Though much of the heavy lifting for the Diamondbacks has been accomplished this winter by adding both Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller to the fold, GM Dave Stewart tells the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro that he still hopes to add another bat. “We did give away a certain amount of offense with Inciarte,” said Stewart in reference to Ender Inciarte, whom the D-backs sent to the Braves as part of the package to acquire Miller. “I’m not by any means thinking that (Yasmany) Tomas isn’t capable of giving us back what we lost, it’s just he didn’t prove that last year. Just to be sure, I wouldn’t mind adding a little more offense.”
The D-backs didn’t reach out to Daniel Murphy’s representatives before the longtime Met signed a three-year deal with the Nationals, but they’ve been in touch with Howie Kendrick’s representatives, Stewart tells Piecoro. However, the GM didn’t sound optimistic about the chances of getting something done, telling Piecoro: “I just don’t know how far we’re going to get down the road with that.” Piecoro notes that, in particular, Stewart sounded reluctant to surrender a second draft pick to add a free agent after already forefeiting his first pick in next year’s draft to sign Greinke.
Arizona has been linked to second base upgrade on more than one occasion this winter, as the team was also said to have discussed a swap that would’ve sent Aaron Hill to Cincinnati in exchange for Brandon Phillips. That deal would’ve saved the Reds some money on Phillips’ contract while giving the D-backs a boost in the infield, but a source tells Piecoro that Arizona wasn’t comfortable with the amount of Phillips’ 2017 salary that Cincinnati wanted the D-backs to assume. (There’s also the case of whether Phillips would’ve waived the no-trade protection that comes with his full 10-and-5 rights; he reportedly declined to do so when approached about a trade to the Nationals.)
The infield would seem like a logical spot to upgrade the offense after Nick Ahmed and Chris Owings both failed to provide meaningful offense in 2015, but Stewart said that the club has “every reason to believe” that Owings will “definitely” rebound in 2016 after being slowed by a problematic shoulder in 2015 and wouldn’t rule out adding an extra outfielder to the mix instead. As for Ahmed’s offense, I’d imagine the team isn’t as concerned with how much he does or doesn’t produce given his outstanding defense at shortstop (+20 DRS, +16.1 UZR/150). Stewart did leave open the possibility that the team could “go out and get a guy who is a proven offensive player and try to add him to the mix somewhere,” and, certainly, Kendrick would seem to fit that description.
The bullpen also remains a need for Arizona, but Stewart tells Piecoro that the price of acquiring relief help on the trade market is too high at this point, especially after already depleting his farm system by trading a pair of Top 100 prospects — Dansby Swanson and Aaron Blair — to Atlanta in the Miller trade. Piecoro writes that some combination of Enrique Burgos, Evan Marshall, Silvino Bracho and Jake Barrett could be leaned upon to complement the likes of Brad Ziegler, Daniel Hudson, Andrew Chafin, Randall Delgado and Josh Collmenter in the bullpen. From my vantage point, that would leave manager Chip Hale without much in the way of quality left-handed relief pitching, so there certainly seems to be reason to believe that the Snakes could add some left-handed bullpen arms, be it on the free-agent market or the trade market. There are a number of low-cost lefty relievers on the market that could provide some value on one-year deals or even minor league pacts.