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Arizona Diamondbacks Job Hunt: Three Possible A.J. Hinch Replacements

A.J. Hinch had no business being an MLB manager.

He would have driven the 1927 Yankees into the cellar (okay, maybe not).

But a 31-47 record in 2010 with a team that didn’t respect him as far as they could throw him marked the end of his tenure in Arizona.

Now the D-Backs are left with three possible options for the team’s next skipper: hire a coaching veteran, a former player, or an in-house assistant.

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MLB Trade Rumors 2010: San Francisco Giants’ Hot Stove

The second place San Francisco Giants are good enough to win the National League West as is.

Yes, with a pitching staff that features two Cy Young candidates, nobody is denying that.

But to make a serious run in the post-season, the Giants are going to need some additional help.

Ranked No. 19 in home runs and No. 24 in runs batted in, San Francisco can’t continue to expect flawless pitching from its staff.

Although the back-end of their bullpen is set in stone, the Giants will also look to add another arm into the mix.

Here are three bats and three relievers San Francisco will look at in the coming weeks.

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MLB Interleague Play 2010: Arizona Diamondbacks Preview

Bud Selig didn’t do the Arizona Diamondbacks any favors this season.

With 12 games in the next 13 days against four of the best teams in the American League, the D-Backs are set to become proverbial, and perhaps even literal, punching bags.

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2010 MLB Draft Results: Arizona Diamondbacks Stock Up On Pitching

In 2010, the Arizona Diamondbacks are 3-28 when scoring four or less runs.

Without much further investigation, it was safe to say that Arizona needed to pick up some additional help on the mound (no, Dontrelle Willis is not going to cut it).

And that’s just what General Manager Josh Byrnes did.

His first eight, I repeat eight , picks at this year’s draft were pitchers. 

“We are extremely excited about the quality of arms we were able to select throughout the draft,” D-Backs’ Scouting Director Tom Allison told

Here are a few notes on some of Arizona’s more prominent selections.


RHP Barret Loux (No. 6 pick overall)

The junior pitcher from Texas A&M shot up analysts’ draft boards after posting a 2.60 ERA this season in the hotly contested Big 12.

On Monday, just hours after being drafted, Loux gave up three runs in one inning in a regional game against No. 11 Miami. 

Loux throws a low-90s fastball, mixed in with a devastating change-up.

Major League Projection: Two or three starter with a debut coming in 2011


RHP James Bradley (No. 56 pick overall)

The 18-year-old prep play from West Virginia is a North Carolina State signee with similar stuff to Loux. 

Major League Projection: Back-end starter with a debut in 2013


RHP Robert Rowland (No. 88 pick overall)

Another prep pitcher, this time out of California.

The 6’6″ Oregon signee has a dominating presence on the mound that resembles the likes of San Diego pitcher Chris Young. 

Major League Projection: If the D-Backs can sign him, he’s got the stuff to be a front of the rotation starter someday.


RHP Kevin Munson (No. 121 pick overall)

Finally, a reliever to help out the worst bullpen in the big leagues (7.19 ERA).

Munson, as the closer for James Madison University, went 8-1 with 10 saves during his junior campaign.

Major League Projection: With his above-average fastball/slider mix and durable arm, Munson could find his way into the dismal D-Backs pen fairly early on. Possibly as early as September, when the roster expands.


LHP Cody Wheeler (No. 151 pick overall)

Junior out of No. 4 Coastal Carolina University had a 12-0 record with a 3.59 ERA this season.

His team is two wins away from reaching the College World Series, so look out for him on ESPN if CCU should make it to Omaha. 

Major League Projection: Many projected Wheeler to be taken in the first day of the draft as a big league ready arm. Wheeler, like Munson, could find himself in a D-Backs uniform before 2010 ends.


INF Raoul Torrez (No. 631 pick overall)

Quite a big jump to Torrez here.

The senior leader for top-ranked Arizona State University can play any infield position with superb defense. 

He struggled at the plate a little bit this year, only batting .283, but Torrez has above-average speed that will help him find a way to get on base in the big leagues.

Major League Projection: Think of him as a possible future Augie Ojeda; platoon player extraordinaire.  


RHP Ryan Zimmerman (No. 901 pick overall)

Don’t get too excited here D-Backs fans, the name is just a bit of coincidence.

The senior starter for Northwestern State University went 6-5 this season with a 3.74 ERA.

Major League Projection: Doomed to a life of disappointing people when they realize he’s not that Ryan Zimmerman. 


Draft Grade: B-

Arizona might have reached a bit for Loux. ESPN had him ranked way lower at No. 42 overall. All in all, the D-Backs went out and tried to fix their most glaring weakness; drafting pitchers with 25 out of their 50 picks. 


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Stephen Strasburg Is Not a Rags-To-Riches Story

The man hyped as the best pitching prospect ever always had the talent to be where he is now.

Born with an arm that could throw 90 mph while sleeping, only Stephen Strasburg’s mental shortcomings as a teenager stopped the phenom from garnering such early praise and notoriety like his soon-to-be teammate Bryce Harper.


High School

At West Hills High School in San Diego, Calif., Strasburg won just one game as a junior. 

He would get visibly frustrated on the mound and chastise teammates for committing errors behind him. 

His senior year was more of the same.

When scouts came to visit his team, Strasburg’s coach would point to pitchers less mature.

“I told scouts not to draft me,” Strasburg told Sports Illustrated. “I wasn’t ready.”

