After making multiple high-profile offseason moves, the Diamondbacks entered the campaign with playoff aspirations, but the 37-46 Snakes sit a likely insurmountable 14 games behind NL West-leading San Francisco and 7 1/2 games out of a Wild Card spot. Still, chief baseball officer Tony La Russa stands by the roster the front office has assembled, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. “I think the talent is very competitive,” La Russa said. “I think we just need to execute better. You don’t want to focus on the pitching because there are days when we don’t score enough runs and days we don’t defend as well as we can. I think it’s a matter of executing.” As for why the Diamondbacks aren’t executing, La Russa attributed it to the players pressing “just enough to where it can be the difference in the game.” With less than a month to go before the trade deadline, the D-backs don’t see themselves as sellers yet, but La Russa acknowledged that they “may do a little planning ahead.”
More from the NL:
- The 35-45 Brewers would rather acquire starting pitching than subtract it at the deadline, general manager David Stearns told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We always want to add starting pitching; add quality arms. I don’t know I’d term us a seller of pitching,” said Stearns, who went on to state that the Brewers “would have a very high price to trade any young player that has significant control remaining and who we believe can contribute to the organization for a long time.” It’s worth noting in light of Stearns’ comments that all three 20-somethings currently in the Brewers’ rotation – Jimmy Nelson, Zach Davies and Chase Anderson – are cheap and controllable for the foreseeable future. One starter whom the Brewers will likely look to deal is 32-year-old Matt Garza, according to the Journal Sentinel, though he’ll need to rebuild his value after a poor 2015 and a back injury that kept him out until mid-June of this season. Garza, who’s on a $12.5MM salary through next season, has fared respectably since returning – albeit in only 21 2/3 innings – with a 3.74 ERA, 5.82 K/9, 2.91 BB/9 and 50.7 percent grounder rate in four starts.
- The Marlins’ acquisition of reliever Fernando Rodney earlier this week is part of the payoff in owner Jeffrey Loria’s long-term investment in the team’s infrastructure, details Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com. Loria installed a board of directors in the offseason when he named Mike Hill president of baseball operations and hired Don Mattingly as manager. Along with Loria, Hill and Mattingly, the Marlins’ decision-making board consists of several other higher-ups, each given a voice in the way the franchise operates. Loria also spent to improve the Marlins’ analytics department and beefed up their pro and amateur scouting budgets, per Gammons. In regards to his playoff-contending club, Loria told Gammons, “I can honestly say this is the best I’ve felt about the Marlins since 2003,” alluding to their second World Series-winning season. “There are times when I think this team is as good as that 2003 team, but now’s not the time for comparisons. Now is the time for very smart people to work hard to constantly make us better, and that includes the coaching staff Donnie has put together.”
- The Nationals are concerned about the velocity drop right-hander Joe Ross experienced in their 9-4 loss to the Reds on Saturday, manager Dusty Baker told reporters, including Bill Ladson of MLB.com. Ross lasted 5 1/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on 10 hits while striking out only two batters. The 23-year-old’s sinker, which averages 93.5 mph, came in at a mean of 91.8 mph Saturday and fell into the high 80s in his final inning, notes Ladson. Ross insisted afterward that he’s healthy, saying, “My stuff wasn’t there, the command wasn’t really there. It’s a little frustrating, but I feel all right.” Washington will take a cautious approach and continue trying to limit Ross’ workload, stated Baker. After narrowly eclipsing the 150-inning total between the majors and minors last season, Ross is up to 95 1/3 frames this year.