The Diamondbacks have had mixed results when buying low on relievers under GM Mike Hazen’s regime, but Hazen tells The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan (subscription required) that prior outcomes won’t close off his mind to any avenues when building his ’pen this winter. “Shutting yourself off to whatever’s happened in the past, or hard-and-fast making rules that you won’t do something again, that just sets you up to miss out on the next opportunity,” said Hazen.
Arizona’s run with the Fernando Rodney Experience yielded solid results in 2017, though more recent matches with Brad Boxberger and in particular, Greg Holland, have been less fruitful. The Diamondbacks’ low-cost acquisition of Yoshihisa Hirano has paid dividends. The organization has plenty of young arms it could trot out next season in hopes of compiling a strong collective unit, but Hazen also cautioned against leaning too heavily on young relievers, which can be tantamount to “flipping coins” in the ’pen. A high-end bullpen signing would be out of character for Hazen & Co., but it seems reasonable to expect some upside plays to pair with the team’s incumbent options.
More out of the NL West…
- The Dodgers have moved to a six-man rotation recently, and manager Dave Roberts said Thursday that he plans to continue that arrangement for the time being (link via MLB.com’s Jake Rill). The current six-man alignment has given the team more opportunity to work in some rest for the suddenly struggling Hyun-Jin Ryu. The lefty, who accepted a $17.9MM qualifying offer last offseason, was dominant through July but has served up 18 runs in 14 2/3 innings since returning from a brief IL stint due to neck soreness earlier this month. Beyond Ryu, the Dodgers have Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda, Walker Buehler and rookies Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May as rotation options. They’re also likely to get right-hander Ross Stripling back from the injured list this weekend, giving them another candidate to make some starts or long relief appearances should they need to rest Ryu or any of their other arms in advance of the postseason.
- Garrett Richards returned to the mound after a setback slowed him for three weeks in his rehab from Tommy John surgery. The 31-year-old allowed four runs and walked four hitters in 1 2/3 innings of work for Class-A Advanced Lake Elsinore. Signed by the Padres to a two-year, $15.5MM deal in the offseason, Richards is eyeing a September return to the big league mound and told the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Jeff Sanders last night that he considered yesterday’s outing a positive step — even if the bottom-line results were ugly. Fewer than half of Richards’ 53 pitches were strikes, but the former Angels righty explained that he felt his delivery was consistent, his pitches moved well and that he could’ve kept pitching. Richards hit 95 mph in the first inning of the start, per Sanders, and he’ll join the Friars today to discuss the next steps in his journey back to a Major League mound. Signing Richards was always a move geared toward 2020, but the Padres would assuredly love to get a look at him this year as they begin to map out their plans for next year.