Not heavily recruited by big time Division I programs, only San Diego State pitching coach Rusty Filter convinced his head coach, Tony Gwynn, to take a chance on Strasburg.


College and the Olympics

Lazy and unmotivated, Strasburg arrived on campus 30 pounds overweight. The future No. 1 overall draft pick couldn’t run four 50-yard sprints without vomiting.

His strength and conditioning coach nicknamed him “Slothburg” and advised him to quit the team. But it turned out all Strasburg needed was a little push.

After stepping foot into a gym for the first time in his life, the freshman upped his fastball to 97 mph.

During his sophomore campaign, Strasburg accumulated an 8-3 record with a 1.57 ERA.

Collegiate batters couldn’t keep up with his fastball and looked silly chasing the devastating change of pace on his off-speed pitches. 

His performance earned the pitcher a birth on the U.S. national team at the 2008 Summer Olympics, and he was the only college player to be selected.

In Beijing, Strasburg started two games, including a seven inning, one-hit effort against the Netherlands.

Team USA Manager Davey Johnson felt so confident in the young star that he started Strasburg in the semifinals against powerhouse Cuba. 

Unfortunately for the youngster Cuba pulled for a 10-2 win despite Strasburg’s solid four inning, two earned run performance.

Strasburg left the Olympics with a bronze medal and a 2.45 ERA.

Back for his junior season, Strasburg was a pre-season All-American. He did not disappoint.

In 2009, Strasburg went 13-1 with a 1.32 ERA while striking out 195 batters.

In his final home start of the season, the junior threw a no-hitter against Air Force, retiring 17 batters on strikes.


Minor Leagues

With super agent Scott Boras by his side, Strasburg went No. 1 overall to the Washington Nationas and signed a record-breaking four-year, $15.1 million dollar contract.

During his stint in the minor leagues, the superstar went 7-2 with a 1.30 ERA, including six innings of no-hit ball in a Triple A affiliate appearance. 

After just 11 starts in the minors, Strasburg’s story now turns to the main stage. He will have the weight of the world on his 21-year-old shoulders as he makes his debut tonight.

Just remember, no one is more confident in his stuff than he is.


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Arizona Diamondbacks Struggling: Solution—Sign LeBron James?

The Arizona Diamondbacks are bad.

I mean really bad. 

They are 22nd in team batting average, and dead last in team ERA (thanks in large part to the 7.51 ERA of their less-than-outstanding bullpen).

Recently, even Diamondbacks Managing Partner Ken Kendrick apologized for the squad’s lack of productivity. 

“When the team is playing as badly as this team is, and we’ve had a consistent period of questionable performance going back into a full season last year and the second half of the ’08 season,” Kendrick told .

“You really need to look very broadly at everything and try to objectively determine what kind of changes you really want to make. We’re going to go through that process.”

So what can be done to right the ship? 

Probably nothing, aside from building for next year.

But hey, that won’t stop me from offering up a few poignant suggestions. 


1. Bring in Jennie Finch

Like I said before, the D-Backs are dead last in team ERA. 

No team is ever going to win when the pitching staff gives up six runs a game.

Enter Finch.

The University of Arizona softball alumni was a three-time All-American pitcher in college, during which time she threw an astonishing 64 complete game shutouts. 

Finch went on to headline the U.S. national team for a number of years, including a 2-0 record and gold medal finish at the 2004 Summer Olympics. 

I see a move to the big leagues being a relatively easy transition for the superstar, partly because no batter has ever seen anything like her underhand pitching style before (save for maybe Byung-Hyun Kim’s submarine delivery).

If you have read this far and wondered why I haven’t mentioned her ridiculously stunning looks yet, this is my acknowledgment of that blatantly obvious perk to the potential signing.

But really, she has to be better than Chad Qualls. 


2. Hire John Calipari 

It might take $5 million a year, but I think he’s worth it. 

The man who has taken three different schools to the Elite Eight, or further, is the single best recruiter in the country.

Calipari always gets his guy.

Yes, he may not know much about baseball, but really, is managing that hard?

Not to mention, he’d probably lure the best staff of assistants in the game. 

Arizona would immediately become a destination for top-flight free agents, rather than a last resort for aging journeymen. 


3.  Sign LeBron James

Personally, I’d just give King James a blank check and tell him to write whatever number he wants on it. 

Actually, while I were at it, I would sign over the whole state of Arizona to him (it’s in complete debt anyways). 

The publicity and sheer excitement the King would bring to the Grand Canyon State would be overwhelmingly worth every penny.

Rumors have floated around for years that if James really wanted to, he could be a tight end or wide receiver in the NFL.

So, why not baseball too?

He’s certainly athletic enough. 

I’m sure if you stuck him in a batting cage for 10 minutes, he’d be hitting big flies in no time. 

Stick James in center field, and you’ve got a perennial Gold Glover as well.

Plus, no catcher in their right mind would try to block the plate with a 6’8″, 250-pound locomotive barreling down on them.


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Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Arizona State: Who Wins a Three-Game Series?

Entering June in the cellar of the National League West, the D-Backs are currently riding an eight-game losing streak (including a walk-off balk given up by pitcher Esmerling Vasquez).

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Arizona State University baseball team recently received news that they will be the No. 1 overall seed in the upcoming 64-team NCAA Baseball Tournament.

So that got me thinking. Given the fact that ASU has one of the strongest pipelines to the Major Leagues, who would win a weekend series between these two clubs?

To keep things fair, I must note that I am assuming the college team would continue to use aluminum bats, while the pro team would stick with wood.

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