“The Diamondbacks are said to have interest in both” Mitch Haniger and Nomar Mazara, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. Either player would address Arizona’s need for a right fielder, and though the D’Backs would be taking something of a risk either both are coming off disappointing 2019 seasons. Haniger didn’t play after June 6 due to a ruptured testicle, and even in the 283 plate appearances prior to his injury was already delivering less production than during his impressive 2017-18 campaigns. Mazara has been a steadily subpar offensive performer (92 wRC+, 93 OPS+) over his four career seasons with the Rangers, hitting .261/.320/.435 with 79 homers over 2189 PA and generating only 1.7 total fWAR.
That said, both offer upside for interested trade partners. Mazara is a former top prospect and he has hit right-handed pitching decently well, which Piecoro notes is an area of need for the D’Backs. Haniger, of course, is a known quantity in Arizona — he broke into the big leagues with the Snakes and then was dealt to the Mariners as part of the November 2016 trade that brought Ketel Marte to the desert. Mazara has two remaining years of arbitration eligibility, while Haniger is arb-eligible for the first time this winter (and at a projected $3MM price tag, so his rough 2019 season also lowered his ceiling for future arbitration earnings). While Seattle is at least open to discussing Haniger in trades, GM Jerry Dipoto still highly values Haniger, so a deal wouldn’t come easily for the Diamondbacks. It would seem that Mazara would be the more available of the two options, as Texas has been rumored to be looking to deal from its surplus of left-handed hitting outfielders.
Here’s more from Arizona…
- In terms of what the D’Backs might give up for Haniger, Mazara, or any other veteran upgrades, GM Mike Hazen indicated that his team is “willing to” part with some “good minor league players.” Piecoro suggests that the team wouldn’t be likely to trade its very top prospects, but would be open to dealing youngsters “from the next tier down” in the rankings. It is perhaps noteworthy that the three names Piecoro cites as “the players [the Diamondbacks] view as their best prospects” are Daulton Varsho, Geraldo Perdomo, and Corbin Carroll, whereas two other prospects (Alek Thomas and Kristian Robinson) occupy the top two spots on MLB Pipeline’s ranking of Arizona’s top 30 minor leaguers, though Piecoro said “perhaps others” are also in the team’s internal top tier.
- Beyond right field, the Diamondbacks are also on the lookout for center field help. While Marte played both center field and second base last year, Hazen told The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan (Twitter link) and other reporters that he would prefer to land a center fielder to lighten the load on Marte. Shogo Akiyama has been mentioned as a potential target for the D’Backs, though Hazen said that he hasn’t yet met with the Japanese center fielder and doesn’t have meetings scheduled for the future.
- Hazen told Piecoro and other reporters that after signing Junior Guerra, the D’Backs are still looking for “one more” reliever. Archie Bradley pitched well enough in the closer role last year that a new reliever doesn’t necessarily require closing experience to be considered, though Hazen said that a reliever that could be used “toward the back end [of the bullpen] would be ideal.”