The Diamondbacks’ interesting offseason reflects GM Mike Hazen’s self-described effort to “thread the needle,” Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes in an excellent look at the Arizona organization and its top baseball executive. Despite trading away franchise cornerstone Paul Goldschmidt in what could turn out to be a highly consequential trade, the Snakes will enter the season with intentions of trying to contend — albeit with a realistic outlook and, it seems fair to presume, backup plans should things go south. Hazen says he’s committed to trying to put a winner on the field whenever possible, making clear he has no regret for pushing in chips at last summer’s trade deadline. It’s an interesting article that’s well worth a full read.
More from the National League:
- Mets righty Zack Wheeler has been noted as a potential extension target this spring, but it does not sound as if he’s anxious to discuss a new deal after previously agreeing to a $5.975MM contract for his final season of arbitration eligibility. As Tim Healey of Newsday writes, Wheeler declined to say that he’s interested in — or even thinking at all about — a long-term arrangement. “I’m here right now,” Wheeler says. “That’s all I’m worried about. All that stuff will figure itself out and I’ll worry about that later.” Those comments certainly don’t seem to rule out an extension, and Wheeler made clear he’s happy to be playing for the Mets, but they also leave little reason to think that he is anxious to secure a new deal. If the team was hoping it might find value by striking up negotiations this spring, then, it may be disappointed.
- Meanwhile, right-handed Cardinals starter Michael Wacha struck a similar tone, as Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, though he’s in a bit of a different situation than Wheeler. Though Wacha also turned in strong results last year, he ended the season on the shelf with an oblique injury. His own injury struggles are well-documented, albeit not as extensive as Wheeler’s, yet the situation is not one that’s obviously ripe for extension talks even as free agency beckons. Wacha made clear he has not been approached by the club to this point, saying he’s “not getting prepared for any talks” in camp.
- The Rockies are hopeful that southpaw Mike Dunn will be ready to head north with the club out of camp and have a full 2019 season, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding writes. That would be a boon to a relief unit that has not received the contributions it hoped for from multiple high-priced relief pitchers. The 33-year-old Dunn did not pitch to expectations in 2017 and had a dreadful 2018 showing before giong down to shoulder surgery. That creates quite a lot of uncertainty, though bullpen coach Darren Holmes says that the southpaw’s “arm is working as well as it did in 2016 or better” as camp approaches.