan to rebuild by replacing all their good players with random gritty players, it makes no sense to give up after 1 1/2 seasons. That would be like firing Jeff Luhnow a year ago.
   7. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 23, 2014 at 12:54 PM (#4692082)
I bet they could use guys like Justin Upton, Tyler Skaggs, Trevor Bauer, Adam Eaton, and Ryan Cook.
   8. zonk Posted: April 23, 2014 at 01:10 PM (#4692111)
Dropping back-to-back games to the Cubs ought to mean the firing of someone...
   9. Walt Davis Posted: April 23, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4692575)
Not just losing 2 to the Cubs but being spanked 14-3 over those two games by a team scoring 3.5 R/G up to that point.

The DBacks offense has been terrible but at least it's been regular terrible (82 OPS+, 3.5 R/G). Their pitching has been atrocious beyond belief, especially the starters. A 64 ERA+, over 6 runs a game. I assume the main reason they are 1-15 when the other team scores first is because the other team has also scored second, third and fourth before the third inning is finished.

They all seem like perfectly cromulent starters -- Miley, McCarthy, Cahill, Arroyo -- they're not trotting Casey Coleman out there.

   10. shoewizard Posted: April 23, 2014 at 08:00 PM (#4692642)
Team ERA vs. FIP

Starters 7.23/5.23
Reliever 3.57/3.23
Pit Total 5.69/4.39

Obviously the starters numbers are the worst in the league and no other team is close to that bad. The only other team with Starters FIP over 4.50 are the twins, at 4.68, who also have a 5.76 Starters ERA.

It's really strange the starters are THIS bad. Even their "ace" Miley wasn't exactly stellar today.

Even if you plugged in Corbin's numbers from last year in place of Delgado/Bolsinger, this years 5th starters, their team starters ERA would still be over 5.50/6.00

They have all of TWO quality starts as a team. Tyler Skaggs has two for the Angels. Trevor Bauer has one for the Indians. (Even Ian Kennedy, who they dumped for a loogy has 3).

Pitching prospects , as everyone knows, are like salmon swimming upstream. Between injuries and surgeries, and just plain failing to live up to expectations, it really is a numbers game. But when you start off with the bevy of starting pitching prospects Towers had, and trade all but Bradley and Corbin, your surprise success story gets hurt, well you end up with an old Bronson Arroyo and Brittle Brandon McCarthy "anchoring" your pitching staff. Not to mention an expensive Trevor Cahill now a middle reliever.

Towers has gutted this franchise, trading off assets for less than full market value, and most often getting average players at best who cost more and have little upside beyond current level of production.

Their minor league system has very few hitting prospects, and really ZERO blue chip hitting prospects, Only the aforementioned Bradley as a top pitching prospect, (and he is still struggling with command in AAA), and a roster in the major leagues that is clearly never going to get them beyond a .500 record.

The Towers era has been an unmitigated disaster and this team will will suck for years to come. The ONLY silver lining is they are in great position for the first pick in the 2015 amateur draft.

It's really disheartening. At least if your team sucks, if you have an ownership inclined to buy their way out of the suck, or if you have a farm system that gives you hope down the road, or even at least a front office with a vision and the skills and ability to execute a plan that has a chance of succeeding in the modern version of this league, there is hope.

The D Backs have NONE of that.

   11. Dr. Vaux Posted: April 23, 2014 at 08:41 PM (#4692694)
Josh Byrnes had them in great position. Why was he fired, again?
   12. valuearbitrageur Posted: April 24, 2014 at 01:11 AM (#4692906)
So Towers could get his contract extension by selling off all the talent Byrnes & Dipoto carefully accumulated.

My one defense of Towers: He was hired with a 2 year deal, how long term would your strategies be in a similar situation?

In pitching alone, here is the talent that Towers let go. Jarrod Parker, Tyler Skaggs, Trevor Bauer, Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Ryan Cook. Kennedy collapsed and Hudson got hurt in similar situations, after a series of starts giving Gibson the 100 pitches they "owed him" in 2-5 innings while struggling. The rest were traded for lesser/more expensive pitchers/players. a team that should have a very good rotation niw has the worst possible.
   13. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: April 24, 2014 at 10:00 AM (#4693037)
If Arizona stays this terrible, it might actually save Gibson's job. If they lose 100+ games, ownership might assume he just didn't have the horses, and give him another shot. But if the Snakes finish, say, 75-87, he's probably gone...
   14. shoewizard Posted: April 24, 2014 at 10:58 AM (#4693104)
69-69 the rest of the way ? Hmmmmmmm

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