The “Uptown” sign has been mothballed and donated to Goodwill. Major League Baseball is trying to sell its own script of brotherly love: The NFL has the Harbaughs? We see your DNA and raise you the Uptons.
No team underwent the offseason face-lift the D-backs did, and they have the scars to prove it.
The Diamondbacks drew 25,000 people to Fan Fest on Saturday and GM Kevin Towers and President Derrick Hall spent much of their day sounding like parents trying to convince their kids to try the funny-smelling new food on their plate. “I think you’re going to like these players,” Towers is quoted as saying on azcentral.com. “All I ask is to give them a chance.”
Regarding Towers’ moves, Hall added “That man knows what he’s doing.”
Like it or don’t; the early focus will be centered on who isn’t here as opposed to who is. Most of that attention will be directed towards Upton, or Chris Young.
But after sitting and talking with Miguel Montero at Fan Fest on Saturday, I’m thinking about Trevor Bauer.
I’m wondering if the D-backs will regret that move the most.
Montero was pleasantly candid. “When you get a guy like that and he thinks he’s got everything figured out, it’s just tough to commence and try to get on the same page with you,” he said. “He never wanted to listen,” and my personal fave: “Good luck to (Indians catcher) Carlos Santana there.”
I understand Montero’s and the organization’s frustrations with Bauer; show me any workplace when the young kid comes in and thinks he’s the smartest one in the room and I’ll show you a whole bunch of eye rolling and complaining. Such was the nature of Ken Kendrick’s comments on Bauer back in October.
I’m sure there are plenty of off-the-record tales to be told of how stubborn the kid was and certainly Montero deserves more respect than he was shown. But the D-backs had to know that there wasn’t anything about Bauer that was standard or typical. What surprises me is how little tolerance they had for it.
He made four starts with the D-backs. Four.
Usually a process like this involves the Try phase, followed by the Fail phase, and finally (hopefully) the Reinvention phase. For Bauer and the D-backs it was a little bit of Try, a little bit of Fail, followed by Go-Directly-To-Cleveland/Do-Not-Pass-Go-And-Do-Not-Collect-$200.
That’s why the potential for regret is higher for the Bauer deal than it is for any other move made by the D-backs, including the Upton trade. With Bauer, you don’t have the first foggy clue what you had and lost. Maybe he’s sensational. Maybe he flames out. Maybe, like many top prospects, he’s somewhere in the middle. You. Just. Don’t. Know.
We don’t know about Upton either, but at least we’ve had six years to try and figure him out. To learn his tendencies, his strengths and flaws. To make a reasonable judgment about what kind of player he’ll be. He’s a mystery too, but you can’t say you didn’t give him plenty of opportunities to prove himself.
I get the D-backs dealt from a position of strength (young pitching) to fill an area of need (shortstop) and Didi Gregorius certainly has a say how this turns out.
But if Bauer tries, fails and successfully reinvents himself in Cleveland, this will be the deal Towers and the gang will regret for a long time.