The Diamondbacks have waved goodbye to cornerstones Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock and Patrick Corbin in the past few months, leaving right-hander Zack Greinke as their best remaining player. In all, things haven’t gone according to plan for the Diamondbacks since they signed Greinke to a whopping six-year, $206.5MM contract heading into 2016, but he said Saturday that he has “(no) desire to be traded to any team,” Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. It stands to reason, then, that Greinke would block a deal to any of the 15 teams on his no-trade list should the Diamondbacks find an offer to their liking. Indeed, the Diamondbacks reportedly found Greinke’s limited no-trade clause to be a “major impediment” during the winter. In addition to his ability to block a trade to half the league’s clubs, Greinke’s a 35-year-old with $104.5MM left on his contract – two more factors that undermine his value. Still, Greinke did turn in yet another highly productive campaign in 2018, his second straight quality season after he began his D-backs tenure in somewhat disappointing fashion in 2016.
- Their courtship of free agent Bryce Harper aside, the Giants haven’t made a lot of headlines since president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi took the reins in November. Thus far, Derek Holland and Drew Pomeranz – two relatively modest free-agent signings – are the only players who have received major league contracts on Zaidi’s watch. However, the former Dodgers GM has worked diligently to strengthen the Giants’ depth and improve their culture, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times explains. “Coming in, it was pretty clear that that second level of depth just wasn’t there for the organization,” said Zaidi, who has been plenty active via the minor league, waiver and Rule 5 routes early in his Giants stint. He’s also trying to form relationships with the Giants’ key players, some of whom he met with recently to discuss the team’s pitching plans, McCullough reports. While Giants starters Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija have made their disdain for the opener known lately, it seems Zaidi assured his pitchers the team won’t use relievers at the beginning of games as often as they may fear. Once the meeting ended, Bumgarner approached Zaidi and told him that the anti-opener comment he made to manager Bruce Bochy was in jest.
- The Mariners will open the season in Japan, which could be outfielder Ichiro Suzuki’s major league sendoff, but the 45-year-old has informed the team he has no plans to retire, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. As he has done in the past, Ichiro told media Saturday he wants to play until he’s “at least” 50, though he did declare that he expects the Mariners uniform to be the last one he wears as a professional baseball player (via Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times). Unfortunately, in regards to playing another several years, odds are stacked against Ichiro. The future Hall of Famer posted dismal production in two of three seasons as a Marlin from 2015-17, after all, and then did the same over 47 plate appearances last season in his return to the Mariners. Seattle then moved him into a front office role in early May, ending his season, but brought him back on a minor league deal last month.
- Sticking with the Mariners’ outfield, Mallex Smith will sit out “at least” the first few weeks of camp because of a strained flexor mass in his right forearm, Greg Johns of MLB.com writes. The injury doesn’t appear serious, but with the Japan-bound Mariners set to begin their season earlier than most teams, any setback could jeopardize Smith’s status heading into their March 20 opener, Johns points out. Smith, who notched 40 stolen bases and 3.4 fWAR with the Rays in 2018, joined the Mariners in an offseason trade which also featured Mike Zunino as a principal piece.