Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen chatted with Zach Buchanan of The Athletic (subscription link) about his organization’s approach to the coming summer trade period. The entire chat is well worth a full read, but we’ll cover some highlights here.
Hazen says he’s waiting to see how his team performs over the next several weeks before settling on an approach. Some “things need to get ironed out for us to see the team the way it needs to be seen as a true playoff contender,” he says. The club “need[s] to see a little more consistency,” he adds, though it’s unclear whether he’s looking for anything in particular beyond the bottom-line results in the win/loss columns.
Lest there be any confusion, Hazen went on to make clear: “The amount of the resources that we contribute [to improving the 2019 roster] are going to be more of a reflection of where we’re at playing-wise at the time.”
That’s a different tone than we heard recently from Jon Daniels, whose Rangers are in a generally similar situation to the D-Backs. Both clubs are chasing powerhouse division leaders with more realistic, but hardly clearcut, Wild Card prospects. Daniels indicated that his deadline approach would not waver too substantially based upon the results over the next several weeks, referring instead to the team’s broader strategic plans.
Those teams share another similarity: a glaring need for starting pitching. The Arizona club is without two of its highest-upside arms (Taijuan Walker and Luke Weaver) and just lost another for an unknown duration in Jon Duplantier. If the D-Backs pursue additions, there’s little question where they’d look first. “The pitching is probably the area that would be more of a focus,” says Hazen. “The losses to the rotation have been significant and probably would need to be addressed.”
The Arizona org is already “canvassing, at least watching the market” for hurlers, says Hazen, though there’s “not a lot of activity” just yet. One significant rotation piece did recently go off the board, of course; Hazen allowed that it’s “probably fair” to say Dallas Keuchel was just too expensive. Otherwise, the club is hoping the Jake Lamb and Wilmer Flores will provide an offensive boost, making for “fairly low” interest in offensive additions.
The D-Backs, not unlike the Rangers, could seek to buy some pitching now that could also help the team in the future. That could take the form of higher-grade, younger starters or more established, more expensive hurlers. The Arizona org already looked into Mike Leake, who’d fit into the latter camp, though it’s unclear just how far down the line they went on that concept. Financial limitations will create some obvious constraints. There aren’t many players under contract next year for the Snakes, but the team already has a hefty salary starting point owing to its massive obligations to Zack Greinke ($35MM) and Yasmany Tomas ($17MM).